Summary: The culture uses logic to disprove God. Christians try to defend God using a worldly vision and experience and lose the discussion.
Something is wrong!
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we were going to take a look at a few of the basic troubles with Christianity. We talked about how the culture believes that Christianity and religion in general are exclusive. The religion is the reason for a lack of Peace in this world. The end result of that If Christians are living as described in the Bible we are the non exclusive and open and peace loving religion.
This week’s trouble with Christianity is commonly referred to as “the problem of Evil.”
Said another way, If God is good why is the world so bad?
This is a huge issue to non-religious and even religious alike. The most common logical tool that is used to attack the existence of God is called a syllogism.
A syllogism is a basic set logical statements or arguments pointing to some kind of truth. It is a simple way of staking up simple truth statements to make a logical conclusion.
EX: All men are mortal. Tom is a man, Tom is mortal….
A simple logical statement that points to truth. So the logic to the problem that is used against God is often a little more complex and goes something like this.
It starts with a few assumptions:
God is all-knowing.
God is all-powerful.
God is love. (all loving)
So far I would suspect that we would all agree with the basic assumptions. We have heard them all our lives. We can find references in scripture to support why we believe theses to be true.
We might go as far as to agree with one additional assumption.
Any being that did not possess all three of the above properties would not be the Christian God. All knowing all powerful all loving….
A different set of premises or assumptions: (2): Evil exists.
I think we will agree….
Premise (3): An all-knowing being would be aware of the existence of evil.
Premise (4): An all-powerful being would be able to eliminate evil.
Premise (5): A perfectly loving being would desire to eliminate evil.
Conclusion (6): Evil does not exist. Or at least should not exist!
But something is wrong because…evil does exist.
If Evil exists then there can be no being that is all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly loving.
Ultimately that means The Christian God does not exist.
Wow that sounds logical and convincing.
How can we argue with that?
I would suspect that when we watch natural disasters on the TV news, when a dear loved one has cancer, when a car accident takes the life of a missionary family we are at least in some tiny way making the same logical conclusion or at least struggle over the evidence of natural and human evil in this world and question …where is God? …. Does God care? ….. Why does God let this happen….? How can there be a God if my life is this messed up?
Where we are headed this morning is based on another detail about using logic to come to a conclusion.
Here is a different example: Women have headaches, (True) Tom has headaches, (True)…. Tom is a woman ---(Not so true)
The point is that sometimes the statements of truth, the logical questions that are put together are not specific enough or that they are irrelevant to the argument and the conclusion that is gained will be wrong.
The world’s questions about Evil and suffering may cause them to decide that there is no God.
Believers in a God, even Christians struggle with the reality of Evil, sin, injustice, illness and disasters often lead people to back off of their faith based on sometimes unspoken questions and truths that form conclusions in our minds when something is wrong in our lives.
Let me suggest that in reality, in the event of suffering and evil in our lives does not have to weaken or destroy faith.. In reality, it should have the opposite effect.
But how does that happen….
Peter shows us three ways of dealing with the problem of evil and suffering in our lives.
First is to look back at something, second is to look ahead to something and the third is to look into something.
Our Scripture this morning comes from 1 Peter 1:3-12 (New Living Translation)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.