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    Christian Theology - Thread: Why Does Evil Exist?

    1. #21
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      5. DOES EVIL HAVE A PURPOSE?
      If God is omnibenevolent, He would have a good purpose for everything (Rom. 8:28). However, as described in the introduction, what good purpose can be found when a father is watching helplessly as a terminal illness takes the life of his young child? Can we conclude that because there seems to be purposeless suffering in the world that God cannot be all good? I would first state that just because we, as limited, finite beings, cannot fathom a purpose for some evil, does not mean none exists. It does not prove God to be malevolent. Instead, it demonstrates our ignorance. Seemingly purposeless evil has been a topic that I have been working to address since early 2014 when my wife was killed as a result of an apparently purposeless evil. Since then, I have found several possibilities to reconcile this issue, and Erickson has outlined many of them. First, suffering as a direct result of divine retribution, such as that mentioned in Isa.45:6-7, is not evil at all. Instead, it is a divine judgment that God uses to correct much like a parent disciplining a child (Heb. 12:6). Second, evil can be a byproduct of good. We see this in nature through food chains. It is good for a lion to eat a zebra for its survival. However, it is not necessarily good from a zebra’s perspective (Erickson 1998, 395). Third, God can redeem evil for good purposes. The story of Joseph is an example of such redemption (Gen 50:20).
      Lastly, evil has the purpose of testing disinterested faith. Gustavo Gutiérrez, in his book On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent, describes disinterested faith as “[believing] in God without looking for rewards and fearing punishments” (Gutiérrez 1987, loc. 271). Job's situation was a test of disinterested faith. Gutiérrez explains, “It is impossible for the satan to deny that Job is a good and devout man. What he questions is rather the disinterestedness of Job’s service of God, his lack of concern for a reward. The satan objects not toJob's works but their motivation" (Gutiérrez 1987, loc. 318).
      I find this concept of disinterested faith most promising. As stated in the wind-up doll analogy, free will is a critical requirement for a meaningful relationship with God to be possible.
      However, taking it further, let's say we had the freedom to choose to love someone who was perfect and without flaw. With nothing preventing us from doing so, loving that person would be inevitable. Not to say that the love would have no meaning. The love shared between the triune God is without flaw, and yet it is meaningful. However, seemingly unavoidable. The same holds true for our love for God. Even with free will, if nothing exists to prevent humanity from loving God, there is no choice!
      The skeptic may argue that if God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, he would have foreseen the existence of evil and would have the desire and capability of preventing it. The skeptic will conclude that because God seemingly failed to anticipate or avoid the existence of evil proves that no such God exists. My response to the argument is simple. In regards to good and evil, free will is merely the ability to make decisions. However, Evil exists to make a choice possible. Therefore, a world void of evil would be a world void of any moral choices. Thus, rendering it inferior.

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      Last edited by meluckycharms; 01-06-2018 at 08:13 PM.

    2. #22
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      6. Conclusion (So What?)
      I first want to clarify that the intent of my paper is not to prove or disprove the existence of God. Instead, it is to provide a logical and rational response to the problems associated with evil that will disarm the skeptic and bring reconciliation between God and the suffering. In the
      introduction, I provided three reasons for the significance of this paper. First, all of the problems associated with evil that has been addressed in this paper have been weaponized by skeptics in a full-frontal assault on the very existence of God. Unfortunately, many skeptics in academia have succeeded in using these arguments to encourage apostasy. Second, the problems are universally felt around the globe regardless of nationality, race, gender, age, or geographical location. Third and most importantly, the problem is not merely academic, but a harsh reality that people face today. Admittedly, this is my motivation for researching this topic, having the tragic experience of losing a wife to a seemingly preventable evil. I believe that faith is essential. However, if I
      depended entirely on an unjustified blind faith, I would not be a Christian today. We are instructed to “take up the shield of faith” to defend ourselves against the “flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Eph. 6:16). However, it is not enough to settle for the paper shield of blind faith. I
      believe that those who remain entirely dependent on an unjustifiable blind faith are leaving themselves vulnerable. God does not desire blind faith (Matt. 22:37). Instead, we ought to have a reasonable and justifiable faith that is grounded in biblical truths (1 Peter 3:15). The reasons for these instructions are clear. Having faith that is reasonably justified is essential to our spiritual protection. Like a warrior forging a shield for battle, I pray that my apologetical attempt to address the problems associated with evil may assist others in forging a strong, justifiable faith,
      lest it withers in the heat of the day (Matt. 13:6,20-21).

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    3. #23
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      7.BIBLIOGRAPHY
      Aquinas, Thomas. n.d. Summa Theologica. Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. London: Burns Oates & Washbourne

      Craig, William. 2008. God Is Not Dead Yet: How Current Philosophers Argue for His Existence. Christianity Today 52, no. 7 (July): 25.

      Erickson, Millard J. 1998. Christian theology. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker.

      Geisler, Norman. 2011. If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think about the Question.
      Minneapolis: Bethany House.

      Gutiérrez, Gustavo. 1987. On Job: God-talk and the Suffering of the Innocent. Maryknoll: Orbis Books. Kindle e-book

      Kreeft, Peter, and Ronald K. Tacelli. 1994. Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.

      Lewis, C. S. and Wayland Moore. 1976. The Screwtape Letters. Special Illustrated ed. Chicago: Lord and King Associates.

      Lewis, C. S. 2001. The Problem of Pain. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco.
      Menn, Stephen. 2002. Descartes and Augustine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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      Layered Causality...
      This then is the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Christian answer to the problem(s) of evil. It is the confession of Jesus Christ, the Divine Author who never himself does evil, but instead conquers all evil by enduring the greatest evil, and thereby delivers all those enslaved and oppressed by evil who put their hope in him.
      Confronting the problems of evil
      https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...blem-s-of-evil

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    12. #28
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      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      Layered Causality...
      This then is the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Christian answer to the problem(s) of evil. It is the confession of Jesus Christ, the Divine Author who never himself does evil, but instead conquers all evil by enduring the greatest evil, and thereby delivers all those enslaved and oppressed by evil who put their hope in him.
      Confronting the problems of evil
      https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...blem-s-of-evil
      It was a good essay. However, I noticed some flaws. It is interesting that the author repeatedly quotes C.S. Lewis. However, C.S. Lewis also stated:

      "C. S. Lewis states, "I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully, ‘All will be saved.' But my reason retorts, ‘Without their will, or with it?' If I say ‘without their will' I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say ‘With their will,’ my reason replies, ‘How if they will not give in?’” (Lewis 2001, 106-7).

      Second, the author mentioned God's "hardening Pharaoh's heart" but failed to mention all the occasions where Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

      Third, you stated:

      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      Jesus Christ, the Divine Author who never himself does evil, but instead conquers all evil by enduring the greatest evil, and thereby delivers all those enslaved and oppressed by evil who put their hope in him.
      This does not fit with the "limited attonement". The "L" in the Calvinist T.U.L.I.P "5 point Calvinism. Because apparently God did not deliver "all those enslaved", only the elect. If limited atonement is not your position, then you must ask why Jesus died to "deliver all those enslaved" and only elect to save a few. Assuming free will does not exist.

      Staying on topic. The essay failed to answer the questions as to the origin of evil, the persistence of evil, and the nature of evil. It only seems to suggest that God is not responsible for evil.

    13. #29
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      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      Your reference stated,

      "I believe the reason why Satan could be created perfect, and yet fall, is that while he was perfect, he was still a creature, not a creator. He was not a deity — he was lower than God. Only God is immutable (1 Samuel*15:29; Malachi*3:6; James*1:17). Thus, Satan could "naturally" degrade without God forcing him to sin or inject him with unbelief. God allowed it to happen for his greater glory, but he did not force it upon Satan or mankind."

      Will we also "naturally degrade" back to sin when we are in heaven?

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      Quote Originally Posted by MennoSota View Post
      I agree with this reference. As I previously stated. "God is responsible for making evil possible. Humanity is responsible for making evil actual."

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