On 11/18/1978, 30 years ago, 909 men, women and children committed mass suicide at the hands of Jim Jones. In his day he was a run-of-the-mill Word of Faith teacher, and he duped thousands of people into thinking he was a god who had the power to heal. Every now and then I think it’s good to go back and listen to the voices of those who deceived people yesteryear so that we will not be deceived today. Here is Jim Jones in his own words:
“His leg was healed instantaneously because he saw me as God, God, God, God, God, God, God!!!” “When I say I’m God then I feel fruit well up within my soul and I see it well up in you and I see the sick healed, and the blind see, and the dead raised.” “If we can’t live in peace, then let’s die in peace.” “We didn’t commit suicide. We committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.”
With statements like these, why does God allow bad things to happen to so many people? This is question is asked over and over again. At first blush, it may seem that there are as many responses as there are religions. In reality, however, there are only three basic answers: pantheism, philosophical naturalism, and theism. Pantheism denies the existence of good and evil because in this view god is all and all is god. Philosophical naturalism supposes that everything is a function of random processes, thus there is no such thing as good and evil. Theism alone has a relevant response — and only Christian theism can answer the question satisfactorily.
Christian theism acknowledges that God created the potential for evil because God created humans with freedom of choice. And then human beings actualized that evil through their choices. The fact that God created the potential for evil by granting us freedom of choice ultimately will lead to the best of all possible worlds—-a world in which “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). Those who choose Christ will be redeemed from evil by his goodness and will forever be able not to sin.
Christian theism has the answers and we need to be able to be equipped to give those answers to a lost and searching world. For more information on evil please see our website at http://www.equip.org/
Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror