Why is there evil and suffering?

Chris —  July 16, 2011

I recently posted about how we consider the reality of evil and suffering.

I mentioned that a  theodicy is “a defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil.” A theodicy speaks to the question, “If God is good and all-powerful, how do we explain the existence of evil.”

In the comments, Dan Phillips pointed to a brief theodicy (explanation of the problem of evil) that he has written.  It is well worth reading.

I recently read what stuck me as yet another cut-and-pasted essay attacking the God of the Bible. It was a fairly representative, boilerplate “Why I Don’t Believe In God: Excuse #47” essay, this one focusing on The Problem Of Evil. (Frequent usage merits the capitalization.)

I do think the existence of evil is a vital, valid and pressing question. I have no problem, to say the least, with someone raising the issue, or even asking how evil can exist, if the God of the Bible is the true and living God. However, if someone hasn’t yet acknowledged that, in his heart, he knows there is a God (cf. Romans 1:18-23), a discussion of theodicy (the defense of God in the face of the existence of evil) probably will be beside the point. If he wants to make himself feel better for “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” by simply cut-and-pasting his line of excuses, I have no help to offer him. “Help” isn’t actually what he wants.

Having said that, of course I again openly acknowledge that the issue of evil has always been a vexing concern. For a believer, it is a tough one (cf. Psalm 73). For a non-Christian, the issue is utterly insoluble. For the Christian, again, it is difficult, trying, even heart-rending — but only the Bible-believing Christian has a final and satisfying answer. I thought I’d use the occasion of the rejected essay to offer a few thoughts (from the Bible, through my own heart — not from the Windows clipboard) toward that end.

The following propositions are in no particular order, at this point:

First: evil only exists if the God of the Bible exists.

Here to read more.

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One response to Why is there evil and suffering?

  1. Epicurus, Greek philosopher, asked this question,
    “Is God willing to prevent evil but not able?
    Then He is impotent.
    Is He able but not willing?
    Then He is malevolent.
    Is He both able and willing?
    Whence then is evil?”