Jeffery Epstein is dead. By suicide they say, although the details seem odd and the list of powerful people who could have been damaged by his trial is long. Either way, he’s gone. And the only reason anyone seems sorry about that fact is that it means his horrible crimes won’t come to trial, his many victims won’t get their public vindication, and his powerful accomplices will remain free. Epstein set up a large network for trafficking underage girls, and the long list of his crimes is dark and disturbing. I suppose there is some satisfaction for his victims in knowing that he was finally caught and is now dead, but those facts do nothing to pay them back for what was done to them, or restore the years and innocence that was stolen. The life of Epstein is a classic example of wealth and influence subverting justice. He should have been stopped in 2005 when charges first came to light. He should have been stopped in 2007 when the FBI prepared a 53-page indictment against him, yet somehow he got a deal and 18 months in prison, of which he only served 13. After that he lived in freedom, continuing all the same crimes, until just recently. And the many powerful men who participated with him remain free still.
In other words, justice failed.
Jeffery Epstein believed that this world is all there is, this life is all we have. He acted on that belief by using his money to buy pleasure for himself and his powerful friends, not caring what it cost people who were weaker. He believed that he was among the fittest that ought to survive, that he embodied the progress of evolution, so he hatched a scheme to seed the human race with his own DNA by setting up a baby farm at his ranch that would inseminate as many women as possible. As for the weak? Let them die – Epstein criticised efforts to reduce starvation and provide health care to the poor, because they would just cause overpopulation [source].
The man lived for himself and used everything he had and everyone around him for his own personal gain. Yet if Epstein’s beliefs were correct, who’s to say his actions were wrong? A lion doesn’t apologise to the zebra it eats, and doesn’t face criminal charges for the kill. Epstein believed he and everyone around him were animals, and acted accordingly. Where does our idea of justice for the weak fit in to the “survival of the fittest”? It doesn’t. And yet we can’t stop feeling the weight of evil that Epstein’s way of life brought into our world.
What if he was wrong? What if, the day he died, he came face to face with his Creator, the One who breathed the same life into him and each of his victims? What if he avoided a human trial, only to face a greater Judge?
These days, it’s not popular to talk about God’s judgment. We don’t want God to judge our own actions, so we get around it by saying He isn’t there, or if He is, He’s too kind to judge anyone. But if God doesn’t judge, than Epstein’s victims will never have justice. God would not be good if He never called the guilty to account for their abuse of the weak. But this leaves us with a problem: when we are measured against God’s perfect standards of justice, we all come up short. We all come up guilty. Yet hope remains, amazingly, because the God who is just is also merciful and good. His heart reaches out in compassion towards those he has made. And in Jesus, our Judge was willing to take the weight of our guilt on himself, die the death we deserved, and rise again proving the payment was complete for anyone who will humble themselves, turn from their sin, and put their trust in Him. Only in Him can justice be fully served, victims be fully vindicated, and forgiveness and transformation be freely offered.