Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mt 11:28

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Shepherd’s Conference – Session #9, John MacArthur

Dr. MacArthur brought the 2009 Conference to a close with a teaching on evil and why it exists. Here is a summary of that teaching:

"Why is there evil in the world?" In Luke 13, Jesus is asked about a number of disasters and his only response is, "Repent or the same things will happen to you."

"The world justifies rejection of God on the grounds that there is evil in the world."

The answer to this dilemma has to be built on God.

Truths that have to be acknowledged in addressing this issue;

  1. Evil exists – a reality that dominates our world
    1. Natural evil – impersonal calamity. It is external, physical. It is a cursed creation acting on people with disastrous effect.
    2. Moral evil – personal, internal painful evil of people acting out their evil will on each other. Our race is cursed just as creation is cursed (Gen 3, Rom 3)
    3. Supernatural evil – demons and Satan with thousands of years in unrestrained corruption in an ancient, wily, crafty, scheming evil against mankind.
    4. Hell – an eternal, pervasive evil
  2. God exists – God is perfect, holy, righteous, just, loving and SOVEREIGN. He is in charge (Rev 11, Prov 16:4, 1 Chron 29:11-12). His sovereignty is absolute, irrevocable and infinite (Psalm 105:16, 2 Kings 17:25, Lam 3:37-38)
  3. God wills evil to exist – or it wouldn't exist. God allows sin to exist or it wouldn't exist (Isaiah 45:5 ff).
    1. God is absolutely holy. He is not responsible for evil but He wills it to exist
      1. Some folks want to rescue God from this idea by reinventing Him into something more acceptable, in their own image of who He is.
    2. If He allows evil. If He wills evil to exist. Why?
      1. A few suggestions provided by modern theologians
        1. Evil is inevitable. It is not created by God. It exists only because everything has to have an opposite. Evil is the counterpart to good.
          1. This viewpoint would suggest that there are powers in the universe apart from God
        2. Free will has brought evil into existence. God has given us free will and it is the greatest good ever done. He did it to protect Himself from unrighteousness.
          1. This viewpoint suggests that evil exists because men and angels decided to do it, demonstrating the creation's sovereignty over the Creator.
      2. God has a purpose for evil
        1. The Westminster Confession states
          1. God ordains whatsoever comes to pass
          2. God is not the author of sin
          3. Everything happens to the praise of His glory
        2. Evil exists to reveal the glory of God
          1. Rom 3:5 – God reveals his glory by demonstrating His righteousness in comparison to our unrighteousness.
          2. Rom 5:8 – God demonstrates His love by loving the unlovable
          3. Rom 9:22 – God demonstrates His wrath for Himself, His holiness in action against sin. Without sin, there is no demonstration of his wrath. God has just as much right to display His wrath and He does to display His grace.
          4. Rom 9:23 – God demonstrates His mercy on those who are unworthy of it.
          5. God willed evil to exist to demonstrate His glory. The greatest good is the glory of God. There would be an incomplete demonstration of his glory if there was no sin and evil.
        3. What is our response to this (Rom 9:14)?
          1. Rom 9:19 – we have no right to question God?
          2. The greatest evil in the world was the murder of Jesus (Act 2:22) was predetermined by God (Acts 2:23).

MacArthur ended with a question, "Does the existence of evil make God more glorious or less glorious?" His answer, "God is more glorious because he allows evil."

Scenes from around the campus this evening:

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