How to Respond to the Problem of Evil

What is a gracious, effective response to someone   who pushes away from the idea of  God because of the problem of evil? Well, my first question is, what exactly is the  problem? Now, of course I’m— this is a question  

I’m asking to get the other person to spell it  out because it’s not that I am ignorant about   the kinds of ways people factor in the problem of  evil into the existence of God. I want them to  

Spell it out because i actually think there are  serious problems with using evil as an argument   against God. So, I want them to spell it  out. Now, I know the way it’s usually characterized.

Well, if you think God is good and he’s powerful, and that would be God, right? But if he’s good, he’d   want to get rid of all evil. If he’s powerful, he’d be able to get all rid of all evil, but  

There’s evil, right? So there you go. God probably  doesn’t exist. And it turns out, though that sounds   like an argument. Like a step-by-step syllogistic  argument leading from premises to a conclusion, it turns out that when you press the issue, you  can’t build a valid argument from those facts.

If God were good, for example, then he  wouldn’t allow any evil. Really? Is that true? That’s a question, and we talk about this— I talk about this— I’m looking at you because I’m   saying “we” because you were such a help to me in editing The Story of Reality, but you recall  

From The Story of Reality how I talk about my  daughters don’t like shots, you know? They don’t   like that’s evil for them because it causes  them pain, but Daddy makes them get shots, so   why does he do that? Because Daddy’s evil? No.  Because I know that the short-term evil to them is  

Going to result in a longer term good. And so there  is a moral justification for the shorter term bad. All that does is point out that it certainly could  be possible, and that’s a very simple illustration. There’s dozens and dozens we can think of. It certainly is possible how something bad  

Could be justified. There could be a  morally sufficient reason for allowing it   because it leads to something good, okay?  Or maybe something bad that prevents   something even worse from happening. So,  there’s different ways to construe this,

To demonstrate that it is not the case that if  God were good he would never allow anything evil. Rather, he could have a morally sufficient  reason for allowing it for a time. And   that, by the way, is all we need to parry  the objection about the problem of evil.

Now, the possibility that he could have a reason, we don’t have to tell them what that reason is. Remember, the type of objection that this is is  a strong defeater. It’s not possible that there  

Is a God because there’s evil in the world, and  my response is, well, wait a minute. Maybe so. And   this, by the way, I step out a little step by step  in The Story of Reality. So, anybody wants to go  

There, they can see the chapter where I deal with  this. It’s not tricky, but it has some steps to it. This is why it makes a little bit more difficult  when you’re having a conversation with somebody. Somebody’s even listening to this saying, “Well, I  can’t remember all that stuff that he just said.”

Well, that’s true, I can understand that. But if you  don’t know why the problem of evil is not a good   argument against God, but a good argument for  God, then it’s going to be hard for you to make  

That point. And that, I think, is the most powerful  point that can be made from the problem of evil. This helps us. Evil is on our side, in that sense, because if there were no God, there would be no   evil at all…Because there’d be no  lawmaker. It’s just molecules clashing in the  

Universe. Okay, so then, what is wrong? Says  who? Your grandma? Kind of thing. So sometimes   I get to the point in a little different  way. What’s the alternative? So, somebody says, “Well, there can’t be any God, there’s evil in  the world.” Really? There’s real evil? What do  

You mean by evil? So, I would just want them  to emphasize that, okay? So, if there is no God, how can there be evil? What do you mean? Well,  there’s no lawmaker. There would be no law, alright?

Notice, those are questions, and I’m trying to  lead to make this point, or what’s the alternative? Well, the alternative is there is no God, okay?  Let’s say there is no God then, right? So, what makes  

Anything evil? You just complained about the problem  of evil. There must be evil in the world, right? So   what do you make of evil now that God doesn’t  exist? How do you get traction to even complain  

About evil in the world? You can’t. And I make  this point again in The Story of Reality because   people think that they somehow solve  the problem of evil by getting God out of the  

Equation. And what I point out is, okay, now you got  God out of the equation, okay? Now you’re an atheist. Yeah. Okay, that’s our view now. Right. How do you  solve the problem of evil? What do you mean? Well,  

You got God out of the picture. You didn’t get  rid of evil. You still got all the things that you used to call evil. They still are existing, and you  still probably consider them evil, okay? Now, solve  

The problem. The point I’m making is, atheism can  give you no traction to even make sense out of   evil to begin with. And if somebody wants to say, well, okay, then evil is just an illusion of   evolution or something. Really? Wait, just a  few moments ago, you’re saying it’s so real  

That it disqualifies the existence of God, and now you want to say it’s an illusion? See, our answer makes sense of all the  facts. We don’t have to play games like that. The world is broken. That’s why there’s evil in the  world. Broken means it ain’t the way it’s supposed  

To be. It started out one way, and now it’s a  different way. So these are all— and we broke   it. And so, we’re responsible. Some people haven’t  thought about it this way, Amy, but our whole story  

Is about the problem of evil. It starts in the  third chapter, it doesn’t get solved till 66   books later. If there was no problem of evil, we’d have no story. We’d have no Christianity. So in a certain sense, we could say  that evil is quite at home in our view.

It’s central to our story, and our story is not over yet. But it has no place in an atheistic worldview. It  does not make any sense whatsoever in an atheistic   worldview. Now, people can get that notion in  their mind, and I do walk through fairly carefully  

Not only The Story of Reality, but in the last  couple chapters of the book on Relativism that   Dr. Beckwith and I wrote called, “Relativism: Feet  Firmly Planted in Mid-Air” and lots of things we’ve  

Done on the air here, and lots of things we have on  the internet makes the same point. If there is no   God, there is no morality. But there is a morality, since the problem of evil, therefore, there is a  

God. That’s your basic modus tollens argument  for God. Moral argument for the existence of God.

#Respond #Problem #Evil

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