by Peter Leavell, @PeterLeavell
God, are You good? Are You everywhere and know all things?
Yes? Then why does evil exist? (Theodicy)
Evil: Harm. Injury. And the decision to cause harm and injury. Enter the villain.
What overcomes evil? Gumption? Bacon? A can-do attitude? All good thing—maybe even great—but that’s not the Biblical, or even the philosophical answer.
Love: A feeling of constant affection for a person. The great commandment and the golden rule. Enter the hero.
Theologian pumps fist in the air. “Yes! Free will to love God keeps Him from destroying evil at this time, allowing us to choose the greater. Or the worse. But choice is indicative in the definition of love.”
Thank you. May I have the mic back, please.
Christian fiction tests the Bible’s claim that love is the antithesis of evil. A tall order, especially when the ability to examine evil is limited by the need to keep the literature relatively clean. That aside, love/compassion compels the hero in our novels to right the wrongs, no matter how evil they are.
Natural evil: Natural disasters, like hurricanes, fires, and bacon shortages.A villain’s randomness without intent.
Moral evil: Genocide. Murder. Pain. Emotional abuse. Villains at their worst. The stories are endless.
The worse the evil, the more amazing the hero.
The hero’s journey of self-discovery is a series of choices that reflect God’s goodness despite the evil in this world. Is the hero’s love strong enough to act? Or is the hero’s fear, self-preservation, or selfish desires, too strong and evil wins?
The movie Dunkirk had only a few choice words, but a son’s journey of self-discovery and love left me stunned. Darth Vader’s act of love overcame evil. The Brothers Karamazov is the philosophical journey of rejecting God because of evil. The Great Gatsby is a hunger for love, but everyone is too immature to give, or even receive it. A Wrinkle in Time blatantly researches this theme.
God, are you good? Are you omnipotent and omnipresent?
Why does evil exist?
Explore the theme in your work!
Shadow of Devil’s Tower
Philip Anderson is a reluctant gunslinger whose fame has spread through the Dakota Territory. He can’t escape his reputation as the hero who took down the entire Maxwell Gang, and he’s even had a popular dime novel written about him. All Philip yearns for is to live a quiet life raising horses and to finally marry his beloved Anna. He’d gladly give up his half of the treasure map his murdered father left behind, but until Jacob Wilkes is captured he can never hang up his gun. Bent on destroying Philip and everything he loves, Wilkes has his eye on the hidden cache. And on Anna.
Just when Philip thinks he might be able to bury the demons of his past, the unthinkable happens and Anna and her family are kidnapped. Riding his Arabian mare Raven, he is forced into the race of his life as he desperately tracks his enemies across the desert. Can he rescue Anna before it’s too late? Joining forces with old friends like Teddy Roosevelt and Running Deer, Philip is pushed to the breaking point. Will he ever be free, or must he make the ultimate sacrifice for those he loves under the shadow of Devil’s Tower?
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com