Why Is There Any Good In The World?
by Jesse L. Smith
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The thought has often occurred to me, 'Why is there any good in the world?' The world seems to be a confusing mix of beauty and chaos. There is an element of consistency in the world and in the course of nature that makes it habitable. The sun will invariably rise in the morning and set in the evening. As the world spins on its axis and progresses around the sun there are seasons that allow for agriculture, planting and harvesting. Life on earth is adapted to the cycles of nature, and life is interdependent and weaved together in such a way that if this delicate balance were only slightly altered all life would cease to exist.
From the structure of atoms to galaxies millions of light years away, the universe is ordered at every level with complexity that boggles the mind. There are times however when the order of the universe seems to be upset by what can be regarded only as chaos. Natural disasters have all but destroyed life in the past, and life itself is so riddled with potential problems and disorders that one can only wonder why life should exist at all. Why should there be any order in the universe if it is governed only by the laws of chance? It seems that in a world where randomness should rule as law that the very presence of any order or beauty is like an impossible oasis in the desert.
The only answer to the problem is simply that the universe is not governed only by the laws of chance, and that there is something else at work that moves constructively instead of destructively. Scripture says in Genesis 1:2 that in the beginning of creation the earth was “without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” This is the kind of description you would expect of a world ruled by chaos, as the very randomness of everything could only allow for shapeless and empty masses to exist. This description however is followed by the statement, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” After this begins the formal description of creation as God speaks it into existence. From this it can be gathered that the Spirit of God is the constructive power of creation in the universe.
If it is true that the Spirit of God is responsible for order in the universe, then it must be the case that disorder is the law where God's Spirit is not present or active. In Jeremiah 4:23 the prophet describes the land of Israel after its long rebellion against God, “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.” It is as if the people’s willful abandonment of God caused the land to revert back to a pre-creation state – one of disorder and chaos. If it is the case that the absence of God’s Spirit results in chaos and destruction, it is imperative that we strive for God’s presence! Psalms 16:11 says, “…in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
The book of Genesis describes a time in earth’s history when God allowed total destruction to come upon the earth in the form of a flood when “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”-Genesis 6:5 However of all of the earth’s inhabitants there was one man who found grace in the sight of God. When the Spirit of God stopped striving with the inhabitants of the earth (Gen 6:3) all chaos was let loose, but Noah was preserved. The Bible says after the worldwide flood Noah offered sacrifices to God, and when God smelled the savor of those sacrifices He made a promise to the world, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” –Genesis 8:22 This gives us a little insight into why there is any good in the world, and it all revolves around the symbolic Sacrifice of another...
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