Monday, January 15, 2024

The Cross, Creation and the End of Evil

Why is there evil and suffering in the world? Here is a different take that comes to me the more I meditate on how central Christ crucified and risen is to everything. Here it is for your consideration, and it goes like this:

First, understand that evil is not a thing in itself, and has no existence in itself. Evil is nothing more than the lack of good, therefore the lack of thingness. For Christ, the Creator of all things, creates only the good. So, the evil we see is the void, the nothingness into which Christ, the Logos, speaks the world into existence. 

Christ crucified and risen is both the beginning and the completion of all creation. For he who is the firstborn of the dead is the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1). The cross is the very center of time and eternity, yet it encompasses time and eternity. Christ crucified and risen is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

When we see the Cross, we are witnessing evil, the darkness and chaos of non-being, doing the very worst it can do to God, even to the point of crucifying Christ. But the moment of the Cross and Resurrection is the very undoing of all evil, chaos and darkness. It is the very moment of Christ creating the heavens and the earth, the moment of humankind being made in the image of God, to be like God.

So, if we want to know what the creation of the world looks like, look to the cross, to Christ crucified and risen. If we want to know what the end or consummation of the world looks like, look to Christ crucified and risen. If we want to see what the defeat of all evil looks like, look to Christ crucified and risen. 

It is all accomplished there, certainly in eternity, but also in time. For the Incarnation of Christ is the union of eternity with time. We can see, in time, where it is all done in eternity. We can point to it and say, “There it is, right there!” We can be immersed in it and taste it on our tongues in the sacraments. Everything in time, both forward and backward, is worked out from the Cross.

The Cross means that we no longer have to understand time as neverending cycles, or in linear fashion, with “before” and “after,” for our eternal Lord Jesus Christ has united himself with time. Now we can see the consummation of all time and the unveiling of history right there at the Cross, in Christ crucified and risen. 

This, I believe, is the point of the book of Revelation, the Apocalypsis, the Unveiling that “pulls away the curtain” to show us the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, seated upon the Throne, making all things new. And this is why we find, in Revelation, the most exquisite worship, because it is in worship of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world that we behold everything — the Beginning and the End, all fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The darkness is passing away,” John the Elder tells us, “and the True Light is already shining” (1 John 2:8). At the Cross, we can simultaneously witness the passing away of darkness and evil, and the shining of the Light of Christ, who is the True Light that gives Light to everyone in the world (John 1:9).

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