The problem of evil in this world

There are many reasons why people turn away from faith in God. One reason that stands out is "the problem of evil" - which the theologian Peter Kreeft describes as "the greatest test of faith, the greatest temptation to unbelief". Agnostics and atheists often use the problem of evil as their argument to sow doubt or deny the existence of God. They claim that coexistence between evil and God is unlikely (say the agnostics) or impossible (atheists say). The chain of reasoning of the following statement dates from the time of the Greek philosopher Epicurus (about 300 BC). She became the end of the 18. Century by the Scottish philosopher David Hume taken up and made popular.

Here is the statement:
"If it is God's will to prevent evil, but can not: then He is not almighty. Or he can do it, but it is not his will: then God is hostile. If both are true, he can and wants to prevent it: where does evil come from? And if neither is true, neither will nor skill: why should we call him God then? "

Epicureand later Hume drew a picture of God, which by no means corresponds to him. I do not have enough room here for a comprehensive response (theologians call it a theodicy). But I would like to point out that this line of reasoning can not even come close as a knock-out argument against the existence of God. As pointed out by many Christian apologists (apologists refer to theologians who are concerned with their scientific "justification" and defense of doctrines), the existence of evil in the world is more of a proof rather than against the existence of God. I would like to go into that now.

Evil causes the good

The statement that evil is present as an objective feature in our world proves to be a double-edged sword that splits the agnostics and atheists much more deeply than the theists. In order to argue that the presence of evil refutes the existence of God, it is necessary to acknowledge the existence of evil. It follows that there must be an absolute moral law that defines evil as evil. One can not develop a logical concept of evil without presupposing the highest moral law. This puts us in a big dilemma as it raises the question of the origin of this law. In other words, if evil is the opposite of good, how do we determine what is good? And where does the understanding of this consideration come from?

The 1. Book of Moses teaches us that the creation of the world was good and not evil. Yet, it also tells of the fall of humanity, caused by evil and drawing evil. Because of evil, this world is not the best of all possible worlds. Consequently, the problem of evil makes the deviation from "how it should be" clear. But if things are not what they should be, then there must be one. If there is this way, then there must be a transcendental design, a plan, and an end to achieve that desired state. This in turn presupposes a transcendental being (God), who is the originator of this plan. If there is no God, then there is no way things should be, and therefore there is no evil. This may sound a bit confused, but it is not. It is a carefully elaborated logical conclusion.

Right and wrong are opposite each other

CS Lewis took this logic to the extreme. In his book Pardon, I Am Christian, he lets us know that he was an atheist, mainly because of the presence of evil, cruelty and injustice in the world. But the more he thought about his atheism, the more he realized clearly that a definition of injustice exists only in relation to an absolute legal conception. The law presupposes a righteous person who stands above humanity and who has the authority to shape created reality and establish rules of law in it.

In addition, he realized that the origin of evil is not due to God the Creator, but to the creatures who yielded to the temptation to distrust God and chose sin. Lewis also recognized that humans could not be objective if they were the origin of good and evil, since they are subject to change. He further concluded that one group of people could make judgments about others, whether they acted well or badly, but then the other group can counter with their version of good and evil. Thus, the question arises, which authority stands behind these competing versions of good and evil? Where does the objective norm remain if, in one culture, something is considered unacceptable but is considered admissible in the other? We see this dilemma at work all over the world, often in the name of religion or other ideologies.

What remains is this: if there is no highest creator and moral legislator, then there can be no objective norm for good. If there is no objective norm for good, how can anyone find out if something is good? Lewis has illustrated this: "If there was no light in the universe, and therefore no creatures with eyes, then we would never know that it is dark. The word dark would have no meaning for us. "

Our personal and good God defeats evil

Only when there is a personal and good God who opposes evil, does it make sense to bring charges against evil or to make a call to intervene. If such a god did not exist, one could not turn to him. There would be no basis for a view that goes beyond what we call the good and the bad. It would be nothing more than what we have a preference for with the label "good"; however, if it conflicted with someone else's preference, we would label them "bad or evil". In such a case there would be nothing objectively called evil; nothing to complain about and no one to complain about. Things would be as simple as they are; you can call them as you please.

It is only by believing in a personal and good God that we really have a foundation to disapprove of evil and can turn to "someone" for it to be destroyed. Believing that there is a real problem of evil and that one day it will be resolved and all things adjusted will provide a good foundation of faith for a personal and good God to exist.

Although evil persists, God is with us and we have hope

The evil exists - you just have to look at the news. We have all experienced evil and know the destructive effects. But we also know that God does not let us survive in our fallen state. In an earlier article, I pointed out that our fall has not surprised God. He did not have to resort to Plan B because he had already put into effect his plan to overcome evil and this plan is Jesus Christ and reconciliation. In Christ, God has defeated evil through his authentic love; this plan has been ready since the foundation of the world. Jesus' cross and resurrection show us that evil will not have the last word. Because of the work of God in Christ, evil has no future.

Are you longing for a God who sees evil, who, in his grace, takes the responsibility for it, who has undertaken to do something about it and in the end does everything right? Then I have good news for you - that is exactly the God revealed by Jesus Christ. Although we live in "this present, evil world" (Gal 1,4), as Paul wrote, God has neither given us up nor left us hope. God assures us all that he is with us; He has penetrated into the here and now of our existence, thus giving us the blessing of receiving the "Firstfruits" (Rom 8,23) of the "coming world" (Lk 18,30) - a "pledge" (Eph 1,13-14) of the goodness of God, how she will be present under his rule in the fullness of his kingdom.

By the grace of God, through our common life in the Church, we now embody the signs of the Kingdom of God. The Triune God living in us already enables us to experience something of the fellowship he has planned for us since the beginning. There will be joy in communion with God and with each other - true life that never ends and in which no evil happens. Yes, we all have to endure our struggles on this side of glory, yet we are comforted in the knowledge that God is with us - his love lives in us for ever through Christ - through his Word and his Spirit. Scripture states: "He who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1, Joh 4,4).

by Joseph Tkack


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