Saturday, I wrote the first part of my rebuttal to this statement spoken by “Sophia” the distillation of God’s wisdom on page 165 of the Shack:
“But I still don’t understand why Missy had to die.”
“She didn’t have to, Mackenzie. This was no plan of Papa’s. Papa has never needed evil to accomplish his good purposes. It is you humans who have embraced evil and Papa has responded with goodness. What happened to Missy was the work of evil and no one in your world is immune from it.”
the most obvious rebuttal is the crucifixion of Jesus that I mentioned in my last post. Check out this list of prophecies fulfilled by that event.
There are many other examples in scripture of God acting to further His glory in ways that human beings might consider to be evil.
Look at Habakkuk for instance. He wrote sometime during King Josiah’s reign and wondered why God was letting evil prosper and what God was going to do about it. God’s answer is amazing:
5 “Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.
6 For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
that bitter and hasty nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth,
to seize dwellings not their own.
“I am raising up the Chaldeans.” God was preparing the Babylonians to be His instrument of justice on the evil that was so bothersome to Habakkuk. Habakkuk’s response was disbelief and further questions, but at the end, he accepts that God is in charge and that he will trust God:
16 I hear, and my body trembles;
my lips quiver at the sound;
rottenness enters into my bones;
my legs tremble beneath me.
Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
to come upon people who invade us.
Habakkuk Rejoices in the LORD
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Later, Ezekiel chronicles the actions of God in fulfilling God’s promise to Habakkuk that He would punish Judah with the Babylonians. In chapter 21, God refers to Nebuchadnezzer and the Babylonians as “My Sword.”
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries.[b] Prophesy against the land of Israel 3and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. 5 And all flesh shall know that I am the LORD. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.
(Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.) 11 So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished(V) to be given into the hand of the slayer. 12 Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. 13 For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?” declares the Lord GOD.
14″As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times, the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15 that their hearts may melt, and many stumble. At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up for slaughter. 16 Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. 17 I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the LORD have spoken.”
Most of us would agree that slaughter and captivity are evil things. passages like this one in Ezekiel give your ordinary run of the mill 21st Century American Christian extreme heartburn.
The point is that God does whatever He does for His glory and for His purposes. Just because we don’t like it, doesn’t make it less so.