“You read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place…[We] don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own.”
My eyes just about bugged out of their sockets when I read those words for the first time. Clearly, the American bloggers who wrote them before embarking on a worldwide cycling trip with the goal of proving that all humans are kind were lacking in their understanding of sin and depravity.
Tragically, their unwavering belief in inherent human goodness led them into dangerous territory. They were brutally killed in an attack while cycling near hostile land earlier this month.
I was equally grieved and shocked by their statement that evil is a mere human construct. Grieved because it revealed a dangerous and unhealthy naivety that I didn’t realize could be sustained by anyone but a child, and shocked because I don’t think it takes more than five minutes of watching the evening news or browsing CNN to be convinced of evil.
If you’re reading this today and you entertain the idea that evil is make-believe concept that people have invented, I urge you to wake up. This world is fallen. People, apart from Christ, are totally depraved. Unless restrained by the sovereign hand of God, sin runs rampant. We don’t live in the Garden of Eden anymore.
After reading that section, you may be thinking, “Well great…now I’m good and scared.” If that’s the case, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I was in no way trying to convince you that the world ought to be avoided at all costs. Of course it needn’t. There is much beauty to behold even this side of eternity. But our question must be, “How do we come by that beauty?”
By the inherent goodness of humanity?
Surely not (Genesis 6:5-7).
Because we, as a human race, work actively to cultivate it?
Most certainly not (Romans 3:12).
By the common grace of the Lord Most High, Who restrains wickedness and evil and works all things for the good of those who love Christ?
Assuredly (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28).
WE HAVE THIS HOPE
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19). God has promised that one day, He will make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
There will be no more death or crying or pain. There will be justice for those to whom justice has been denied in this life. There will be singing instead of weeping and dancing where there once was lamenting.
Multiple times this week alone, the world news covered stories that weighed heavily on my heart and made tears burn behind my eyes. The accounts were heinous and tragic and confirmed anew for me the truth that there is not one who does good; no, not one (Romans 3:12).
Even still, there will come a day when our Christian hope will become a reality. In the light of our King’s presence, all will be new. All will be right. But the world is not right yet. As we await eternal glory, let us put our hope in Christ, who will surely one day subdue and conquer all His and our enemies under His feet (Westminster Shorter Catechism, 26).
It does not make you a pessimist to believe that this world is a broken and sometimes downright wretched place. Undoubtedly, it is. But that does not mean that everything is wretched.
The world is broken, but Christ makes whole His church.
Reports of sin may offend or frighten, but Christ keeps His own in perfect peace.
Evil is real, but greater is He (1 John 4:4).
Rejoice in that. Dwell on that. Cling to hope until the day when faith gives way to sight.