What have you been thinking about? All perspectives atheism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity or worldviews must deal with the problem of evil. Every worldview must produce some kind of explanation for not only the existence, origin and fact of evil, but each view must also provide a diagnosis and solution. A number of atheistic or non-theistic thinkers flatly deny that evil needs to be defined, or acknowledge its reality fully, which is very telling about the lack of explaining power of their worldview.
If God has a morally justifiable reason for permitting the evils that he does, then this reasoning also rebuts or refutes the logical problem of evil.
God and Evil
If we had the power only to help others but not to harm them, we would not have any deep or meaningful responsibility for one another. If God were to remove pain and suffering so that the consequences of sin would be hidden from us, we would live in an illusory world, having the impression that we are doing fine without being reconciled to God.
Is the problem of evil a crack in the foundation of the Christian faith?
Are Christians forced to fill these cracks with putty-like responses which seemingly reduce God's revealed attributes? Has God remained silent in answering the question of the problem of evil, leaving Christians to fideistically categorize this issue as one of the secret things which belongs to the Lord? Or, as Deuteronomy concludes, is the problem of evil in the category of those "things that are revealed belonging to us and to our children forever"? With questions of "Why? God is undoubtedly sovereign, all-knowing, and all-good; nevertheless, evil is clearly present in this fallen world.
With this apparent dilemma at hand, a procession into biblical solutions must follow in bringing to the surface the solutions God gives in answering the question of the problem of evil. The study of numerous biblical passages in conjunction with the systematic study of Scripture as a whole maintains that there is not one loose molecule running around this universe outside of the complete control and dominion of God.
The passages above just scratch the surface in giving biblical evidence for a God who is in control of everything. God is an all-powerful and sovereign being, in control of both evil and good-His will stands. This is an important element of the sovereignty of God: God is in control of everything, both evil and good.
God has decreed evil in that He knew that Man would choose evil according to his free will. God could have prevented man from sinning by not creating man with free will, by not placing the forbidden tree in the garden, by not allowing Satan to tempt Eve, or God could have simply elected not to create man at all.
However, God did create the world as good, but decreed to create a world in which He would allow sin to enter, according to the free will and responsibility of man, knowing that He would work it together for good in accordance with His perfect purposes cf.
God and Evil - Schopenhauer | Philosophy | University of Southampton
Romans Scripture reveals the sovereign hand of God in both good and evil as He decrees those things which come to pass. God has foreordained all of the things that have come to pass—including God's decree of evil, in that He knew that free, morally responsible agents would choose evil. By permitting man to sin, the blame and responsibility for evil must never be placed upon God, but on those beings who chose evil.
A sovereign God's ability to accomplish all of His purposes does not result in fatalism. God can maintain sovereignty through morally responsible beings freely choosing according to their desires, establishing man's responsibility, while accomplishing the good and perfect will of God in accordance with all that God decrees. Man is not forced to act against His will in choosing evil, but has freely acted, unknowingly resulting in the fulfillment of the decrees of God.
Mankind is responsible for the wickedness of rejecting and crucifying Christ. Man alone is responsible for his own sin. Sin, however, has neither overtaken a sovereign God nor found a place outside of the things God had foreordained and determined by the good counsel of His will. Biblical Christianity demands a sovereign and all-powerful God.
A biblical solution to the problem of evil must include a completely sovereign God. Secondly, the Bible clearly teaches that God is all-knowing. The Psalmist praised God for His incredible wisdom and knowledge. God not only determines the number of stars but has no limit in His understanding. God has determined, understood, and known all things that would occur from eternity past.
In attempting to reconcile evil in an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good God's world, often one or more of God's attributes are forfeited. The "Process Theologian" explains away the problem of evil by proclaiming that God did not know things would turn out as they have and has taken drastic measures in an attempt to reverse the evil present in the universe.
God reveals, however, that "His understanding has no limit.
Beyond Good and Evil
The Bible does not reveal a God who sits on the edge of His seat anxiously awaiting man's next move in order that He might make a counter move. God has always known all things which would take place. The final attribute for consideration is the goodness of God.
The problem of evil in a sovereign and all-knowing God's world would be simply solved by eliminating God's goodness—if Scripture allowed such a solution. The Bible, however, clearly teaches that God is perfectly good.
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God in His perfect goodness is not the author of sin nor has He in any way forced or coerced man to sin against his own free will. God's decree and foreordination of sin in the world was accomplished by mankind freely choosing according to each individual's own desires. God has never laid aside His goodness at any time in eternity nor has He forced or enticed man to sin—for such involvement would be sin in itself.
Deuteronomy NKJV — "If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.
And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God John Frame says that if God enticed or forced man to sin, this "would picture God as some kind of giant Mafia boss who keeps his hands clean by forcing underlings to carry out his nasty designs" Frame , God has clearly revealed that man sins as the result of his own desires rather than the coercion of God. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Any attempt to give answers for the problem of evil through dethroning God of his sovereign power, limiting God's knowledge, or questioning God's goodness, should be refuted as biblical impossibilities. John Frame says, "It would be nice to have a solution to the problem of evil, but not at any price. If the price we must pay is the very sovereignty of God, the faithful Christian must say that the price is too high. After all, it is of little importance whether any of us discovers the answer to the problem of evil. It is possible to live a long and happy and faithful life without an answer.
But it is all-important that we worship the true God, the God of Scripture.
Without Him, human life is worth nothing" Frame , Are there any biblical answers for the problem of evil? One of the most frequently used answers amongst Christians is found in the Free-Will argument. Simply, the choices man makes are not foreordained or caused by God and, therefore, God cannot be held responsible for the existence of evil.
Alvin Plantinga in God, Freedom and Evil has embraced this answer for the problem of evil Frame , The freedom of the will, as a gift from God, delivers God from His responsibility for evil and places it upon man. Undoubtedly, Scripture teaches that man is responsible for sin, however, Scripture also gives clear references to God foreordaining and decreeing all things which occur. The following verses are examples of God's invisible hand providentially working in the lives of people as He enables those who are spiritually blind to see and repent.
It is God who enables totally depraved sinners to will the things of God as He changes their hearts. The Free-Will argument is lacking in its failure to give an answer to the vast biblical evidence of God foreordaining and decreeing all things, both good and evil. Jay Adams, in his book, The Grand Demonstration, provides a more biblical explanation for the problem of evil.
Adams points to Romans as a proof text for what he has coined, "the so-called problem of evil" Adams , Romans NKJV — "What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory In the ninth chapter of Romans, Paul is dealing specifically with election and reprobation, clearly supporting God's righteousness and ability to display His sovereign prerogative as He shows mercy on some and demonstrates His perfectly just wrath upon others.
Anticipating questions regarding the right of God to have mercy on whom He wills and hardening the hearts of those He wills Romans , Paul answers by pointing to the sovereignty of God rather than emphasizing the free will of man. For who has resisted His will? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this? A potter has every right to do as he desires with his clay. All people belong to the same lump of fallen humanity through the sin of Adam. All of mankind has willingly rejected God in active sin prior to God hardening their already sinful hearts.
The person questioning the justice of God is not pointed to man's free will for the answer, but rather, to a sovereign God who acts in perfection as He pleases. In Romans , an explanation is given for God's work in making "one vessel for honor and another for dishonor. These "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" were made for the specific reason of revealing God's wrath and displaying His power.
The "vessels of mercy" were prepared to "make known the riches of His glory. If you are tricked by Satan into worshipping Satan, then, the results are surely truly bad for you. If you are tricked into worshipping an evil god , then it is at your own peril. If the problem of evil cannot be answered from within the framework of the god you believe in, then, you are seriously running the risk that you have fallen for the tricks of the dark side!
Any powerful spirit can pretend to be good. Even a being of complete evil, like Satan in the Christian Bible, is said to be able to appear 'as an angel of light' 2 Cor.
See a Problem?
That a being of complete evil can hide its true nature and appear as good is a genuine warning from world religions; how much easier must it be for lesser demons and naughty spirits to hide their lesser quantities of evil e. Some groups of early Christians thought that the entire Old Testament was written by an interloper; an evil god , that ought to be overthrown. Such dualistic battles are common in gnostic and mystery religions. We poor Human beings have little chance of determining who are the good, and who are the bad, in the world of gods, angels, demons and spirits.
If there is no way to escape the contradiction between the existence of suffering, pain and evil, and the existence of an all-powerful God, it surely leaves only two possibilities: 1 The god you believe in is actually evil , or 2 there is no god. Some theologians state that this world - complete with suffering - is the "best of all possible worlds" that God could have created. They all argued that some evil is necessary in order to attain a greater amount of good. But with the existence of heaven - where angels sit, free of sin and never having existed on the Earth - it is clear that there is no necessary reason why beings with free will have to exist on earth and suffer before going to heaven.
The very design of the life cycle, natural disasters and the cataclysms of the violent universe prove an opposite conclusion: creation is the worst of all possible worlds. The idea of the existence of a good creator god is refuted by the facts of the universe. The main piece of evidence here is biological matter and the food chain. All life dies - all biological life decays, erodes, fades, becomes diseased and ill if it does not sustain itself. To sustain itself nearly all life, except the least living elements of life, kills and eats other life.
If not this, then it consumes biological matter at the expense of other living beings; the fight for food is also a case of living beings being required to outdo each other merely to survive. If life was created, and not simply the result of undirected unconscious evolution as seems sensible , this is surely the worst possible way to have created life. It appears very much that life cannot survive without causing suffering for other life. A god could not have created a more vicious cycle if it tried: Tying the very existence of life with the necessary killing of other life is the work of an evil genius, not of an all-powerful and all-loving god , that could choose if it wanted to sustain all life immediately and forever with manna from heaven.
But it seems such an all-powerful good god doesn't exist. The creation of quite so much suffering, disease and despair in life is a main indicator that god is not good. The very design of life itself seems evil. This is the conclusion of my page on the food chain and forms part of an argument used on my Satanism website:. That all life exists in a food chain means that life is completely tied to death, and such a barbaric biological cycle could only have been made by an evil god. Also, that such a god appears not to exist, or actively hides itself, is a source of confusion, conflict, war and stress and is again more likely the antics of an evil god.
Given the state of the natural world, it is impossible that a good god exists. It is more likely that an evil god exists, but, it is sensible to assume that there is no god of either type. Even if there is not a god of either type, as the dominance of death and violence in the natural world, a result of nature being abused by life and not being designed for life, I think the evil symbol of Satan is the best representative of the state of reality and the universe, whether or not an actual evil god exists.
If God did exist and was evil, it would undoubtedly lie and tell everyone it was a good god and that it loved them. It would create maximum confusion by preaching multiple conflicting religions.
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It would create heaven and make it hard to get to in order to tease and torture people into making their own lives hell. As all of those things happen , if there is a God, it is doing the things an evil God would do! Once I recognized and accepted this state of affairs and adequately called myself a Satanist, I could concentrate my life on happiness, love , stability and peace. Because I know and understand that death always wins , that life is temporary, I waste no time on short-term whims that reduce my quality of life, or of those around me, and I waste no time with spiritual pipe dreams.
Recognizing Satan as the personified meta-figure of reality is self-affirming, life-affirming, positive, honest and clarifying. Conclusion " by Vexen Crabtree Is the Christian God Evil? Evidence from Scripture and Nature. Christianity has always struggled with the problem of evil. The most ancient forms of Christianity in the first century, before the Pauline Christianity that we known today became dominant, held a multitude of beliefs on why evil existed.
Some believed that there were two gods, a good god Jehovah and an evil one Satan , and they were equal like in Zoroastrianism , a slightly earlier religion. Why else would the world be filled with such misery and hardship? Western influence made it into a single religion, an identity which Hindus now accept.
Our actions affect our stations in future lives, and therefore, karma acts to serve justice in the long-run, even if suffering now seems unfair. It's not unfair - it's just a delayed punishment. Although the operation of karma can be seen as a free-will explanation of evil , the problem of evil does not really exist in such belief systems.
There's no fundamental contradiction between the concept of the divine or universal laws, and the existence of suffering. They hold that our ignorance of the truth is the cause of present situation on the samsaric cycle: if we could enlighten ourselves and see the bigger picture, we would break free from the system, and our suffering would end. See: The Experience of Evil Theodicy. Graves v. To the present day, all theodicies have failed to explain why a good god would create evil , meaning that the existence of evil is simply incompatible with the existence of a good god.
After thousands of years of life-consuming passion, weary theologians have not formulated a new answer to the problem of evil for a long time. The violence of the natural world , disease, the major catastrophes and chaotic destruction seen across the universe and the unsuitability of the vastness of reality for life all indicate that god is not concerned with life, and might actually even be evil.
Failure to answer the problem of evil sheds continual doubt on the very foundations of theistic religions. References: What's this? The Bible NIV.