Some questions about Suffering and Evil by Colin Maxwell
A searching GUEST POST by my Irish Calvinist frined, Colin Maxwell:
I am currently reading a very disturbing (secular) book on the Soviet Gulags by Anne Applebaum. Page after page is full of human suffering as millions of people (including many Christians) starved, slaved and were beaten and/or tortured in the Soviet camps, as they endured 12+ hour working days in sub zero temperatures with inadequate clothing. It ain’t happy reading. Tonight’s reading brought me face to face with the children of the prisoners, some of whom were “arrested” with their parents or had the misfortune to be born in the camps and left to the “mercy” of a system which routinely left them to scream unfed, unnourished and unwanted in crude cots in unheated rooms. If I have nightmares tonight, then I will not be in the least surprised.
I haven’t finished that particular chapter. I took a break to write this post and ask a question which must haunt every Christian. Why is there such cruel suffering in the world? We know the stock (Biblical) answer that such cruelty is in the world because of sin. Had Adam not have fallen, then sin, misery and death would not have entered into the world. Christians differ somewhat as to why Adam did fall. However, we but differ in the details and we cannot miss the fact that God easily could have prevented the circumstances that led to the Fall and therefore prevented it from happening and the subsequent effects.
This cannot be seriously doubted.
Although the Gulags are gone, yet tonight there is much cruelty in the world. God could end it all in a single moment of time. We know that there is coming a day when such things will
be ended by His power. But He could intervene this very night and end it now. Some people are providentially delivered from such places. Perhaps they are unexpectedly excused from going in the first place, or they are released early or escape. Others go through the full rigour and are only released because the torturer went too far or the untended to sickness ushered in death.
Here are a few uncomfortable questions for Christians from all schools. If God could end it all today (as He will indeed some day) why then does He not do so? What is He seeking to prove by consciously and deliberately letting it all run? Has any point that He wished to make not already been made? We already know that man left unrestrained is a cruel beast. The Bible tells us this and human history bears it out. We already have many contemporary examples (freely available on YouTube in less than half a dozen computer actions) and therefore if it all was ended tonight, we would not lack source material.
Apart from another stock (though Biblcial) answer, that God’s purposes are somehow being worked out in all these things, I don’t think I can go much further. Can you?
Did Jesus Love Judas? Did Jesus Chose Judas for Good and Holy Purposes?
I received these scriptures and the thoughts following them from Wingfooted, a commenter here. I thought it would be fun to post them and see if anyone has any thoughts on this Judas fellow. It seems Christ chose Him, not for destruction, but for a ministry and he went wayward. On the other hand, we can imagine and infer from certain interpretations of scripture (and some do and teach) that he was chosen to be reprobate and that it was decided beforehand, by God, that Judas would betray Christ and that he would be damned. What say you?
1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. (Matthew 10:1-4)
Judas was a disciple, called to be an Apostle. He was given power, like the others, to cast out demons, and heal sickness and disease.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:7-8)
Judas was commanded to preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. He was given power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils.
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28)
12 Tribes, 12 Thrones, 12 Apostles. A Throne was provided for Judas, just like the other apostles.
And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house. (Mark 3:14-19)
Judas was an ordained preacher, just like the others.
And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. (Mark 4:10-12)
It was given unto Judas, just like the others, to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits... (Mark 6:7)
Again we see that Judas was called and given power, just like the rest.
12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (Mark 6:12-13)
Judas preached that men should repent and cast out devils and healed the sick, just like the others.
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. (Luke 6:13-16)
Again, scriptural proof that Judas was a disciple of Christ, chosen to be an apostle.
1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,…..9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:1; 9-10)
Again, Judas, as the others, was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)
Again, Judas was given power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. 21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! (Luke 22:14-22)
When Jesus said ‘this is my body which is given for you” and “the cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you”, he was speaking to the twelve apostles, which Judas was one. Jesus never singled Judas out, nor exempt him from the atonements. (note from Rose: true! and so how could limited atonement be a valid teaching, I ask??!)
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? (John 6:69-70)
Again we see that Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve, but this time he was singled out as being a devil.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)
Though not currently present, this is more proof that Judas and the other apostles were chosen and ordained by Christ to bring forth fruit.
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. (John 13:1)
The feet of Judas, just like the other Apostles, were washed by the hands of Jesus. Jesus showed Judas, just like the other Apostles, the full extent of his love. Jesus loved Judas to the end, just like the other Apostles.