As Christians we often tend to try to place everything in the world into categories of absolute good and absolute bad. While it is true that there are absolute “goods” and absolute “bads”, we need to remember that God created all things good, and that all these things were corrupted by sin, and that Christ, through His saving work, is making all things new (Rev. 21:4-5). This is called redemption.
So, when we look at a certain aspect of the world and our lives, we need to ask these questions, “In what ways has this thing become corrupted by sin? What is God’s plan for it? What is it supposed to look like after it has been redeemed? How can I make this happen now?”
When we incorrectly label things as “fully good” or “fully bad” we end up deifying (or making an idol out of) that which doesn’t deserve to be deified, and we end up demonizing that which doesn’t deserve to be demonized.* Sin is the problem. Christ is the answer–for all things.
* A good example of this is politics. Western Christians tend to idolize the leadership of the right wing party, and then demonize the leadership of the left wing party.
“The great danger is to single out some aspect or phenomenon of God’s good creation and identify it, rather than the alien intrusion of sin, as the villain in the drama of life….This ‘something’ has been variously identified as…the body and its passions (Plato and much of the Greek philosophy), culture in distinction from nature (Rousseau and Romanticism), institutional authority, especially in the state and the family (much of depth psychology), technology and management techniques (Heidegger and Ellul)….The Bible is unique in its uncompromising rejection of all attempts to…identify part of creation as either the villain or the savior.”
Al Wolters, Michael Goheen, Creation Regained: Basis for a Reformational Worldview, second edition (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2005), pg. 61–as quoted from “Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller, pg. 100–101.
Once we identify something as absolutely good or absolutely bad we can put it in its proper box and we’re done: no responsibility to effect change. Call it God’s ‘sovereignty’ and live the easy life, purposeless, but easy.
Yes…and I often think of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25–the guy with only one talent says: “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.” (vs24-25) So in other words–“Lord I used your sovereignty as an excuse to do nothing.” And then look what happens to that guy…