Summary: This message is an attempt to answer some of the honest questions people have about how if God is good , then why is there so much suffering.
God, If He Is Good Why Is There So Much Bad?
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” - Isaiah 55:8,9
What are the following verses saying?
Today's conversation is huge! God: if He is so good why is there so much bad. This conversation is built around several statements, statements that will hopefully begin to point us towards understanding this issue a little better.
A Few Statements
1. Okay here is the basic problem – ‘How do we Reconcile the truth that God is all Powerful, all knowing and Good with the existence of Evil and suffering in the world.’
“Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot and does want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, and does not want to, he is wicked. But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how comes evil in the world?” - Epicurus, philosopher
“A loving God could not be the author of the horrors we have been describing – horrors that continue every day, have continued since time began, and will continue as long as life exists. It is an inconceivable tale of suffering and death, and because the tale is fact – is, in truth, the history of the world – it is obvious that there cannot be a loving God.” - Charles Templeton
“The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith, and has been in every generation. It’s distribution and degree appear to be entirely random and therefore unfair. Sensitive spirits ask if it can possibly be reconciled with God’s justice and love. – John Stott (The Cross of Christ)
• A good God would destroy evil
• An all powerful God could destroy evil
• Evil is not destroyed
• Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and powerful God.
At this point it will be good for us to define what we mean by evil.
• Evil acts (murder, rape)
• Evil people (Manson, Dahmer, Hussein)
• Evil events (earthquakes, hurricanes)
• Evil sicknesses (cancer, blindness)
What makes something evil?
If there is no God is there evil? (if there is no God where do we get the standard of goodness by which we judge evil as evil)
Does evil exist?
The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!"
"God created everything? The professor asked. "Yes sir", the student replied.
The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil". The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.
Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?"
"Of course", replied the professor.
The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"
"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.
The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."
The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"
The professor responded, "Of course it does."
The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."
Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"