THINK ABOUT THIS: How Can There Be Evil If God Is Good?

How can there be a good god with all of the horrendous evil that exists in this world? That’s an objection that is frequently heard whenever conversation takes a serious turn.

Cross-examined.org’s Dr. Frank Turek.

Cross-examined.org’s Dr. Frank Turek was asked this question during a recent presentation. His answer connected some key factors that are usually considered not merely unrelated but complete opposites.

“The existence of evil does not disprove the existence of God, it actually proves it,” explains Turek. “Why? Because evil is a lack of the good thing, but evil doesn’t exist unless good exists and good doesn’t exist unless God exists.”

In fact, Turek said, “evil doesn’t disprove there is a god. Evil may prove there is a devil out there, but evil can’t disprove God because there would be no such thing as evil unless there is good and there would no such thing as good unless God exists.”

Turek goes on to quote the famous point of C.S. Lewis about having a shadow requires there to be a sun. No sun means no shadow. There can be a sun and no shadow but not the other way around.

The harder question to answer is “why would God allow so much evil to continue to exist?” Turek’s answer will perhaps raise a lot of eyebrows. Check it out:

———————————————————–

Here on HillFaith for the first time?

Go to the homepage and check out some of the recent posts. And if that makes you curious about how such an unusual blog came about, take a look at “About Hill Faith. Been There. Done That. Let’s Talk.” You might even want to know “What Time Is Purple” and how to get a free copy of a remarkable little book.

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here: https://hillfaith.blog/about-hillfaith-2/

One thought on “THINK ABOUT THIS: How Can There Be Evil If God Is Good?”

  1. Sachi was having lunch in the hospital cafeteria with her mentor, Nurse Kurosawa. “Ma’am, please tell me, why does God allow evil? I don’t understand it.”

    Kurosawa put down her sandwich. “Hmm, you know that’s a fair question,” Kurosawa tapped her chin in thought, “Let me think for a moment how to answer that for you.”

    Sachi waited patiently while Kurosawa looked down while thinking. Then she looked up again. “Hmm, all right. Tell me, Sachi, I have a question for you.”

    “Yes?”

    “Tell me, can God make a stone that is so heavy that He cannot lift it?”

    Sachi was confused. “Huh? That is something a child would ask.”

    “Yes, but how would you answer that question if you were God?”

    “I wouldn’t. It’s a silly question.”

    “But why is it a silly question?”

    “Well, it just is. It’s just.. a bogus question, that’s all.”

    “You mean the question is invalid.”

    “Yes, exactly.”

    “But why is it invalid?”

    “Uhm..” She thought some more. “Because it just is.”

    Kurosawa smiled. “Sachi, the proper response is to say that the question is invalid because it is ill-posed. The question is based on the assumption that God would ever desire to do something against His own will. The question stumbles on the double-meaning of the word ‘can’. It conflates its two definitions: to allow (you may) and to want (desire to).”

    “You mean kind of like the question, ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ ”

    “Well, I suppose, sort of. But that question makes a different bogus assumption, that the person had been beating his wife, and the only question was to determine when he had stopped beating her. It’s a cheap rhetorical trick.”

    “I see.”

    “So getting back to the original question.. now tell me, what do you think of your question now, ‘Why does God allow evil?'”

    Sachi thought a bit. “Hmm. I think what you are saying is that it is like the rock that God cannot lift, right? The question itself is ill-posed. Invalid.”

    “Yes. But why is it ill-posed?”

    Sachi thought some more. “It is because the question stumbles over the meaning of the word ‘allow’, just like the first question question does over the word ‘can’.”

    “You are correct. The question conflates the meaning that word, to permit (you may) versus to want (desire to). Now, in this case the second meaning is a bit more subtle than the rock question, because it turns on an implicit implication that God can do anything He desires, and so therefore He ought to be able to prevent evil and yet He does not.”

    “I see. So in other words, what you are saying is that God permits evil to exist, but He does not desire it. But then please tell me, ma’am, why did God create evil in the first place if He does not want it?”

    “You are asking me why did God create evil?”

    “Uh, yes.”

    Kurosawa looked a bit disappointed, for she saw that Sachi had just asked another ill-posed question without realizing it. She felt that Sachi should have been able to answer it herself. Kurosawa thought a moment about how to best explain it as simply as possible.

    Kurosawa took a sheet of paper and turned it upside down, then she took out a ballpoint pen and carefully drew a round line on it. She then handed the piece of paper to Sachi. “What is that?”

    Sachi looked at it on her desk. “You drew a circle.”

    “Yes, a circle. That is my answer to your question.”

    Sachi picked up the piece of paper and looked at it more closely. “This is a riddle.” She tried the understand the point that Kurosawa was trying to make. Eventually she gave up. She had no idea what Kurosawa was driving at.

    Kurosawa explained, “The answer to my little riddle, dear girl, is the circle itself. Its existence. Did God create that? I don’t mean this particular one, I mean the idea, the concept, of a circle.”

    Sachi thought. “Uhm, well, not ‘create’ as such, no. The idea of a circle exists independently of any creator. It would exist even if there was no God at all.”

    “Right. A circle exists intrinsically. It has always been ‘created’, so to speak, not by God per se, but by the fundamental rules of basic mathematics. These basic laws exist independently of any creator. A circle is the natural result of constructing the set of all points on the Euclidean plane that are at a given distance r from a given point. The end result is always a circle.”

    “I see. So what you are implying is that evil works the same way, yes? That evil is the result of some deeper, more fundamental, rules.”

    “Am I? Keep going.”

    “And, uh, and so..” Sachi furrowed her brow. “.. and so there might be rules that are so deep that they are intrinsic to how everything works, right? So the ‘circle of evil’, so to speak, is intrinsic. It is intrinsic not in the sense of God creating our particular universe or world, but in how any such universe by necessity must operate. At least any interesting one. And so to prevent a circle from being created, Euclid could have stopped with simply a one-dimensional geometry instead of a three-dimensional one, say, a number line, like the ones we studied in elementary school. That would prevent anyone from creating an ‘evil circle’. But such a geometry would be incredibly boring and uninteresting.”

    Kurosawa’s eyes twinkled. “Very good, Sachi. You just said something profound.”

    “Uh, I did?”

    Then Kurosawa appeared to change the subject. “Tell me, Sachi, why do predators exist?”

    That thew Sachi off a bit. She wasn’t sure where Kurosawa was going with her new question. She thought some more. “Uhm, predators exist because they are a fundamental part of how life works..?”

    Kurosawa beamed at her, “Very good! Yes, predators do seem to be everywhere. Even amoebas are predators. Organisms would have never progressed beyond the level of pre-eukaryotic cells otherwise. Mitochondria would have never been captured, for example, and that is a necessary prerequisite to form cells that contain a distinct nucleus with internal organelles, without which life would have been incredibly dull and uninteresting. And so we have predators.”

    Sachi said, “And so.. on a human level it’s the same thing, right? It’s a fundamental side effect of our having free will. If humans could never prey on other humans, if evil was not possible, then we would lose all of our free will, our freedom to make moral choices. And the freedom to make those choices is important to Him, yes? It part of what makes us precious in His eyes..”

    “Yes. A forced confession is useless, empty. Meaningless. Worse than useless, actually.”

    “Of course. Otherwise we would be nothing more than dolls, robots.”

    “Which is why free will is fundamental. But tell me, Sachi, why not just simply outlaw all evil acts? Why not just create, say, some kind of worldwide police force that would always intervene as soon as we tried to do anything wrong?”

    “Uhm.. because then there would just be resentment added as well. The desire for rebellion would be universal, and be quite justified to boot.”

    “Okay. But now we are back to square one.”

    Sachi sighed, “Ugh. I never realized how tricky it is..”

    Kurosawa smiled at her indulgently. “You’re catching on. And yet we know that God’s solution is elegant, that His creation is amazing and majestic. I mean, just look out the window at it all, at all of the wonderful and beautiful scenery that you see, all of it was constructed from just a few basic physical rules and forces that are actually quite simple to understand.”

    “And it is the same with us at the human level, right? That there are just a few basic rules of behavior? God has established those basic principles, like free will, which are needed in order for us to choose to love Him of our own volition. And so evil was also permitted, but not as flaw or defect, but rather as a necessary side effect of our ability to make choices.”

    “Yes. I think C.S. Lewis said it best. ‘Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they’ve got to be free.’ ”

    She went on. “When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Good and Evil, it gave them the awareness of the ability to make moral choices, which they then could make of their own free will.”

    Sachi leaned forward. “But ma’am, didn’t they already have free will before the Fall? And if so, why couldn’t they do evil acts before then?”

    “They did have it, but they were also in perfect communion with God, so having evil thoughts didn’t even occur to them. They didn’t sin because it just wasn’t even conceivable. Afterwards it was.”

    “But why not just have both? Why can’t we have perfect communion with Him and the awareness to make moral choices, all at the same time?”

    “Well, you can either have the knowledge and ability to make moral choices – and face the consequences – or you can have direct contact with God, and with it immortality, and never stray because it never even enters your mind. You cannot have both. Once the option is open you are going to slip up. It’s inevitable, and then communion with Him becomes impossible. Well, that is, at least not until you introduce some kind of reconciliation mechanism.”

    “You mean Christ.”

    “Yes.”

    “So, evil is basically the inevitable byproduct of our having free will combined with our ability to make moral choices.”

    “More or less.”

    Like

Comments are closed.