This Present Evil
If you've been reading along with the comments on the last blog, you will realize that Hell as a hard to believe reality is a popular topic. I'm also the big 'Grace' girl around these parts - so it's an interesting conversation to be having on my blog (sounds like regular armybarmy fare to me!) :-)
One of the comments suggests that we could think about evil in terms of the way we think of the Kingdom of God.
We understand that God's kingdom is both present and future. He is here (in our lives, in our world) but He is also coming.
It's the NOW and NOT YET of the fullness of God's Kingdom. Evil is also present (no doubt our generation can point to it around the world even now); if you are in doubt you may want to pick up 'Shake Hands With The Devil: the failure of humanity in Rwanda' the book by Romeo Dallaire. In the introduction he says people say you can't live through that sort of evil (Rwandan genocide) and still believe in God. Dallaire says he believes in God more now than ever before because he 'shook hands with the Devil'.
By downplaying evil (and even denying it's power) we do a great damage to a Just God and we discredit people's understanding of the world. Surely the modern intellectual approach to 'sin' has left us (the church) feeling stupid, irrelevant and judgemental when we speak of it, but for silly reason. Look around - sin is explained and shouting from all corners of the earth.... what do we do with evil? is a question that makes moderns look dumb for dismissing it a generation ago.
I've been reading a book by Os Guinness called, Unspeakable: Facing up to evil in an age of genocide and terror.
It's an interesting connect on our conversation about Hell.
Perhaps we do a great diservice to people who understand that evil is present in the world - but we don't suggest a final solution or ending of it. How can we understand the Kingdom of God in fullness without Hell? Shouldn't there be a final reckoning... wouldn't that be the Just thing to do?
I think Hell is uncomfortable because our world has told us that to believe in it is too hard. We live in a time (C.S. Lewis predicted it in his book Men Without Chests) where the perpetrator has become the victim... where no-one is held to account it seems because we dismiss our inclination toward what is evil. I think this has to stop. Not because I want to preach 'hell and brimstone' again - but because our world needs some hard answers to some hard truths.
let's stop pretending... everyone knows we aren't wearing any clothes... and tell the truth about the end of evil and those who do it: Hell.
check this link for a great book review on unspeakable: