Why are things this way?
In your mind’s eye, look outside your door and peer into the ghettos and dark alleys of this world. In your heart, you know this is not what God had in mind for our planet. Sure, there is good out there, but there is bad too. There is beauty in bright smiles and romantic sunsets, blue oceans and painted deserts, quasars and star-studded skies, but there is ugliness in disease, decay, and death. And there is pain, a lot of pain. Why are things this way? Why do lions and tigers eat Bambi and Thumper? Why are the good often bad and the bad sometimes good? Why does the song say, “Only the good die young”? And why did someone as loving as Jesus have to die?
Many people have offered answers to that question. Some explanations revolve around some type of ransom being paid to the devil; others say that Jesus paid a debt to His Father, to the angels, or to sin itself. Are these the only options? Has the question been adequately addressed? Why is it that no earthly court would ever allow some saintly fellow to take the punishment for a criminal, yet many religions think it is okay for God to do so? Could punishing Gandhi ever atone for Hitler’s crimes? Could Mother Teresa’s virtue ever negate the lack thereof in Stalin, Pol Pot, Nero, Hirohito, or Osama bin Laden?
Surely it is arrogant to suggest that humanity has exhausted all the possibilities or that we could actually comprehend it all. So with that, I would like to throw one more possibility into the theological hat for consideration: the Great Controversy-Demonstration Model. Several people have incorporated great controversy concepts into their theology, but none have risen to the level of Graham Maxwell PhD, University of Chicago. Many of the ideas presented here were first learned from this great man.
This book is divided into four sections. The first is historic, tracing the biblical story to the cross. The second is allegorical, using train-wreck metaphors to compare theologies. The third section looks at issues one by one, and section four defines terms.