23 September 2014

Where Does Evil Get Its Power to Do Evil Things?

The Bible says that all power is given by God. How can we explain then the power that Satan and men such as Hitler have had in the past?

God is saying not only that he is omnipotent, all-powerful in and of himself but also that he is the fountainhead of all power and all authority in this world. And so the devil himself is subordinate and dependent upon God for any power or authority that he exercises in this world.

The question you're raising is not unlike the question the prophet Habakkuk asked when he stood in his watchtower and complained against God because he was watching a foreign nation, known for its unspeakable wickedness, attacking and slaughtering the Jewish people—God's own people. Habakkuk reminded God that God was too pure to even behold iniquity. How could God allow this alien power, this wicked power, to be used in such a fashion? God basically said, "Wait a minute, I have not used this enemy nation as an instrument to punish Israel because Israel is more wicked than this other nation. I'm just making use of this nation to chastise my own people who so richly deserve it. But this other nation will get theirs." That's why we have to be very careful about saying that God is always on our side. He may raise up China to punish the United States as an instrument of judgment against us—because all power is in his hands.

When I was studying in Europe back in the sixties, even though it was twenty years after the end of World War II, the bookstores in Amsterdam were filled with literature about the Second World War. The memories were still very vivid and keen to these people, who suffered so much more than we in this country suffered at that time. I remember reading a book that was a result of the release of earlier classified documents from the archives that was titled Hitler, the Scourge of Europe, in which private documents of Hitler's were photocopied and printed. One was an early entry from his diary, in which was scribbled in Hitler's own writing: "This evening I have made a covenant with Satan." He wasn't just kidding. There was a serious effort by Adolf Hitler to engage the assistance of the prince of darkness in the programs he set forth. Obviously that was all happening under the sovereignty of God. God has his reasons for allowing that to happen for a season, but obviously he reserves that moment when his powerful judgment falls on Satan and on people like Hitler, and God's righteous power is ultimately vindicated.

~ from:
Now - That's a Good Question!
by R.C. Sproul


Matt said...

Habakkuk must have been feeling pretty brazen that day....

Rev. Paul said...

Matt - yep. Makes him just like a lot of Christians in America today...

PioneerPreppy said...

There is a Baptist view, held by a small sect I might add, that the circumstances for Revelations or the End of the World and Rebirth are constantly among us and has started and then been avoided several times. As long as Men remain strong they continue to weed out that turn of events. I have seen them claim Napoleon, Hitler and other dictators as being emerging anti-Christ types that could have gone the distance.

It might explain a lot though as to why things happen the way they do.

PioneerPreppy said...

I even read an opinion comment once that both Tolkien and Elliot shared this view secretly and used it as a basis for their fiction.

That was just a comment on a forum though no printed or researched type article.

Eainsdad said...

I was drunk in a bar once and thought I was being clever asking the bouncer the age old question:
If God is omniscient, meaning all knowing, and omnipotent, meaning all powerful, why do bad things happen to good people?
He was a buddhist and an Aikido practitioner.
He told me the iron doesn't understand why it is placed in the fire or why it is beaten on the anvil. The iron never can comprehend the changes it undergoes when it is beaten by that heavy hammer and heated to very hot in the forge.
But the iron is purified and made stronger by the heat of the forge and the beating of the hammer. The iron is made better, stronger and more useful to He who holds the hammer and made the iron come to be.

Rev. Paul said...

Preppy, those folks you refer to remind me that anyone who claims to have all the answers deceives himself.

The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:3 about the spirit of antichrist "and even now already is it in the world." I think THE Antichrist is a definite person, and - as for now - only God knows who he will be. But the spirit of deception has always been around.

Eainsdad, welcome. That's a concept which is in the Bible, too, where it says that God is the potter and we are but the clay.

PioneerPreppy said...

RP - I think that part of the scripture is one they claim supports their view. The spirit is always there and trying or something.

Rev. Paul said...

I understand, Preppy; I've encountered their reasoning before. But the full verse doesn't talk about a person - it refers to a demonic spirit of deception which denies that Jesus is the Son of God.
They're sincere, but also sincerely mistaken.

Old NFO said...

Good one, and I like Eainsdad's comment about forging iron. We ARE forged in the crucible of life every day.

Rev. Paul said...

I agree, NFO. Thanks!