The gospels have more to say about terrorism and tsunamis than we might imagine…. They tell how all the varied forces of evil are involved in putting Jesus on the cross. The gospels tell the story of the downward spiral of evil. One thing leads to another; the remedy against evil has itself the germ of evil within it, so that the attempts to put things right merely produces second-order evil. Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial are simply final twists of this story, with the casual injustice of Caiaphas and Pilate and the mocking of the words at the cross tying all ends together.
The death of Jesus is the result both of the major political evil of the world, the power games that the world still plays, and of the dark, accusing forces that stand behind those human and societal structures.
The gospels don’t offer a philosophical explanation of evil–what it is or why it’s here–but the story of an EVENT in which the living God DEALS with it.
He has done so THROUGH the suffering of Israel’s representative, the Messiah. God chose the appropriate and necessarily deeply ambiguous route of acting from WITHIN his creation, from WITHIN His chosen people, to take the full force of evil upon Himself and so exhaust it.
He has taken the weight of the world’s evil on His own shoulders. This is not an explanation. It is not a philosophical conclusion. It is an event, in which, as we gaze in horror, we may perhaps glimpse God’s presence in the deepest darkness of our world, God’s strange unlooked-for victory over evil of our world; then, and only then, we may glimpse God’s vocation for us to work with Him on a solution to the new problem of evil.