After reading an online essay and the comments on the essay by two people disagreeing with each other about the author’s intent in a particular sentence, I tried a paraphrase of the line in question, which was from a hymn quoted in the essay as a way of interjecting an olive branch into the online conversation. The opposing opinions had to do with the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice in the “complete and total” defeat of evil. One reader affirmed this and the other opposed it because horrible suffering is evidentiary in all of life:
In suffering, dying and in the gift to his disciples of the experience of his risen presence, Christ defeated the power of evil to extinguish faith, hope and love in the midst of the sufferings of the creation. As the root of the word patience is “the quality of suffering,” we “wait with patience (suffering in many forms) our adoption as the children of God.” This is done in faith, hope and love. We wait, we suffer, for the culmination while experiencing the “fist fruits” of God’s eternal love and because of the experience of those “first fruits” we are enabled and empowered and commissioned to enter into the suffering of others knowing that the existential power of evil ultimately to destroy love, indeed, has been defeated.