Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Question of the Week: ”What If Evil Exists?”

Genesis 4 describes the consequences of the Fall. Cain killed his brother Abel. Image from the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum.

Joel Kontinen

The recent bombing and the deadly shooting incident in Norway that took the lives of over 90 people caused the media to ponder the reason for the atrocities. Sari Torvinen, a reporter of the Finnish daily Aamulehti, asked a hard, yet pertinent question: ”What if evil exists?”

If we think about the rule of terror in the Soviet Union under Stalin, the holocaust of the Jews during the Second World War, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, Idi Amin’s tyranny in Uganda as well as the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan, we will notice that the question is still very timely.

In contrast to many school shootings and for instance the 9/11 attacks in New York, this time the perpetrator was probably not an atheist, who had assumed a Darwinian worldview, or an Islamist relying on the promise of a reward in paradise but a Norwegian, who obviously considered himself a patriot.

Unfortunately, the political climate in Europe is beginning to resemble that of the years between World War I and II when great ideologies were struggling for hegemony in the heart of Europe. Fear of the spread of communism gave rise to right-wing movements that saw their mission as defending the continent's cultural heritage.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many Europeans thought that the threat came from the Islamic world. The bombings in London and Madrid showed that the fear was not entirely unfounded.

It seems that Anders Breivik, who acknowledged he had committed the murders, had had enough of the inability of western Europe to rise up to the challenge of Islam and wanted to send the Norwegian government a macabre message that reminds us that we are living in a world that is stained by sin.

Already at the beginning in Genesis 4, sin lead from murder to murder.

However, even in a world that is as evil as it is, the gospel has the power to liberate us from sin, hatred, fear and the vicious circle of revenge, since Jesus Christ has carried our sins to the cross.

Christianity is not an ideology but it has to do with new life that is no longer focused on one’s ego but on God, who ”became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14, NKJV) and also gave us His moral commandments.

If all people would observe the golden rule (i.e., “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them”, Matt. 7:6, NKJV) and other teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, no one would want to take the life of one’s neighbour.


Torvinen, Sari. 2011. Pahuudelle ei ole selitystä. Aamulehti 24 July, A6.