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The Problem of Evil & the Fullness of God's Attributes

The Problem of Evil & Suffering was the topic of this months Men's Group at Kaleo Church.  I encourage you to visit David's site, as he put the study up and it an excellent work on the subject (philosophically, theologically & pastorally). 

One observation: David quotes a professor at Oxford by the name of John Mackie. Mackie states, "If God exists, there couldn’t be evil unless he would have a reason for justifying his permitting it."  And Mackie assumes God couldn't have a reason to justify this.  This reminded me how evil is necessary for us to understand God. Since we are created in God's image and are not like the angels, we have been created for a different purpose.  It is only through evil we are able to see God's mercy, grace, righteousness, justness, love, compassion, etc.  In light of eternity, we would not truly comprehend the fullness of God if we didn't go through this season.  (Now I say this knowing this is not the comment I'd give to someone experiencing suffering.  And the article clearly states it is wrong to deal with the problem of evil and suffering purely academically.  It must always be done with the heart of a pastor.)

Read the article, it begins:

Q-How can an all-powerful and all-good God allow evil and suffering in His world?

INTRODUCTION

This question has a long history. It is a question that is not asked in academia alone, but increasingly the man on the street is aware of this problem and is either seeking an answer out of genuine curiosity, or is using this problem as a way to bolster their reasoning for disbelief in the Christian God.

As we come to this problem and attempt to consider whether or not a solution is possible, let’s do so from a couple of different perspectives. Since this is as much a personal problem as it is a professional academic one, we should strive to understand how to handle this question from both angles.

We need to think of this problem at the level of the philosopher as well as a Christian or counselor. For me to give you tips and hints to disarm someone from a philosophical perspective without addressing this issue as a pastor or counselor who is seeking to reach the person is not only damaging, but has no warrant Scripturally.

Continue reading: Problem of Evil & Suffering

6 Comments

  1. thank you for highlighting this post. I’ve found it difficult to reason with people about the problem of evil, especially when they come from difficult circumstance or have experienced great tragedy. Rather than reason I often find myself admiting that I don’t really know or understand and I usually focus instead on the hope and comfort that is in Christ. Again, great read and thank you. – nabiy

  2. Thanks for the post and link- quite an entry by David for sure. I don’t know if I would phrase it “evil is necessary for us to understand God.” Here’s what I think (and this is different because I’m thinking about evil as necessary to understanding good… perhaps it’s different and you can let me know).
    – Good (and God) is necessary for us to understand evil.
    – Evil should not be necessary for us to understand good (and God). A couple of things I think of: 1) heaven, eternal glorification- evil will not be there, and my understanding of God and good will be perfect, 2) the Garden before the Fall- I think Adam and Even understood God without knowing evil, 3) the necessity of evil for good seems more Taoist; evil will then is necessarily eternal if it is bound inherently with the definition of understanding God.

  3. Yucan, I’m still thinking this through but let me reply to your thoughts. (1) Evil doesn’t need to be eternal. Heaven will be after sin/evil is removed by Jesus. We will have already experienced a life on earth that included sin and the fall. (2) In the Garden, I wouldn’t say Adam/Eve understood God. I’d say they were known by Him. But God knew that sin would enter the equation, so the fullness of Him being expressed would be demonstrated for our joy and His glory. (3) I’d still say that God chose to allow evil and part of that plan helps us see the fullness of God’s characteristics. I imagine God could have done it another way (so it’s not necessary) but He chose to do is this way so that we may experience this.

  4. I don’t know if evil is necessary to understanding God but God did in fact have a reason and plan for evil to enter the world. I’m not sure he’s revealed his reasons to us.

  5. Andre – Agreed, we cannot be completely sure what God’s plan is.

  6. Keep up this great resource. best greetings!

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