What has Good Friday to do with evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Imagine if the Democratic National Committee got together every November and remembered the day when John Kennedy was murdered and called that Good Friday. It wouldn’t make sense to us. One would think most Democrats would see this day as a tragedy. Heck. Many Republicans who would not support Kennedy would still say the president being assassinated as a tragedy.
However, every year Christians get together and think about the day that Jesus was crucified and call that Good Friday. Of course, one could say that Jesus did rise again, yet that is a reason why one would call the day of resurrection good. That makes sense. Why call this day good? Wouldn’t it make more sense to call it Dark Friday or Black Friday or something of that sort?
Many people reject Christianity because of the problem of evil. On an emotional level, one can understand why this is troublesome. Most of us do what we can to avoid suffering. It’s easy in suffering to ask where God is, yet one could ask why do we do that? God never promised us everything would be perfect.
It could be often we have an entitlement idea in our minds. We are owed a good life aren’t we? When I talk about the problem of evil, I do bring up something like this. The first point I want to ask about is “Does God owe use anything?” If anything is owed us, it is justice for what we have done.
It’s not like we gave God any special benefits when we showed up on the scene. One can say the devil was the first sinner and rightfully so, and yes, we listened to the temptation, but we still did the wrong in the end and we bear the responsibility and we have all been suffering the effects of that since then and the creation God made has suffered.
So yeah, we were given a great gift and we committed treason against the giver and decided to take it for ourselves.
Still want to talk about what we deserve?
God could have left us alone in that. He could have abandoned everything and still had immense joy within Himself for all eternity. We don’t better Him. We don’t bring Him more joy.
We were owed nothing, after all. He could have done this. No one could charge Him with doing anything wrong.
This is not what happened. God somehow chose to enter into our suffering. God chose to live a life where He came as a baby who had to pass through the birth canal and came out bloody and needing to be cleaned regularly and would poop his diapers and wet Himself and everything. He would be absolutely helpless and dependent on His parents.
In fantasy, we can easily understand the concept of a deity or deities coming to live in the world. Having them come as a baby is not how we normally picture it. They come in power and glory or if they do come in a weakened state, they’re at least capable of fighting right at the start and build themselves up with acts of glory defeating their villains.
The closest we get to Jesus as a fighter is Him making a whip and even then, He’s not taking on gangs of Pharisees at that point.
Jesus came in a way no one would notice who He was immediately and lived an ordinary life, a life that would still have suffering. Isaiah 53 describes Him as a man of sorrow, familiar with suffering, hardly the way you would want to describe the coming of your deity. This is just the beginning.
Jesus came to die and came to die not just a death, but the worst possible death at the time. It was not just a death, but a shameful and painful and enduring death. It was public and everyone would know about it. It would be unable to be separated from the Christian account, hardly the best motivator to get people to join your movement.
What is amazing about this and evil is that somehow, God entered the suffering we went in. No. I’m not talking about the idea of Patripassianism where somehow, God the Father suffered on the cross. There is no doubt that God the Son suffered. How this works entirely, I will not claim to understand.
What is known is that Jesus didn’t remain aloof from evil. He entered into it. He lived it. He took it on when He had no requirement to do so. It was an act of love.
It’s odd to say that evil is an objection to Christianity. Evil is part and parcel of the story. If there is no evil, there is no crucifixion and there is no resurrection.
Good Friday is good then because this is where the battle took place and Jesus took on the suffering and justice for us. Jesus demonstrated the love He has for the creation. At the same time, He demonstrated the love He has for the Father which in turn shows how the Father loves us.
It is sad to think about what happened on this day. It is a great evil that was done that day. What we learn from Christianity is that this evil was reversed. The promise is also that all evils will be reversed someday. Arguing against Christianity because of evil is a way of really removing hope of overcoming evil while still keeping the evil. It doesn’t make sense.
Today, we celebrate Good Friday. We mourn the evil that we have done, but we celebrate the love God has for us. We look forward to the resurrection on Sunday, and we look forward to the resurrection of all creation in the end.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)