What I had trouble with from the beginning reading that, was the “absence of God.” I could not fathom it.
And yet the more I let it sit there, it began to occur to me that even though there can really never be, anywhere, anytime, any place, an absence of God, yet to a creature, in its own perception, there may be an absence of God by the will of the creature. Of course by creature I am meaning angels or human beings.
If I had to make such a definition, I would be more specific and say that evil is a denial of God, a refusal of God, and is involved in will. I mean really that the only place evil can occur is in the will of the creature that denies God by breaking off its will from God in order to have and assert that it has its “own will.” THAT is evil. And from the state of that creature, God appears to be absent, and ultimately is absent to that will that continues in denial, even though we know He is All in all, this creature that has broken itself off from Him cannot know it, however, because it is consumed with itself.
That’s one of the reasons Paul knows no condemnation in Romans 7-8, because his WILL is to do God’s will, though he cannot find the means. By his WILL he is justified in God, under no condemnation, regardless of his troubles and battle with covetousness. His will is where he is one with God, and God, Paul learns, will take care of all the rest. Of course also in our understanding will and faith are together, because our will is our faith.
By Fred Pruitt