Beckett: 1st Article of the Creed – Defence Against All Evil

In this article we believe, teach, and confess that God is our Creator, who gives us all we need—large or small—and still takes care of them, and “He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil…” (SC, The First Article: Creation). As the psalm says, “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth… The LORD will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life” (Psalm 121:2, 7). Thus, whenever the Lord keeps you from evil, He is the one to be thanked and praised.

But what about when evil does befall us? Has God failed in some way? Is He punishing me?


Rather, as Luther writes, “From this we see how dearly we should love God whenever some evil afflicts us, for by that one evil our most loving Father would want us to see how many evils would threaten and attack us if He Himself did not stand in the way” (LW 42:128). This is not our natural inclination. We prefer to question God and get angry with Him. Rather, we should say such things as, “Who knows how much worse things would be if the Lord permitted other evils to befall me! My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth! The LORD will keep me from all evil; He will keep my life!” Who of us have suffered like Job who, when his entire economy was destroyed, when all ten of his children were killed, and when his wife nagged him to curse God and die, said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21)?

And what about when God allows disasters like hurricanes to occur? As God said to Job when He created the oceans, He said to them, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed” (Job 38:11). So then, what about those times when God allows the waters to go farther than He’s normally allowed? Are we to praise God even then?


For here God reminds us who it is that governs the entire earth—and who keeps the devil like a dog on a leash—and again, how worse things would be if God did not keep the entire earth in check. Again, we should respond as Job responded to the Lord’s discourse here, “Behold, I am of small account, what shall I answer You? I lay my hand on my mouth,” and a little later he repents, “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 40:4; 42:6). This echoes what Jesus says in Luke 13:4-5, “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Whenever any evil befalls us, then, they should teach us repentance. This is not to say you suffer evil because you’ve done wrong, for as well learn from Job, sometimes we suffer evil for no reason at all. Rather, this is to say we should remember that second part of repentance, which is faith that clings to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

When evil befalls us, we have a fight or flight response—fight against God because we’re angry with Him or run from Him because we think He can’t or won’t protect us. Rather, our response in any evil should be to run toward Him, for He is the Creator of all things and therefore governs all things, who is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

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