Some time ago I realised there was an important gap on my bookshelf where no books appeared by N.T. Wright, the Church of England Bishop of Durham. I have now begun to fill that gap with his latest book "Evil and the Justice of God". This is a little book on a huge subject. It is, in fact, a compilation of a series of talks.
It provides a compact overview of the problem of evil with references to earlier larger works by Wright and to projects he has in progress.
He provides a novel approach to the Gospel by explaining what the problem is that Jesus came to solve. He gives an integrated view of the Old Testament and the New Testament and the repeating patterns of Gods efforts to achieve reconciliation with his loved ones in his fallen creation. In the end reconciliation could only be achieved by the sacrifice of His Son.
He begins with analysis of the state of world civilisation and the manifestations of evil.
".. as soon as I thought of speaking about evil, I realized that this is a timely, not to say urgent, topic. Everybody is talking about evil. After September 11th, 2001, President Bush declared that there was an 'axis of evil' out there somewhere, and that we had to find the evil people and stop them doing any more evil. Tony Blair declared ambitiously that we should aim at nothing short of ridding the world of evil."
"The odd thing about this new concentration on evil is that it seems to have taken many people, not least politicians and the media, by surprise. Of course they would say that there has always been evil; but it seems to have come home to the Western world in a new way. The older discussions of evil tended to be more abstract, with so-called natural evil (represented by the tidal wave) and so-called moral evil (represented by the gangsters). ... Auschwitz posed the problem in a new way, September 11th 2001 on the one hand, and the 'natural' disasters of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the hurricane on the American Gulf Coast, have now kick-started a fresh wave of discussion about what evil is, where it comes from, how to understand it, and what it does to your world-view whether you're a Christian or an atheist or anything else. And, not least, what, if anything, can be done about it."
He positions the Enlightenment and post-modernism in respect of their efforts to deal with the question of evil.
He deals rather carefully with the topic of demons. I guess where NTW is coming from, talking of demons is normally a bit out of scope. But he recognises the influence of quasi-personalities. And that organizations, corporations, even churches are more than the sum of their parts and appear to be driven by a persona.
Forgiveness is the key to deliverance from evil.