The Problem of Evil

The Bible tells us “God works all things for good” (Rom. 8:28) to show His glory and His mercy, by saving people from their sin (Rom. 9).” The Bible teaches that God permitted moral evil, the resulting natural evil, and chooses to restore some people back to himself (Rom. 8:22,23).   This is why bad things happen in this world.  People don’t agree on the origin or definition of evil and formulate arguments to articulate their views.  So the “problem of evil” becomes one of trying to understand it properly and consistently.  Moral evil stems from Adam and Eve’s original violation of God’s law. The result is every generation from them are born with the nature to sin in their actions but are also conceived in sin.  Examples of moral evil would be such things like murder and rape (Ex. 20).  Natural evil actions happen as a process of the functioning of being born with a sin nature.  So, natural evil is a consequence of nature such as diseases or natural disasters (Rom. 8: 22-23).

The problem of evil should be important to all people because it grounds us in our understanding of God and of ourselves. The problem of evil has always been important to theologians, philosophers, and various religions because they generally are in place to help people understand evil.  However, each person should investigate for themselves and be able to defend their view based on the Bible. A term to know is “theodicy”. It your explanation of the problem of evil. It is an attempt to justify the ways of God to man.  Another way to put it is theodicies present man’s argument for God’s purpose of evil.

The humanistic/rationalistic theodicy promoted by Gottfried Leibniz is that God has reasons for what He does but that the reasons are necessary laws.  He said God is obligated to create the best possible world which must include moral and physical good and evil.  This view is faulty because it requires God to create subject to necessary laws outside His control and reduces God to being understandable through our own reasoning.  However, God is actually inscrutable (Isaiah 55:8,9).

The Free-will theodicy and the soul-building theodicy are two views used in the modified rationalistic theology.  They have common points in their arguments like God is not obligated to create any world.  He is supreme in His own existence. He chooses to do anything He reasons to be fitting for Himself but not by necessary laws.  Also that there is no best possible world and God was free to create or not out of an infinite number of possible worlds.  Some of those possible worlds by their nature consisted of evil.  I see the possible evil world’s argument of free-will theodicy as a fatal flaw.  Theodicy has a basic ethic in that good and evil are determined on the basis of the consequence of the act.  The fault here is that though evil may exist in another possible world that God could have created makes man a creator of evil in ours.  If the best possible world God could choose was one in which man would sin, then it appears God is subordinate to things external to Himself such as man’s actual acts of sin.  This presumes an extraordinary ability by mankind to ultimately choose the world God would create, so man is the Creator and not God. Regarding the soul-building theodicy John Hick suggests God created imperfect beings in need of moral development.  The fault of this theodicy contradicts Matt. 25:46 by teaching universal salvation.  The theodicies discussed seem to be internally consistent with faulty presuppositions.  They need to be more consistent with the Word of God.  That is because God is self-existent (John 5:26), eternal (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 48:14), unchanging (Ps. 102:25-27), omniscient (1 John 3:20), and omnipotent (Luke 1:37).

You should always recognize God created for His pleasure, not man’s.  God is unsearchable, His numerous attributes are manifested in His creation and creation glorifies Him through those attributes.  His attribute of justice is manifested by reward and punishment (Rom. 8: 18), His mercy and grace through a gift of His righteousness, received by someone who doesn’t deserve it.  Jesus was innocent of evil, lowered Himself to the point of death at the hand of His creation.  He did this in order to protect those He chooses from His Holy hatred of evil and eventual eradication of it.   We attack God by not believing this simple truth which is part of the moral evil behind our motivations to violate His standards.  Adam’s act of moral evil resulted in relational alienation from God for everyone.  God’s allowing evil may offend men but it is never right to blame God for it.  His intentions for it are good as man willfully commits evil. I am certain without it mankind could not know the true love of God. Despite our evil God became flesh to be brutalized on a cross as payment for the sin we have committed. My positions internal consistency depends on God; just as my relationship with Him depends on His unsearchable and merciful consistency (Rom 8:28).

Published by SReed

Attends Westminster Orthodox Presbyterian Church. I'm a sinner saved by the work of God in me and not a work of my own.

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