“The Lord saw that humanity had become thoroughly evil on the earth and that every idea their minds thought up was always completely evil. The Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe off of the land the human race that I’ve created: from human beings to livestock to the crawling things to the birds in the skies, because I regret I ever made them’” (Genesis 6:5-7, CEB).
It didn’t take long after the Creation for people to become so evil that God was sorry He created them. Evil must have spread among human beings at an exponential rate.
Evil seems to have grown simultaneously with the human race because God wanted to destroy the whole human race. Apparently everyone, or almost everyone, was evil!
Did God make a big mistake when He created human beings? If the humanity that God created had become thoroughly evil, then did God create evil?
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).
When the first wave of Jewish exiles returned to Judea, they were enthusiastic about rebuilding the Temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians nearly fifty years earlier. But when their efforts to start rebuilding the Temple were opposed and resisted by neighboring nations and internally by the current inhabitants of the land, the repatriated Jews became discouraged and the Temple continued to lie in ruins for almost twenty more years.
“When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved. ‘Where have you put him?’ He asked. ‘Lord,’ they told Him, ‘come and see.’ Jesus wept” (John 11:33-35, HCSB).
This meditation is Part 4 of a four-part series from the story of the raising of Lazarus from death. When Jesus arrived in Bethany after Lazarus had died, He encountered family and friends mourning over the death of Lazarus.
Jesus exhibited a wide range of emotions as He shared in the sorrow of Lazarus’ death with family and friends.
“For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.” (Romans 11:32, NLT).
In Romans 9-11 the Apostle Paul addressed the theological question raised by the Roman Christians about the unbelief of so many Jews. Why had God promised salvation to Israel, His chosen people, and so few Jews were being saved?
“All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him” (2 Samuel 14:14, NLT).
These words were spoken to King David by a woman with a reputation for great wisdom (vs. 2). With advice from this wise woman, King David was persuaded to reconcile with his son, Absalom.
“And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction. And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy, that he prepared beforehand for glory–on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:22-24, HCSB).
These verses do not mean that God desires to show His wrath on those who deserve it. Rather, they mean that God desires to show His mercy by saving those who deserve His wrath. And, God can best show His love by having mercy on those who deserve His wrath.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NASB).
In Part 3 of this series of meditations on Romans 8:28, we determined that the good that God is causing is not about you or your problems, it’s about you being a part of God’s greater good, God’s will. And our individual and collective lives then acquire significance by becoming part of God’s grand plan and purpose for His creation.