The Problem of Evil and the Bible (Part 5)

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IV. Evil Will Come to an End in the Future

            The last (pun intended) and most pertinent aspect of a biblical theology of suffering is eschatology, that is, the study of the last things or end times. Unfortunately, eschatology has largely been ignored by the church for most of its history. However, for nearly two millennia, chapters 21-22 of the book of Revelation have declared that evil, suffering, and pain will come to an end in the eschaton the day that Jesus Christ returns to the earth. On this day, God will renew this present world – the new creation – remaking it with only goodness, where no evil or impurity may enter. In speaking of the New Jerusalem which will be in the new heavens and new earth in the new creation, Revelation describes this lack of impurity like so: “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful,but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev 21:27).

For too long, Christians have been uninformed about eschatology, and this may be why it has not been appealed to very often in the debate regarding the problem of evil. Most nontheist philosophers claim that if a perfectly good God who is also omniscient and omnipotent exists, that he could and should have created a world with no evil or at least much less evil than this current one has. What they fail to recognize is that the God of the Bible will do this very thing; however only those who choose in the present life to abhor evil and live uprightly before him enduring suffering and pain for his sake will inherit this glory in the new creation.

Which of them would dare turn down such an offer? Is this not the kind of world that they are complaining about not having? Should this not give them all the more reason to embrace Christianity so that they may inherit this world that they are so longing for? But then again, maybe they would desire their lives, pleasures, and comforts in this world more than a future world with no suffering or evil. Or perhaps suffering now is too costly in their minds for an eternity without evil?

Regardless of whether one embraces this view or not, the Bible indeed declares the ultimate downfall of evil and suffering in the world, that in the end God will destroy evil forever when he sends His Son to earth a second time to renew heaven and earth.

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