Summary: Are we able to defend the faith taught in the Scriptures when a non-believer challenges us on the hard issues? What do we say, how do we respond when asked why the Lord allows evil and the resulting suffering?
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him. For the LORD is your life …”
In the most recent email from the Voice of the Martyrs
Pastor under house arrest in Cuba (evil in the world)
Two Christian converts from islam jailed - whereabouts unknown
(evil in the world)
In the news
Two teachers killed by students this past week (evil in the world)
There are an average of 45 murders each day in the US (reported)
(evil in the world)
Sexual assault happens every 2 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year just in the US (evil in the world)
Abortions - based on an average there was a counter I was watching at 11 AM in the morning, here’s what it was showing:
1,529 abortions in the US so far that day
50,997 abortions in the world so far that day
Based on statistics provided by doctors who kill unborn children for profit (evil in the world)
Evil is everywhere
Evil - what is it?
The dictionary says that evil is an adjective:
- Morally wrong or bad, immoral, wicked
i.e. Evil deeds; an evil life
It is also a noun:
- that which is evil; evil quality, intention, or conduct: to choose the lesser of two evils
- the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin
Evil exists - why?
Sometimes the statement is made: “If God created everything and evil is a thing then God created evil.”
That makes sense doesn’t it? The only problem is that one of the two premises on which the conclusion is based is wrong.
Evil is not a thing.
Have you ever eaten a donut hole? Not the thing that they call donut holes but the hole that is in the center of a donut. Actually, the hole does not exist. It has no being, not existence. It is merely the absence of the donut dough. Once the donut material has been eaten the hole ceases to exist.
There is no place where they manufacture donut holes to put into the center of donuts.
The same goes for shadows. A shadow has no existence on its own. You never see a shadow on the ground and think, “Some guy took off and forgot his shadow.” A shadow is merely the absence of light caused by something blocking the light source.
The same thing goes for evil. God created the world good.
Entirely good except for mankind and mankind was very good.
God created a universe with creatures who are morally free. In creation as we know it the only creatures on earth that are morally free are humans.
When something is done that is out of character with the nature of God it is an evil act producing an absence of God’s goodness in that person’s life that hole is called evil.
It’s not a physical hole like the hole in the donut but it introduces an action that has an effect on the goodness of God’s creation.
Summary: God is good. God’s creation is entirely good. God gave us free moral will. Using that free moral will against the known will of God is sin. Sin is evil.
The opposite of evil is righteousness.
The goodness of God is never diminished. Evil is the absence of goodness or righteousness in the world caused by sin or disobedience.
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Why do we need to know what evil is or isn’t?
As we engage with those who need Christ as their Savior they will ask us questions, they will challenges us and our beliefs and we need to have answers.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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 …”
What value is there in evil? None … but … evil has effects …
Evil crushes the spirit.
“The wages of sin is death …”
“… you are slaves to sin, which leads to death …”