The Problem of Evil: Response
From a comment on a post:
Well,what if God wanted to show his great power by letting evil exist? God, with infinite power, could destroy all the evil in the world but how much would that do for him. Wouldn’t there need to be a contrast from good to evil for either to be recognized? that’s how we can tell black from white, heat from cold, or light from darkness. If everything was one extreme we wouldn’t know there to be a difference.
In the article it also says something about God doing small things to not interfere with free will. God being the epitome of good does your life,or anybody else’s life, never have anything good in it have you heard every lie about you, lies going unheard, has a wanted man on the street never been recognized, has an assassination ever occurred that has eliminated a bad person? Ergo, i think he does do things like that…
For God not being infinitely loving. Is God not loving because he provided a way out of sin/evil through Jesus? is god not as loving to while in life the ability to go to him for protection? So, yes bad things happen but one he gives a way through it and two he allows an escape from it.
Yes, i am stating what i know from the Bible and logic. I am expecting you to say i got it from the Bible anyways and that the Bible can not be proven true or it’s wrong…etc. So your statements are wrong… I hope not. How many times has the Bible been proven true… Tell me when it hasn’t don’t tell me to say when it has. Stories of when it has been proven false are always more interesting. So my understanding is not on faith entirely it’s on the faith of the foundation of knowledge i have learned not anywhere close to the “you just gotta have faith” slogan…
You ask what destroying all the evil in the world would do for God. If God, being all good, considers his own benefit to be more important than eliminating evil where possible (as you seem to imply), then I need to hear more about what it means to say that God is “good.” In my mind, a good being does not allow evil to exist purely for reasons of self interest. It’s a bit rude of me to bring this up, but it sounds a little like you are arguing that God wants us to give us all Stockholm syndrome.
Your next point is that evil must exist so that we can recognize good. However, moral evil can exist as a concept whether or not it exists as a fact. For example, the concept of a global holocaust exists even though no such thing has ever occurred.
In terms of natural evils, you can certainly argue that great disasters help us appreciate God’s blessings. But if God is allowing or causing disasters to help glorify himself or highlight his goodness, then we once again need to talk about what “good” means.
Could it be that God does indeed do things that avert evils but do not interfere with free will? Sure. But if that’s the case, he’s missed some enormous opportunities.
You ask, “Is God not loving because he provided a way out of sin/evil through Jesus?” It sounds like you might have meant this sarcastically, but let’s take a look at it. If you’re a Protestant, then you believe that God created a system in which the only way people can avoid being eternally punished is by accepting as true something for which a great many people either haven’t heard of or cannot be convinced of because the evidence is so lacking. If you’re a Catholic, you don’t consider explicit belief in Jesus to be necessary, but think that people can avoid punishment by living a good life, in which case God could have set up the world so that salvation was possible through works without the whole resurrection business. In either case, “a way out through Jesus” sounds more like a hoop God wants people to jump through than either a logical necessity or something a loving creator would come up with.
Looking at it from another angle, I might argue that the possibility of salvation is irrelevant — God does not appear to be loving because he allows the possibility of eternal punishment in the first place.
You continue, saying, “So, yes bad things happen but one he gives a way through it and two he allows an escape from it.” At best, when really bad things happen, God allows a way through for the survivors. For those killed in a natural disaster or murdered by an evil person, it doesn’t sound like there’s much of an opportunity for escape.
I haven’t mentioned the Bible, so I think I’m avoiding dismissing you in the way you feared I would.
You ask where the Bible has been wrong. That’s a big topic, but in a nutshell it’s going to come down to what you mean when you say the Bible is true. It clearly isn’t literally correct (as the first chapter in Genesis demonstrates), and it’s not “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” as the varying descriptions of the same events in the Gospels show. Are you talking about prophecy? How about these:
- Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) reads: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Christians often cite this as a prophecy about Jesus that came true because Jesus was pierced on the cross. But at what point was he crushed? It looks to me like the first part of the text was picked as a prophecy because it “came true,” rather than because it was obviously a prophecy about Jesus, and the second part is not considered a prophecy because it didn’t come true. I think it is more reasonable to say that this is either a failed (or partially fulfilled) prophecy or not a prophecy at all. In either case, the Bible is either wrong or can be so loosely interpreted that you could find a way to argue that it was right even if it was wrong.
- According to Judaism, the messiah is supposed to establish a permanent temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 37:26-28), return all the Jews to Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6), create one world-spanning religion (Zechariah 14:9), and bring global peace (Isaiah 2:4). Most Christians I have spoken to about this say that Jesus is going to do those things when he comes back again. But isn’t it rather unfortunate that Jesus, if he was the messiah, didn’t do any of these huge things that were fairly clearly prophesied in scripture, but instead fulfilled dozens of small prophecies (such as riding into Jerusalem on two animals at once) that were “hidden” in the scriptures?