The Problem of Evil – Part 1

A few months ago I wrote a short review of Norman Geisler’s book “If God, Why Evil?”. I received a comment on my post from an atheist who had hoped for more of an answer to why evil. I did answer back and had planned to explore this topic a bit further but had not gotten back to it. Then my alarm work me up early Friday morning July 20, 2012 to the news that people had been killed at a midnight showing of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” and once again we see evil raise its ugly head.

The problem of evil is usually directed from unbelievers to believers in a question which takes the form of , if God is all good and all powerful why is there evil? If He is all good He would banish evil and if He is all powerful He could rid the world of evil. Since evil exists, God must be either not all good or not all powerful or both.  Evil is usually thought of a problem for theists only. What gets left out is that the atheist, the humanist and the Darwinist also have to come up with a solution to the problem of evil.

That evil exists does not seem to be an issue. Regardless of your belief system almost everyone recognizes that evil exists in the world. We may quibble about what is and is not evil but almost everyone will eventually call some act or person evil. Abortion is one example where the Christian would call it evil but others call it a right. Still in most instances we can agree that specific acts are evil. The mass murders by the Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot come to mind. So the existence of evil is not generally in question, just why it exists.

I need first to define my term, what is evil? It is a hard word to pin down, in some ways it is like the Supreme Courts definition of pornography, we know it when we see it. Webster’s online dictionary defines evil as morally reprehensible, sinful, wicked, an evil impulse or arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct. I think the problem with defining evil is that evil is not a thing but a lack or corruption of something. Just as darkness is the absence of light so evil is the corruption of what is good and moral. We cannot know something is evil without first knowing what is good and moral. Only then can we, by comparison, call something, some action or someone evil.

Next time I will look how the problem of evil is presented to Christians and the Christian answer to the problem of evil. To my readers, this will of course not be an exhausted look at the problem of evil. Books have been written on this subject and by people more learned and intelligent than me. My hope is to whet the appetite, answer a few questions and hopefully cause you to explore the topic on your own.

Have a blessed day,


About dwwork

The name of this blog is taken from 1 Peter 3:13 - “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This verse became special to me over ten years ago when I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on Christian apologetics. This interest grew over the years to the point that I took some graduate level classes in apologetics. I think the best way to be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks is to know scripture. It is my hope that through these short devotionals the reader will become more familiar with each verse. I have tried when possible to make them personal hoping in some small way to show that God’s word written over two thousand years ago is still relevant today. In the writing of these short devotionals I have been able to better understand how God’s word impacts my life. It is my hope that you too will come closer to our Lord Jesus and develop a closer relationship with Him. Finally, if the reader finds anything in conflict with scripture please let me know. God’s word is the final authority always overrules anything I might write. David
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Comentary, Evil and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Problem of Evil – Part 1

  1. John Paine says:

    Evil is the opposite of goodness, just as there is God and the opposite of God. If we take the time to puzzle it out, evil is a logical (albeit heartbreaking) juxtaposition permitted by a loving God who–for whatever reasons–values our sincere love (just as he sincerely proved his love for us). God could have made us loving robots, but instead he offers us free will. Some will freely love God in return, and others not. We are all capable of evil. Or goodness. To blame God for the existence of evil and to reject him because we don’t think there is an adequate explanation is an arrogant position, and one that fails to acknowledge all the good that God offers us. He proved it by sacrificing Jesus Christ in a world full of evil. How we respond makes all the difference.

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