Thursday, February 21, 2019

Christian Interaction With The Problem of Evil

  • General Points Of Consideration:
          -This argument is an attempt to judge God according to human standards. However, He is the One who is superior to us (not the other way around). His ways are not our ways. Our thoughts are not His thoughts. As finite creatures, we are not able to understand the thoughts and intents of God. He transcends our intellectual faculties. People often ask why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but the truth is that we are stiff-necked. He is not our genie. Why should our pain and suffering be stopped?
          -How come God does not instantly resolve all the problems of this word? He certainly has the power to do so. However, it does not follow that the human race would be pleased with His instantaneous solution. "...no one does evil for evil’s sake. We do evil to get good things, such as money, sex, and power. Take away pleasure and the incentive to do evil would vanish. But if God were to stop evil by ending pleasure, would the human race continue? If it did, would anyone like the pleasureless world that remains?" (Frank Turek, Stealing From God, p. 142)
          -God could simply refuse to pardon the iniquity of sinners and cast them into an eternity of eternal punishment. He could in the twinkling of an eye erase our existence. It is not as though He is indebted to us for anything. God could mechanically control us to make us serve Him. Nonetheless, He is patient and merciful. God is giving us an opportunity to repent (Acts 17:26-31; 2 Peter 3:9). We need to place our trust in the sacrificial work of His Son Jesus Christ in order to be saved. We need to adopt an eternal rather than temporal perspective.
  • A Consideration Of Free Will 
          -God allows us to make immoral decisions because He wanted us to have free will. He wanted us to have freedom and thus to lovingly come to Him through the use of our own reason. He did so out of His love for us. He wanted us to choose Him, not be forced to accept His precepts. He made us to be His children, not to function in the manner of robots or puppets. If He did the latter, then He would not really love us. We would not be autonomous. We would not truly be unique as persons. Life would have no true meaning if we were not given the freedom to make rational decisions. 
          -As long as we have free will in this world, evil inevitably remains a possibility. Free will is a greater good. It is a gift in and of itself. God created us with the intention of having a relationship. The tree of knowledge of good and evil serves as an object lesson. When He restores everything back to its originally perfect order, our sin nature will be removed. We will be so consumed by God's majestic glory and presence that we would never be tempted by sin, which utterly destroys the possibility of any future rebellion. Nothing will be lacking.
  • Morally Sufficient Reasons For God's Toleration Of Evil:
          -God may allow evil to exist as a way to test our faith (even though suffering oftentimes wears us down). It is because of our suffering that we learn patience, courage, and self-sacrifice (Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 4:12-19).
          -To show us that our poor decisions lead to negative consequences that are contrary to His will (what He really wants is goodness--he condemns murder, adultery, theft, lying etc.).
          -So, the existence of evil is not inherently incompatible with the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful, and infinitely good God. The existence of evil is a problem for all worldviews. How that issue is addressed depends on our worldview.
          -"Nagasawa gives an argument from evil against atheism -- or, more precisely, against what he calls "existentially optimistic" atheism, the sort of atheism which regards the world as a place worth being happy and grateful to be alive in. He argues that the fact that the world's evil and suffering seems embedded in basic systems (like evolution) is a problem for these existentially optimistic atheists, and so in a sense the problem of evil applies just as much to (existentially optimistic) atheism as to theism. Theists actually have an advantage in replying to the problem of evil, because of their view that there is so much more to the world than material reality that might factor into the balance of evil and good in the world." (https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/the-problem-of-evil-eight-views-in-dialogue/)
  • Since God Already Knows Everything, Why Did He Create An Angel Who Would Defy Him And Corrupt His Creation?:
          -Satan, who was created without sin, became fallen in the same way that Adam and Eve became fallen. They abused the free will that God had given them by choosing evil instead of righteousness. Perhaps God has a plan in which He is even more so glorified with the entrance of sin into the world than without. There is much mystery surrounding the fall of Satan. God in His wisdom has chosen not to reveal how all that took place.
  • The Problem Of Evil Is A Criticism That Backfires Because It Assumes An Objective Standard Of Good Which Cannot Exist If There Is No God: 
          -If objective evil exists, then, by definition, objective good must also exist. If there is an objective good, then there is a standard of morality that exists beyond humanity. It exists beyond nature. It is divine. This universal moral code governs the moral laws of each civilization. This moral law implies that there must be a Moral Law Giver. It is philosophically impossible for evil to exist on its own as an entity, as it is a perversion of what is good. Evil and good can exist at the same time. Good can exist apart from evil.

2 comments:

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Great commentary, Jesse!

Mrs. H said...

This is Justin. Im using my wifes phone to reply. I take it to work with me cause its the only cell i have with data. Good job answering the "problem of evil". It makes perfect sense. Indeed how can sin exist without a God given law to transgress? For sin is trangression of the law. Without Gods existance the terrible act of rape wouldnt be inherently evil.