Creation and the Problem of Evil
Why did God create the world? Not to glorify Himself, for He possesses all glory; not out of need for a beloved, for He embodies perfect, infinite love within the dynamic life of the Trinity: No, God created the world precisely because His love is so powerful, so consummate, so over-flowing that He willed finite being into creation as a totally free and sovereign expression of this love.
His will just is this super-abundant love, according to the identity of all divine attributes. Therefore God is not compelled to create, but rather it belongs to His nature to create, freely and sovereignly, out of the supreme and boundless love which characterizes His life and essence. This love is the ultimate mystery of being, as it is simultaneously the power of God which brought forth the world into existence, through which the world evolves, and to which the world is destined to find its total completeness and perfection.
Divine agency in the world is basically on two levels: one, the providence of God directing and shaping the history and fate of the world and of humanity, according to His hidden and secret purpose. This providence is centered in the drama of the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God.
The other level is that of the inner life of the individual, where God whispers in symbols and signs that only that unique person may understand. The mystics have enumerated the experience of the divine within in ways that allow a glimpse into their inner lives and relationships with God. This interaction between God and man is rooted in the God-man, the Christ, in whose being the divine and human natures are united, facilitating and modeling the communion of God with every person.
Jesus is thusly the epicenter of human and cosmic history. The crucifixion reveals God to be a God who suffers with his people, and who identifies with the groans and pains of the entire creation. God’s taking on of ultimate estrangement and God-forsakenness in Christ is the only successful theodicy; that is, the only way to cope with and understand the presence and seeming triumph of evil in our world.
The problem of evil is not one that can satisfactorily be explained in only rational terms; even if no logical inconsistency can be found in the simultaneous existence of evil and infinite Goodness, the emotional sting of evil can probably never be abated until the Resurrection.
It is only at this final consummation of all things that the place and purpose of evil can be comprehended. More than this, the evil in our lives will be placed into its proper context, and in the midst of the rapture of beatitude this extinguished evil will somehow, in a grand mystery, enhance the joy and happiness of heaven.