Is God a victim of Evil?

(Moses) #1

When “if God, why suffering” question comes up - the answer is directed to the sin and the freewill of man. My question is, is it right to say God is a victim of Evil?

(SeanO) #2

@Moses In what sense do you think God may have been a victim of evil? The only time I can think of that God has ever been a victim is when Jesus chose to willingly lay down His life, but even then Jesus told Pilate that power was still in God’s hands. To me, the word victim implies powerlessness, but even Jesus was always in control - He simply allowed evil to be done to Him for our sake.

John 19:8-11 - When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

I think we could say that God has suffered as a consequence of evil, but I am not sure if victim is an applicable word. What are your thoughts?

(Carson Weitnauer) #3

Hi @Moses,

What an interesting question! Thank you for asking it!

One definition of ‘victim’ is:

a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.

In that very precise sense, I think we could say that Jesus was harmed, injured, and killed as a result of the event/action of the crucifixion, and therefore, was a victim. However, there are so many connotations to what it means to be a victim, some of which imply to my mind helplessness or inability to avoid the suffering. This is part of what arouses our moral concern and action. Yet, with Jesus, there is a redemptive purpose that runs through his suffering.

If we look at 1 Peter 2:20-25, we read:

But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

The remarkable, amazing, astounding truth of this passage is that Jesus suffered in our place. He allowed himself, out of a sturdy, faithful commitment to love, to bear our sins in his crucifixion.

Therefore, when we as Christians experience suffering due to the evil in this world, we can rejoice, knowing that we are following in the footsteps of Jesus. This gives us the confidence and courage to do good even when it causes us loss, pain, and hardship.

In this way, the disciples of Jesus can become an answer to the evil of this world. His wounds have healed us. We are reconciled to him. Now we imitate him and our communities of sacrificial love become a new way of living and creating culture. Our free will and desire is to serve as Christ has served us, which reduces our own participation in the suffering of this world, even as we enter into suffering to bring redemption beyond our community.