The Problem of Evil - What About the Other Side

DanLMP

Well-Known Member
It has become cliché for people to ask the question of why God allows evil to exist. The underlying accusation of some of these people is that God is acting immorally. Without having taken a poll I would say that the majority of these accusers sit in the camp of those who don’t believe that God exists or who are generally ambivalent to His existence. Their logic is that if God existed that He would not allow the evil that obviously exists to continue and He would not have allowed evil to be created. Following their own logic, they therefore conclude that since evil does exist and that a good God would not allow it that there is then no God.

Well, without the existence of God we would still need to ask the question of why evil exists. The people who choose not to believe in God are not off the hook for an explanation.

Again, without having taken a poll, I think it is safe to say that the majority of people, both secular and religious, would agree that evil does in fact exist. It’s not really necessary to characterize the specifics of the nature of evil, every person has their own definition, but most would lump certain acts into the category: Lying, murder, rape, theft, false judgement, false testimony, etc. You can easily make a long list, and evil is not restricted to acts of people referred to as moral evil.

If you are walking down the street and someone throws a brick at your head and kills you that is moral evil. If you are walking down the street and a brick falls on your head and kills you that is natural evil. The list of natural evils is probably just as long as the list of moral evils.

Christians, within the framework of mankind’s fall from grace in the Garden, explain evil as a consequence of Adam’s sin. All of creation was affected by Adam’s choice and all of creation no longer operates according to God’s original perfect plan. Discounting moral evil, the evolutionary model can only explain natural evil as something that just is.

Sticking just with the concept of moral evil, without the existence of God, most naturalists have zeroed in on the evolutionary model as being the driving force behind the existence of the universe and the existence of Man. Without getting into a full discussion about the nature of evolution, evolution is generally described as the change in the characteristics of a species over several generations and relies on the process of natural selection. The general principle being that successive generations of humans are selected based on the idea of “survival of the fittest”.

If survival of the fittest has generated humans that act evilly then it seems logical to conclude that evil is a necessary component in the survival of the human species. Why then are the people who complain about evil complaining? To extend the logic a little, if evil is necessary for the survival of the human species, then those who complain about the presence of evil might be considered an evolutionary defect. Alternately, those who complain about the presence of evil could be considered to be acting evilly by complaining about and acting against the presence of evil because it imperils the existence of our whole species. That’s quite a logical twister.


Additionally, these evil complainers would also need to explain how an undirected, unconscious, non-sentient “force”, evolution, created evil in the first place. Evil is not a material entity that can be put on a table. It is an immaterial concept that most would agree exists but can not provide a sound explanation for how atoms that have no ability to think can create a concept that humans can think of.

Natural evil, under the evolutionary model is, in my thinking, a little more difficult to explain. The evolutionary model assumes a long span of time before the advent of biological lifeforms that have the capacity to think. Were all the volcanic explosions, tsunamis, earthquakes and other earth-shattering events before Man evil? How did they suddenly become evil just because mankind came on the scene?

So, no, I have not provided a long-winded explanation for the existence of evil from a Christian perspective but the non-Christian has an equal responsibility, within their own belief system, to provide an adequate defense or explanation for the existence of evil, which they have not done.

We are waiting. In the meantime, stop complaining.
 

Matthew6:33

Withstand in the evil day. Eph 6:13
Nice write up. Evolution and Humanism will never explain evil. Just like they can never explain truth as being anything more than subjective based on culture and/or history.

The Bible/Christian worldview easily explain evil.
  1. It originated with Satan - Isaiah 14:12-14
  2. Entered the world through one man (Adam) - Romans 5:12
  3. Comes from the heart - Matthew 15:18-19
  4. Evil is part of man's curse - Genesis 3:17-19
  5. It is relieved by faith - Hebrews 3:17-19
 

TheRedeemed

Well-Known Member
Hi Dan,

Nice to see you here today, I was wondering where you had gotten to :)

Stephen Fry, a great example of some of the people you mentioned in your post, stated that he's an atheist, because he cannot countenance a being that was so evil that He murdered people.

Strange statement, does that mean he actually believes He does exist or what I wonder.

How can the giver and creator if life commit murder anyway? It's not murder if you created the life in the first place and can decide at any time and for any reason when to recall it.

He later followed this original statement with the usual ones we hear from people angry at God, by questioning His inaction during the holocaust in WWII.

So, when He does intervene and wipes out a whole people He is evil, and when He doesn't do it he is evil for just sitting back doing nothing.

It would seem to me that you'll never convince anyone about where evil comes from and what it is, because as you point out it's not something tangible or that you can see or measure. Most people think they're not evil, in spite of Romans 3:10, which states, As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: even serial killer's convince themselves that they're not evil.

God is so loving, fair and just that His nature decrees that both good and evil must exist together otherwise He would not be able to properly apply His law and judgment on us all.

Evil is in the heart of man from birth to death as we're living in the flesh, which is corrupt and the only solution to the problem is the Messiah.
 

DanLMP

Well-Known Member
Apologetic Bullet Point #15
• God always achieves the highest levels of those character attributes that come from Him

Explanation:
God could not have put in higher values of His character into creation because higher values didn't and don't exist.
It follows that God always achieves the highest levels of those character attributes that come from Him because if He did not then the highest level He could have put into creation was some lower character value.
For example: If we assume that morality can have a scale from some lower value to some upper value, say 1 to 10, we are saying that God always expresses a value of 10 for morality.
If God could at any time also act immorally then the highest level of morality that He could have installed into us, His creation, would have been the same value less than 10 that He is, or stated another way, if God could act both morally and immorally then He could only have made us to act both morally and immorally.
In a case like that we would have no knowledge of any higher moral value that was or is possible and we could only act, at best, according to the morality level that we had, which is to act both morally and immorally, equal to God's morality level.
And if God's character had some lower level of morality allowing Him to act both morally and immorally and that's the best morality level that He could put in us then whenever people look at God and question His morality for taking some of the actions that He has taken, the truth would be that the only thing we could accuse God of would be of acting according to His character, sometimes morally and sometimes immorally. We couldn't accuse Him of acting immorally because we wouldn't have any higher level of morality than He did by which to judge Him.

The result being that when we accuse God of being immoral, it is essentially proof that He isn't. God can and could not create mankind with a higher moral value than His own. When we accuse God of immorality we are claiming to have a higher moral value than God which is illogical and impossible.
 

DanLMP

Well-Known Member
Apologetic Bullet Point #21
• God cannot act in a way that is not best for us or His creation.

Explanation:
Since God always achieves the highest levels of those character elements that come from Him then God always acts perfectly lovingly, justly, ethically and morally.
Acting in a way that ultimately does harm to God’s creation or to God’s created beings would be unloving, unjust, unethical and immoral and therefore God can’t act this way.
Any act that God takes that we might perceive as being unloving, unjust, unethical or immoral is not.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
If you are walking down the street and a brick falls on your head and kills you that is natural evil.

The first definition of evil I found doing an interweb search was: "profoundly immoral and wicked."

What is described here as natural evil I don't believe is evil at all. It is an accident in which there was no evil intent by living or non-living things. It's unfortunate. It's sad. But I don't believe it is evil.
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
It's good to see you DanLMP! :)

• God cannot act in a way that is not best for us or His creation.

I had an aha moment while reading the bible the other day as far as an answer to the Christian perspective of the question, 'If there's a God then why is there evil?' I believe this is also part of the reason:

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

“‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.


“‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Matthew 13:24-30

With the field representing the world and the good wheat those who've placed faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ (over the ages of time), I realized that one of the reasons evil (weeds) is not dealt with completely yet, is so as not to also prematurely uproot those who've put their faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ (another reason being that God is not willing that any perish). It seems that God's dealing with wickedness in the degree needed to fully remove it from earth before the appointed time would have the unintended results of uprooting the wheat (followers of Christ).
 
It has become cliché for people to ask the question of why God allows evil to exist. The underlying accusation of some of these people is that God is acting immorally. Without having taken a poll I would say that the majority of these accusers sit in the camp of those who don’t believe that God exists or who are generally ambivalent to His existence. Their logic is that if God existed that He would not allow the evil that obviously exists to continue and He would not have allowed evil to be created. Following their own logic, they therefore conclude that since evil does exist and that a good God would not allow it that there is then no God.

Well, without the existence of God we would still need to ask the question of why evil exists. The people who choose not to believe in God are not off the hook for an explanation.
It has been an interesting angle for me in discussing these issues with atheists. They are quite adamant in their moral pronouncements, even while knowing they exist in an amoral universe. It is difficult to get good or evil from amorality. The irony for me is once they remove God from the equation and have to account for "evil", they find there is only man to blame for evil, aside from natural evil. Which is kinda what I tell them, man is the cause of evil down here, not God. It's ironic to me anyway.
Again, without having taken a poll, I think it is safe to say that the majority of people, both secular and religious, would agree that evil does in fact exist. It’s not really necessary to characterize the specifics of the nature of evil, every person has their own definition, but most would lump certain acts into the category: Lying, murder, rape, theft, false judgement, false testimony, etc. You can easily make a long list, and evil is not restricted to acts of people referred to as moral evil.

If you are walking down the street and someone throws a brick at your head and kills you that is moral evil. If you are walking down the street and a brick falls on your head and kills you that is natural evil. The list of natural evils is probably just as long as the list of moral evils.

Christians, within the framework of mankind’s fall from grace in the Garden, explain evil as a consequence of Adam’s sin. All of creation was affected by Adam’s choice and all of creation no longer operates according to God’s original perfect plan. Discounting moral evil, the evolutionary model can only explain natural evil as something that just is.

Sticking just with the concept of moral evil, without the existence of God, most naturalists have zeroed in on the evolutionary model as being the driving force behind the existence of the universe and the existence of Man. Without getting into a full discussion about the nature of evolution, evolution is generally described as the change in the characteristics of a species over several generations and relies on the process of natural selection. The general principle being that successive generations of humans are selected based on the idea of “survival of the fittest”.

If survival of the fittest has generated humans that act evilly then it seems logical to conclude that evil is a necessary component in the survival of the human species. Why then are the people who complain about evil complaining? To extend the logic a little, if evil is necessary for the survival of the human species, then those who complain about the presence of evil might be considered an evolutionary defect. Alternately, those who complain about the presence of evil could be considered to be acting evilly by complaining about and acting against the presence of evil because it imperils the existence of our whole species. That’s quite a logical twister.

Additionally, these evil complainers would also need to explain how an undirected, unconscious, non-sentient “force”, evolution, created evil in the first place. Evil is not a material entity that can be put on a table. It is an immaterial concept that most would agree exists but can not provide a sound explanation for how atoms that have no ability to think can create a concept that humans can think of.

Natural evil, under the evolutionary model is, in my thinking, a little more difficult to explain. The evolutionary model assumes a long span of time before the advent of biological lifeforms that have the capacity to think. Were all the volcanic explosions, tsunamis, earthquakes and other earth-shattering events before Man evil? How did they suddenly become evil just because mankind came on the scene?

So, no, I have not provided a long-winded explanation for the existence of evil from a Christian perspective but the non-Christian has an equal responsibility, within their own belief system, to provide an adequate defense or explanation for the existence of evil, which they have not done.

We are waiting. In the meantime, stop complaining.
Great points.

It is quite easy to explain good from evil from our perspective, it's baked into the scriptures and any definition of God.

The atheist lives in a world of science, where everything needs an explanation. They don't really have one that can withstand scrutiny. Many atheists want to see it as a verbal contest with Christians, when it is really a matter of science.
 

paul289

Well-Known Member
For the standards of good and evil to exist and be objective, there must be a source for that standard. Without an outside, objective source, it just becomes "things I do like" and "things I don't like." How can we say that rescuing babies from burning homes is good and that the reverse is evil if there is no God? Perhaps the one who throws the babies into the burning home declares that he is saving the earth by reducing the population. How can you really declare that he is evil and wrong? In his mind, he's correct. Hitler thought he was doing what was right, after all. We're constantly berated with claims that we're shoving our morality down people's throats, but if atheists punish people for doing things they don't like, aren't they also shoving their morality down people's throats? By what standard are they mandating their morality as correct? I haven't heard a satisfactory argument to this question yet.
 

Matthew6:33

Withstand in the evil day. Eph 6:13
For the standards of good and evil to exist and be objective, there must be a source for that standard. Without an outside, objective source, it just becomes "things I do like" and "things I don't like." How can we say that rescuing babies from burning homes is good and that the reverse is evil if there is no God? Perhaps the one who throws the babies into the burning home declares that he is saving the earth by reducing the population. How can you really declare that he is evil and wrong? In his mind, he's correct. Hitler thought he was doing what was right, after all. We're constantly berated with claims that we're shoving our morality down people's throats, but if atheists punish people for doing things they don't like, aren't they also shoving their morality down people's throats? By what standard are they mandating their morality as correct? I haven't heard a satisfactory argument to this question yet.
Yes, moral relativism and humanism will never answer these questions. It is a cyclical problem for them. This is why logic is ignored in many cases because it reveals a giant fallacy.

"There is no absolute truth."

"Is that absolutely true?"

:doh2 :faint2 :idunno :runaway
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
I have a friend who enjoys arguing with atheists over the "problem of evil." When they say things like, "I could never believe in a God who permits evil to exist in the world!" she simply says, "He allows you to exist even though you, like all unbelievers, are judged to be evil--dead in trespasses and sin. In contrast, Abraham believed God, and God judged him to be righteous. Your choice." Shakes them up. Then she challenges them to read the Bible to find Him. When they get huffy and say that they would never want to "find him", she shrugs and says, "Your choice again. Maybe your heart is too hard to perceive the truth. There are several places in the Bible where it states that, in both the Old and New Testaments." When they demand that she show them, she knows that she has a "fish" on the line. Unconventional evangelism to be sure, but has had some success in her efforts. :)
 
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