Tonight we continued our exploration of The Lord’s Prayer with the 1st and 2nd petitions, “Hallowed by thy name” and “Thy Kingdom Come”. We’ll be answering a very tough question when people begin to discus the power and plan of God: Why does God let bad things happen?
If God is all-good and all-powerful, why is the world full of pain and evil? This question is considered one of the most perplexing of all. Theologians call this argument “theodicy”. For some, the response is that God isn’t all-powerful – meaning, God has abdicated some divine power in order to five human beings freedom, and with freedom comes the ability to make bad choices and have bad things happen.
Another way to think of it is this: In the beginning, God created order out of chaos. Then briefly, the world was in perfect harmony. There was balance among human beings – endowed with free will – creation, and God. But when Adam and Eve exercised their free will selfishly, the balance was destroyed and they were expelled from the Garden. Then chaos re-entered creation, but on a different scale than before. And we have lived with a world that is a mix of chaos (bad) and harmony (good) ever since.
Most significantly, God experiences the chaos – the pain, suffering, and evil – with us, even to the point of death on the cross. This week we’ll consider the consequences of God’s decision to allow humans to exercise free will in large group through experimenting with ice water and studying what Paul has to say on the subject in 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 and Romans 8:28. Then in small group we’ll explore some of the not-so-helpful things people tend to say when others are hurting.
This week’s take home assignment is to consider the connection between God’s Kingdom and the bad things that happen in this world. CREW members will be asked to draw a picture of what they think hope looks like to them and consider how this image could help them through bad times.