Christianity has a unique answer to the problem of evil; not so much an answer of “why is there evil?” as to “if God exists, what’s God doing about evil?” …
I was reminded of this when reading through the book of Hebrews today in prep for a Bible study training camp thing next week.
From Hebrews 2, vs 8(b) onwards [link]:
In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him [Jesus]. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. [emphasis added]
Stuff is not right, it often doesn’t appear that the universe is under the control of a loving God – but God has responded to evil, and we ought consider the method carefully. We don’t see a perfect world, but we can look to God’s sole heir suffering in the most extreme and important way in our place, forging a new relationship with God for us. Through this we can begin to understand God’s redemptive plan in the presence of evil.
A second thing I particularly noticed when reading through Hebrews was that God spared Abraham’s son Isaac from being sacrificed. Abraham knew that God had promised him descendants through Isaac, so he trusted (we are told in Hebrews) that the child would be resurrected, but God spared this child that process and in the place of Isaac struck his own Son. People have complained that the episode with Isaac almost being sacrificed was terribly unfair, but in fact God graciously provided (incidentally perhaps this provision is proof that there is something to the concept of supererogation). There is a lot more to think about in that passage in Genesis; it helps to form one of the most striking links between the old and new testaments.