Let me suggest the “goodness theory” (profound, I know).
Faced with much brokenness, violence, sickness and death, our propensity to propound the “worseness” of our times, while not surprising, is incomplete. Even Jesus, while acknowledging the injustice - the “worseness” of his times - upheld a foundation for seeing the world as profoundly good.
Where we are prone to worry, Jesus reminds us of God’s care in the world. Where we are prone to conflict and violence, Jesus reminds us that love and reconciliation is possible in the world. Where we are prone to view weakness as failure, Jesus reminds us that being “poor in spirit” is the way to blessing in the world.
In a recent sermon on Revelation 21, I made the point of emphasizing that the “it was good” of Genesis 1 remains true of the world and true of our ultimate hope for how the world can and should be. This is the goodness theory.
And no, this is not based on an ignorant blind eye to what is indeed “worse” in the world. Instead of sin being cumulative, measured as “worse”, the Bible portrays sin as relational. Instead of measured and categorized in history - the worseness theory - sin and brokenness are dynamic relational realities that reflect the absence of wholeness (shalom). Relationships aren't easily measured as we all know. Relational discord doesn’t replace the goodness, it only hides it.
The question, then, is can goodness be recovered?
Here we need to recognize how goodness isn’t only rooted in the “it was good” of creation. Goodness isn't only in the past. Goodness is present and future. Goodness, in fact, finds fulfillment in the Good News - God among us in the person of Jesus, redeeming, restoring, and healing through the tangible expression of God's love (1 John 4:9-10). The broken relationship is restored. Wholeness is recovered.
In Jesus, goodness overcomes worseness. “God with us” determines our view of the world.
Good news indeed!