More Viewpoint articles from past issues of the Presbyterian Standard are available online here.
WHO but the blind will doubt the existence of evil in our world? Even those who believe in the ascent of man and his inherent goodness will acknowledge that there are some individuals who unaccountably go against this trend and who descend into lives which are characterised by wickedness.
What we call evil may be divided into that which is moral and that which is natural in character. Moral evil, or transgression of the law of God, is evil in the proper sense of the term. God may permit it but He does not author it, for "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man" (Jam.1:13).
Natural 'evil' is evil in the looser sense. It may be thought of as 'transgression' of the laws of the creation. God not only permits natural evil but He is also the author of it, for "shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6). By natural evil such things as earthquakes, floods, famine and disease are meant.
Natural evils are in the world because of moral evil and often as a direct judgment upon it. In Scripture these evils are often attributed to "the hand of the Lord." Man can mitigate these evils when they occur (and believers should seek to do so as a witness to their Saviour, who went about doing good) but he cannot avoid them in this fallen creation.
Sadly although natural disasters appall us moral calamities leave many unmoved. Such is the perversity in man's heart that he will even turn vices into virtues. But there are moral evils in this world which on account of their degree and extent, their depth and scale, ought simply to overwhelm us with their sheer horror.
It is reliably reported that six million children have been killed by abortion in the United Kingdom since the practice was first legalised in 1967. Because it is a practice which, for its opposition to natural instinct and feeling, is almost without parallel it is not surprising that every form of intellectual, emotional and practical argument has been employed by its advocates in order to justify it and somehow make it respectable.
It is said that the child is simply an extension of the mother's body, over which the woman has exclusive rights. But Scripture says, "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife" (1Cor.7:4). It is said that life does not properly begin until birth. But God said to Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jer.1:5). It is said that many children are unwanted. But Scripture says, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?" (Isa.49:15).
The pretence needs to be stripped away. Despite all the arguments invented by the wisdom of this world the truth remains: when an abortion takes place the life of a fellow human being is deliberately sacrificed in an act of bloody cruelty. As their remains are incinerated the children involved literally become burnt offerings. They are offered to the god of humanism on the altar of expediency. It is just not 'convenient' for their parents that they should be permitted to live.
Why, oh why, have we been so sinfully silent in the face of this holocaust, when the victims themselves are without a voice? "Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction" (Prov.31:8). Let us pray and work for an end to this national shame.