The problem of evil is predicated ultimately on the belief that God could not possibly redeem the moral and natural evils we regularly see in our midst. But can we really know this is true? Consider the following illustration…
I cannot imagine a filthier more disgusting environment than the bottom of an outhouse. And yet, the incredible thing is that archaeologists love to go digging in outhouses. Over time people tend to throw all sorts of surprising things down the loo, and since most of those things aren’t worth retrieving at the time, they are kept safe (from posterior to posterity, if you’ll excuse the expression). So many archaeologists are known for turning the spade in the “night soil” (as it is sometimes euphemistically called). In fact they even have a special term for it: “privy digging”. Why “privy”? Sarah M. Nelson suggests it is because it makes the archaeologists “feel better about digging in them….” (Nelson, Denver: An Archaeological History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), 193.) Who wants to tell friends that you spend your afternoons digging around at the bottom of a cesspool?
Truth be known, archaeology in an outhouse really isn’t as bad as you might think. You see, over time a funny thing happens to all that poop: it turns into a rich soil. The most dirty, filthy things are transformed. When you think about it, this truly is a remarkable transformation. It is hard to envision anything more filthy, disgusting and off-putting than a cesspool of sewage. And yet God has designed his creation in such a way that within a matter of years the most filthy, dirty substance imaginable is transformed into something innocuous and enriching for the environment.
If God can transform a filthy privy within matter of decades, then what could special divine action do to the cesspool of human sin and depravity when set against the backdrop of eternity?