God and evil PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 12:06

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

A USUAL question many people ask is, If God is good, is goodness himself, if he is truly omnipotent and provident, why is there evil? It’s definitely a very complex question that is hard to answer. In fact, the Catechism recognizes this.

“To this question, as painful and mysterious as it is,” the Catechism explains, “only the whole of Christian faith can constitute a response.” (Compendium 57) It hastens to reassure us that “God is not in any way—directly or indirectly—the cause of evil. He illuminates the mystery of evil in his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose in order to vanquish that great moral evil, human sin, which is at the root of all other evils.”

Then in the next point, it says: “Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil. This was realized in a wondrous way by God in the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, from the greatest of all moral evils (the murder of his Son) he has brought forth the greatest of all goods (the glorification of Christ and our redemption). (Compendium 58)

We also know about the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, in the Old Testament who was sold by his own brothers out of envy but who later became a prominent man in Egypt. When that dramatic reunion between him and his father and brothers took place, the brothers were very apologetic for what they did to him and expected to be duly punished.

But Joseph, with utmost magnanimity, the magnanimity of God, simply told them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen 50,20) Once again, the divine principle that God knows how to derive good from evil finds its proof.

It’s important that when we consider the very many different forms of evil that can come to us and that we see around, we should immediately have recourse to our faith and not stay too long in our merely human estimations that are usually based on our emotions only, our prejudices, our sciences that cannot fathom the many mysteries in life, etc.

We should not waste too much time lamenting and complaining, and worse, drifting towards the loss of faith. We need to go to our faith as soon as possible, and there find some refuge for our troubled souls.

But for this to happen, we need to practice some emotional and intellectual humility, otherwise that faith cannot shed its proper light, and we would be held captive by our limited ways of understanding things. We cannot deny the fact that our emotions and our intellectual pride can easily dominate the way we think and react to things.

We have to find ways of embedding this attitude in the people and in our culture itself. We should not be too afraid when some forms of evil come our way. We just have to ask: “Lord, what do you want me to learn from these?”