Book 1.3 – The Problem of Evil

Then Job answered and said: ‘Today also my complaint is bitter; my hand is heavy on account of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me. Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No; he would pay attention to me. There an upright man could argue with him, and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.

‘Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind. Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him.’” (Job 23)

My dear child in the Lord,

There is a lot of pain and suffering in this world. The older you get, the more of it you will see. You have probably experienced a lot of pain in your life at different times already. At the very least, I’m sure you have stubbed your toe at least once. Maybe you’ve had a toothache, or had a tooth fall out. Maybe you’ve stepped on a staple in the carpet. Maybe you’ve even touched a pan on the stove or a casserole dish in the oven that was way too hot and burned your hand. 

There is also a lot of death in this world. The older you get, the more of it you will see. You might have had close relatives die already. You might have attended their funerals. Maybe you’ve seen pets die, or found dead animals in your yard outside.

Understandably, a lot of people are very upset by this whole pain and death business. We are often afraid of pain. We’re often afraid of our own deaths. We like comfort and pleasure. We like our lives. And to make matters worse, when someone dies it also hurts the people left behind. And we don’t like pain. We are not supposed to like pain. It’s not a good thing, nor is it a pleasant thing. It hurts. Death hurts too. Death is not good.

But there are a lot of people in this world who want to blame God for pain and death. They call pain and death evil, and then they say that God is responsible. Their complaints usually sound like one of these two statements:

  1. We don’t like pain. God could prevent our pain. Therefore, pain is God’s fault.
  2. We don’t like death. God could prevent our death. Therefore, death is God’s fault.

And then they’ll go even further and say that since pain is evil or death is evil, God must therefore be evil.

Sometimes they say it in more sophisticated terms, like, “An all-powerful and all-knowing God could know how to prevent pain from coming into existence, and would be able to do it.” And then they will go on to say something like, “A good God would want to prevent pain or death, because pain and death are evil. Since God didn’t prevent those things, a good God must not exist.” People pompously call this contradiction they’ve constructed “The Problem of Evil” (with fancy capital letters and everything).

But no matter how sophisticated people make it sound, what they’re really saying is simply that pain and death are God’s fault. They’re saying that, because God created the world, and because there is pain and death in the world He created, pain and death must be God’s fault. They want to blame God for their problems. There are many different versions of the Problem of Evil, because we like to complain a lot, but they all basically come down to the same complaint. 

It is good that we are upset about evil. We’re not supposed to like it. But it’s not good that we blame God for our evil.

God is good. God doesn’t like us to be in pain. In the resurrection, “He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21). And God doesn’t like us to die. “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18).

But see that Ezekiel quote? It’s important that when we quote God’s Word, we don’t just pick and choose the bits we like. We should listen to all of it, because when we only read small bits out of context, we’re not really listening to what God is trying to tell us. The surrounding sentences read like this:

“Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” (Ezekiel 18)

And there are more words in Ezekiel too, which you should go read for even more context. (You can always tell when a quote begins with “Yet” or “Therefore” that there’s more behind the quote.)

So what’s God saying? Yes, there is evil and suffering and death in the world, and God doesn’t like it. And what?!! It’s our fault! So stop being evil. Stop opposing God. Turn to God already, and live!!

We don’t like admitting that things are our fault, so we come up with all these clever arguments about how it’s actually God’s fault. Adam did this right at the start in the garden. “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3).

Because clearly God does allow us to be in pain, and to die. Look at what happened to Job.

“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?’ Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.’” (Job 1)

And then Satan went out and took Job’s property and killed his children! And you’ll recall that later on God allowed Satan to put Job in a lot of physical pain too and give him sores all over his body.

God did not do these things to Job. But He did allow Satan to do these things. Does that mean that we can call God evil?

There is one very easy response to the complaints of the Problem of Evil: simply remember what true good actually is, and what evil is. If you say that God’s way of doing things isn’t good, then you are trying to define good for yourself and then hold God accountable to your definition of good. You call God evil because He doesn’t measure up to your standard of good. Look out! Then you find yourself guilty of trying to set yourself up as a higher authority over God, just like Peter did when Jesus then rebuked him and called him “Satan.” Even if you’re only starting from the knowledge that God is the highest authority, by definition, and know nothing else about God, then you already know that you don’t actually have the authority to define what is truly good.

So we know that there is no way we can logically say that what God does is not good. He is smarter and bigger than we are. And when we tell God that He is not good, we actually find ourselves opposing God, and therefore we find ourselves guilty of evil. The belief that we know good and evil better than God is itself the real problem of evil

This is what God pointed out to Job in response to his complaints:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! . . . Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it. . . . Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?” (Job 38-40) 

In other words, “Who are you to tell me how to do things? Where were you when I made the universe? If you’re so big and smart, how does the world work? Tell me! Surely you know! If you’re as powerful and smart as the creator of the universe that you can tell me what is good and what is not, tell me, if you can!” 

And then Job listened to God, and repented. He turned, and lived.

“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. . . . Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. . . . I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42)

And then God praised Job’s faithfulness and had Job intercede for his friends who had spoken badly of God, and God forgave Job’s friends and restored Job’s fortunes.

Job didn’t understand why all the bad things had happened to him. And we know the bad things weren’t because God was punishing him for some specific sin he did. His pain was because of things Job just didn’t understand at the time. But Job listened to God even though he didn’t understand.

Now, be careful about using this argument with other people. It is a very direct argument, and it cuts to the heart of the problem. And people who complain about evil are usually in pain, and when we’re in pain we usually aren’t willing to hear rational arguments about how we’re not God or how we’re wrong in our ideas of what good or evil are (not from someone who isn’t God anyway). So this isn’t usually a very productive thing to say to someone who has just begun grieving about something. Be considerate for other people when talking with them, hear their complaints, and try to see what it is each person actually needs to hear. Then if it is your job to speak, give each person true comfort and truth as you can from there, based on what they are actually thinking and feeling.

Now back to the main “problem.” If God’s will is always good, and God allows us to suffer, does that mean that allowing us to suffer is good?

There is another important thing to understand about the problem of evil. Remember I said above that there are two main ways that people complain: in response to pain, and in response to death. Those two often go together, but they are actually distinct complaints. Pain is not the same as death.

Death is the absence of life. Where does life come from? It comes from God. Therefore, death is separation from God, who provides life.

But pain is just information. Usually pain is information about death, maybe about the possibility of death (which is a good reason to not like pain). When you feel pain in your tooth, it might be information your body is giving you to let you know your tooth is dying. Or when you feel pain in your foot from stepping on a staple in the carpet, that’s your body warning you that death can happen when you get stabbed by sharp pointy objects. Your whole body might stay alive after you step on a staple, but the cells in your foot do die when the staple pierces them. If you didn’t feel pain, you’d never know there was a sharp pointy object there attacking your foot. But because you feel the pain you are able to respond and save your foot from further destruction.

What would life be like if you couldn’t feel pain? You’d step on all sorts of things and never think it was a big deal. You’d run barefoot on sharp rocks and shards of glass and think about how nice it is to be able to run outside without ever needing to put shoes on. But then one day you’d look down and notice your foot wasn’t working anymore because of all the ways you injured it. (Hm, now where did you leave your shoes. . .?) You’d also probably not care much about picking up a hot casserole straight out of the oven. You might even enjoy the savory smell of your hand getting cooked on the glass, at least until you noticed that your hand was scarred and crispy and also not working well anymore.

Pain hurts. In one sense, pain is not a good thing, because it shows us that death is crouching at the door, and death is not a good thing. But in another sense, pain really is a good thing, because it warns us where death is, so we can avoid it. Pain is a reminder to us to “turn, and live.”

But we still ask ourselves, “How could a good God allow so much suffering?”

We just don’t like pain, so we want it to go away. There is suffering in this world, and we hate it. We forget that the pain is just a symptom of death, not death itself. Our pain is letting us know that there’s a problem.

The problem is evil. 

You remember, God is the definition of true good. Quite simply, this means that anything that opposes God or opposes what He calls good must be true evil. The problem is that we oppose God. We rebel against him whenever we don’t listen to what He tells us in His Word. By opposing God, we separate ourselves from God. God is our source of life. What happens when we separate ourselves from our source of life? We die.

Pain is the symptom of death. Death is the symptom of evil.

Evil is separation from God. Evil is like cutting a branch from a good vine or tree. You’ve seen how a branch sticks out of a vine. The branch is alive because it is attached to the vine. What happens if you pull a branch off? Does it die? Well, the leaves on the branch might still look pretty green. That means the cells inside the leaves must still be alive, right? So it looks okay. But no real life is pumping through it on the inside. Sooner or later, the death will become visible, and the leaves will turn brown and crumble away. The same goes for your foot too, by the way. If you cut off your foot (please don’t try this), then your foot would still be warm and soft for a little while, and on the outside someone might say it looks and feels the same as it did while it was attached to you. But your foot would still basically be dead. No more life would be pumping through it. It would be separated from the veins that bring life through your blood to all the little cells in your foot. (“For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17).) The moment you cut off your foot, your foot will surely die.

God had said to Adam, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2). This was how God taught Adam what good and evil were, and what life and death were. If Adam chose to eat from the forbidden tree, it would be deliberately disobeying God. It would be a choice to reject what God had said was good for him to do. So it would be an act of opposing God, and Adam would be rebelling against his source of life. Rebelling against your source of life must lead to death. Even if God’s command hadn’t involved a tree, the day Adam chose to rebel against God, that was the day Adam separated himself from the life that flows from God. That was the day death came to Adam, and to all who got their life from Adam, including his children. That surely was the day he died. He looked like he was still alive for a little while. But like a leaf that you pluck from a vine, he only looked alive because of residual life in him. God told him that, sooner or later, his death would become visible, and he would lose his color and crumble away. “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3).

Adam’s death, and all our deaths, are our own fault. It’s what we get from rebelling against God’s life.

And yes, it was God who pronounced the curse to Adam. God is the one who instituted and defined this arrangement. He is a good God and the source of true life, and He is also the ruler of the cosmos, the highest authority who makes the world run justly, the way it’s supposed to. God didn’t just say, “I curse you.” He said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you” (Genesis 3). These were the natural consequences of their actions. They brought it on themselves. But God defined and enforced those consequences.

And we know that our good God does punish evil too.

Have you ever seen a spoiled child, a child whose parents never punish him no matter how nasty he gets? Even when he is extremely rude to his parents and yelling at them, they just ignore him as if nothing happened—or they just give him whatever he wants to make him stop yelling? We know that this is wrong. Or what if there was a man who went around murdering people? Should that man be punished? We know he should. We also know that Adam and Eve had a son named Cain, who went and murdered his brother Abel. (He might have used a hammer.) And God punished Cain.

“And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’ Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’” (Genesis 4)

What if God had said, “Nah, that’s okay. That’s a pity about Abel, but Adam has lots more children to spare. You messed up, Mr. Murderer, but we’ll not make a big deal about it. Just don’t do it again okay? Here, have a cookie.” God would be saying that what Cain did was okay. That would be an insult and more hurt to everyone who mourned for Abel’s death! That would be an insult to Abel! And God would be telling their family that their hurt didn’t matter. That really would be evil. That would not be loving toward Abel or his family.

God is not like that. God is not evil. So God does punish evil. He is patient, and He loves us, but He is also just. Because He is good, and because He loves us, and because He loves the people we hurt when we’re evil, there needs to be punishment for our evil.

“Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come! Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt. They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame. . . . I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity.” (Isaiah 13)

That’s the pain we feel. That’s the death we feel. We don’t like it. We’re not supposed to like it. We’re supposed to notice the consequences of our evil, and turn back to God, and live. God lets us choose to oppose Him if we want. That’s part of the good world that He made. But He doesn’t like it when we do. God doesn’t like evil, and God doesn’t like it when we’re in pain either. But a good God must punish evil.

“Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, . . . for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter’; therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.’ Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it. . . .  For the Lord will rise up [to] do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work! Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land. Give ear, and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech. Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground? . . . Does one crush grain for bread? No, he does not thresh it forever; when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it. This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.” (Isaiah 28)

Pain and death are the punishments God has ordained for our evil. But God calls it His “alien” work; it’s not what He likes to do. But it’s what He needs to do as a good God in response to our evil. And one of the reasons He does it is to lead us to see our evil so that we do “turn, and live.” He does not want to thresh us forever. We should receive our life from Him and not try to hide from His truth with our lies and complaints. We should turn to Him and receive the wonderful counsel and excellent wisdom that He offers us.

We should listen to Him.

But we can’t solve the problem of evil that way. We are born dead. We are born separated from God and in need of His life. A dead thing can’t listen. A dead thing can’t bring itself back to life so that it can listen either. If you cut off your foot, it can’t jump back onto your leg on its own. And neither can we. We are dead. We can’t even “turn, and live” on our own while we’re dead.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2)

So what’s the point of being created in the first place then, if we’re just born evil and doomed to die?

But God did fix our death for us. The picture is bigger. That quote from Ephesians continues:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2)

It’s just like Ezekiel and the valley of the dry bones (Ezekiel 37; it’s a longer passage, but you should go look it up again on your own.) Bones can’t bring themselves to life. God breathes His Spirit of life into them. God uses His spoken Word to deliver that life.

God brings life to you by putting His Word in your ears and in your heart. He puts His Word in your body. The Word creates faith in you, and that joins you to God’s life.

“. . .if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ . . . For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10)

This is good news for us! God isn’t afraid of death. God is the source and author of life. God doesn’t avoid death. He doesn’t ignore evil and the death and pain the result from it. No, God confronts evil, and He conquers death. God is just, and our evil requires the death penalty. So God sent His Son to die our death for us. That was part of the plan. God knew we would kill Him, just like Cain killed Abel. But God made His Son to die in our place. And since God is also the source of Life, God didn’t stay dead. 

“The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” (Acts 3)

“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3)

Jesus’ blood is a propitiation, a thing that satisfies God’s justice and wrath against our evil. And Jesus is our source of life by which we are saved. Jesus is the one we look to for our eternal life. Any people who separate themselves from Jesus choose evil and separate themselves from God.

God isn’t afraid of death. Jesus died. We still suffer pain and death in this world. This world is still evil. Jesus didn’t make the evil of this world disappear. Adam and Eve and their children (you and me) still have evil inside them. That evil needs to die. And it does die. And it will continue to die.

Jesus took God’s wrath in our place. That doesn’t mean that He keeps this world from facing Adam and Eve’s curse. It means He connects us to Himself so that we can follow Him through this world’s death into His life on the other side.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23)

Jesus doesn’t lead us away from the valley of the shadow of death. He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death, even with all its dry bones, out to the other side, where we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6)

By dying, God conquered death for us. God let the devil attack His foot. God stepped on death, and let it pierce Him. It hurt Him. It scarred Him. But by stepping on death, Jesus conquered death. By stepping on the devil’s head, Jesus crushed him and saved us from the devil and the evil and death that he throws at us. And Jesus’ foot did die. But it didn’t die forever, because Jesus is God, the Author of life. Jesus couldn’t stay truly disconnected from life the way your foot stays disconnected from you if you cut it off.

And so God gives us life by connecting us to Jesus. Like a leaf being grafted back into a good vine.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (John 15)

As people who have been attached to Jesus and will rise from death with Him, we can laugh in the face of pain and death here in what remains of this earth. Now, death is terrible and nothing to laugh at. When faced with the wrongness of the death of His friend Lazarus, “Jesus wept” (John 11). But we can see death in this world as evil passing away, even the evil that’s in our own bodies. We have hope in the new life and new, pure bodies that will come after we die. We know that in the resurrection there will be no more evil in our bodies and no more devil to tempt us with it.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5)

Because we are evil and God is good, we do experience pain and suffering and death. These are the symptoms. They let us know that we are dead and we need life. If we didn’t feel pain, we wouldn’t keep ourselves from stepping on the carpet staples of death. And if we didn’t see death, we probably wouldn’t recognize the evil of separating ourselves from God either. We wouldn’t “turn, and live,” like He calls us to. We would keep separating ourselves from Him.

But God does call us to turn to Him and live. And God’s Word has power and authority. Jesus’ Word is the power that raises people from the dead. After “Jesus wept,” “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out” (John 11). And Jesus will raise you from death too.

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.’” (John 5)

So what does it mean to have done good, so that we will be called to the resurrection of life? As Jesus said in this passage, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” The problem of evil is that we don’t believe. We don’t listen to God. But the free gift of eternal life belongs to all those who hear God’s Word and believe Him.

So listen to Him.

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3)