The following quotes have helped me to come to grips with the reality of evil in the world. While the world groans under wars, famine, violence, bloodshed, strife, I had never understood “why?” What is so wonderful about causing pain and suffering? What kinds of entity likes to see people cry? Even more incredible, what kind of entity likes to make people cry? Even more incredible, what kind of entity gets off on hurting people in a way that they never, never stop hurting? And just as incredible, what kind of entity draws strength from causing one person to inflict pain and suffering on another? I just could not wrap my mind around the motivation.
And then I read this passage from the Patriarchs and Prophets and it suddenly made sense. Don't get me wrong. I'm not justifying what this entity is doing – I only note that it has a logic of its own.
And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.
The tempter stands by to accuse [God's people], as he stood by to resist Joshua. He points to their filthy garments, their defective characters. He presents their weakness and folly, their sins of ingratitude, their unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer. He endeavors to affright them with the thought that their case is hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations, and turn from their allegiance to God.
Satan has an accurate knowledge of the sins that he has tempted God's people to commit, and he urges his accusations against them, declaring, that by their sins they have forfeited divine protection, and claiming that he has the right to destroy them. He pronounces them just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. "Are these," he says, "the people who are to take my place in heaven, and the place of the angels who united with me? They profess to obey the law of God; but have they kept its precepts? Have they not been lovers of self more than lovers of God? Have they not placed their own interests above His service? Have they not loved the things of the world? Look at the sins that have marked their lives. Behold their selfishness, their malice, their hatred of one another. Will God banish me and my angels from His presence, and yet reward those who have been guilty of the same sins? Thou canst not do this, O Lord, in justice. Justice demands that sentence be pronounced against them."
Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 588-589
So, why is there evil? Satan is quoted to say, "Will God banish me and my angels from His presence, and yet reward those who have been guilty of the same sins? Thou canst not do this, O Lord, in justice. Justice demands that sentence be pronounced against them." Satan says that he has been banished from God's presence. (Luke 10:18;Rev 12:7-8) The way he behaves, it's no wonder. At the same time, Satan accuses God of injustice. Has not Satan caused the Human family to sin on the earth? even to do the same things that have caused Satan to be banished from God's presence? And if the inhabitants of the earth have done the same, aught they, too, be banished from God's presence and given over to destruction? How can God not destroy the inhabitants of the earth and be just in destroying Satan? We see here that Satan is fighting for his life. The only way, it seems to him, that he has any chance to avoid being destroyed by God's judgments, is to prove that God's law cannot be kept by causing the entire human family to sin. But, thanks be to God, there is more to the story.
But while the followers of Christ have sinned, they have not given themselves up to be controlled by the satanic agencies. They have repented of their sins and have sought the Lord in humility and contrition, and the divine Advocate pleads in their behalf. He who has been most abused by their ingratitude, who knows their sin and also their penitence, declares: "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. I gave My life for these souls. They are graven upon the palms of My hands. They may have imperfections of character; they may have failed in their endeavors; but they have repented, and I have forgiven and accepted them."
Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 589
Praise the Lord! Jesus demonstrates, by the efficacy of His own blood that He shed on our behalf, that God can be both just, in that the wicked will be destroyed, and also be merciful to those who have repented of evil and been forgiven. And to my own mind, it helps me to understand why the world is so desperately evil.
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