March 15, 2011

God And Evil Pt 5 - Why The Presence Of Evil Is Not Really A Defeater For The Existence of God

We have reached the end of our journey talking about God and evil. And in this short time we have covered a fair amount of ground. We took seriously the challenge of Epicurus when he said, ''Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?'

We talked about the source of evil. We considered whether human free will and God omniscience are incompatible. We looked at reasons for why God lets evil happen. And just the other day we mussed over why God just doesn't put a stop to evil once and for all

So what does that leave us with? Today we are going to turn the tables, so to speak. I would like to suggest that the existence of evil does not disprove God's existence as Epicurus and many others assert. Instead I think the evil is a hint that there is a God.
We have been arguing against the claim that says, if evil is real God cannot exist. Allow me to suggest the opposite. If evil is real, God must exist.

Now I am no historian, but what I know of world history would lead me to believe that all of the problems we are facing now, all the injustices, all the wrongs, all the hurts, all the hardships are the same we have always faced. Yes some societies were more just than others. But no society has ever obtained the level of justice we all know ought to be in place. 

It doesn't seem to matter what system of government we have, nor how many or how few laws we have. Communism, Democracies, Monarchies, Totalitarian regimes all have failed to live up to our expectations. Every toppled leader, every reformed state, every new deceleration of justice inevitably falters. Russian communism and the French revolution are good examples of this. After long and bloody battles what could the masses really say but; 'meet the new boss same as the old boss'.

So if there was no true, completely just society where is this desire coming from? If this is the only world we have ever known why have we not all simply accepted that human life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short?

I think that this quest for justice, this recognition that there is in fact real evil in the world hints that there is a God. Good and evil, just and unjust are just words without God; they are just empty ideals. But we don't treat them as such. We treat them as real things. Things to either avoid or to strive for. That is the backbone of all human rights claims We believe that simply by existing humans have any number of rights.

Let me suggest that our belief in evil and justice is an echo of a memory. That somewhere buried deep in the heart of humanity we know that there is something out there rightly called good. Something that sets the standard to which all else is measured by.

Now when I say we know it, it is the same kind of 'knowing' as it is 'seeing' something out of the corner of our eye. Or it is like remembering a dream we had. We are sure we saw something, but to describing it is almost impossible. We know we had the dream, and we're left with the feeling that it was important, but for the life of us we can't remember why.

We know that evil ought not to be left unchallenged. We know that we should try to build a just world. But we are not really sure why. It is hard to explain, we just know we ought to.

We are sure we remember dreaming of a world without evil. That we caught a glimpse out of the corner of our eye, a place of real justice. I think we have. Even though sin has affect our world, and evil is everywhere we 'remember', the way God had planned the world to be. We can almost feel it in our bones. We have seen a just world without evil.

The author of that justice, and the one who has supplied out outrage against evil is God.

Like I said this is not a rock solid proof. It is easy to explain away our feelings out outrage at evil. Some attempt to do so with evolutionarily theory and bio-chemistry. However if evil is real, justice must be real. For justice to be real, goodness must be real. For goodness to be real it must exist outside of humanity; we cannot be the source of goodness. The source of goodness must be God.

Evil does not disprove the existence of God. It gives us a reason to believe that there is a God out there.

Well Said


  1. You said "We know that evil ought not to be left unchallenged. We know that we should try to build a just world. But we are not really sure why. It is hard to explain, we just know we ought to."
    A just world will never be built by us in this age, never. A new heaven and a new earth will be where true justice will prevail because there will be no sin. We are to help build the body of Christ by witnessing and tell the world of what Christ has done. This world will never be pleasing to God no matter how hard we try. Romans 1 says what God thinks of us and yes, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, but by the grace of God go I in Romans 1. God is pleased with us as believers but not the world as a whole.

  2. You're right a completely just world will not be achieved prior to Christ's return. It is impossible because sin while defeated has not been fully vanquished.

    However we are called to act as Christ acted. He preached the word, and he healed the afflicted. How can we do otherwise?

  3. Yes, we preach the Word and it brings comfort to the afflicted and salvation to the lost. There is no greater healing than when a person is saved. How can we do otherwise.