One of the big questions that we all ask at some time in our lives is: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there so much evil in this world and why does it feel like we are constantly fighting a battle against the ‘devil’.
Maybe the lectionary readings for today can help to answer some of these questions. Genesis 3:8-15 speaks about the consequences of sin in the Garden of Eden. God finds Adam and Eve after they have eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They are hiding from God because they knew they had done wrong and when God asked them if they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam shifts blame to Eve and Eve blames the serpent (and the serpent had no leg to stand on). In verse 15 God says that there will be enmity and strife between the serpent and Eve’s offspring. This enmity is something that we see played out throughout history. There has always been conflict between good and evil. We see it in the Bible, Job, Saul and David experienced it; Jesus and the disciples, the apostles. Even to this very day we experience conflict with evil. It is something that Revelation speaks about at length.
But we also know that it will be overcome finally one day and God will judge and banish evil from creation for good (Rev 20:10). In the meantime, even though we live in a world that has evil and we know that the Devil is still bent on making our lives difficult, we also know that Jesus overcame evil at the cross (Colossians 2:15), all power and authority is his (Matthew 28:18) and that he has given us authority over evil (Mark 16:15-18).
As Christians we need to live our lives knowing that, even though there is evil, suffering and death in this world, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). As the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, the troubles of this world are only momentary and we are looking forward to an eternity of glory, because we are sons and daughters of God.