Problem Of Evil - Allows For Love
Problem of Evil: The Philosophical Challenge
The "Problem of Evil" is a philosophical stumbling block for many people. Empirical evidence for creation, and therefore a Creator, is overwhelming. Atheists have tried unsuccessfully to identify a mechanism by which the world could have made itself. 20th century science has proved with certainty that the world is not eternal -- the universe had a beginning. The only feasible option to explain the origin of the universe (space, time, matter, energy, natural law, etc.) is a Transcendent Creator. DNA is a compelling example of the incredible design that permeates all life - the digital code that organizes organic material into complex organisms. The invisible language convention that interprets the DNA code is another dramatic evidence for an Intelligent Designer. It is here that an atheist, confronted with the evidence against random evolutionary theory, attacks Special Creation on philosophical grounds. One of the primary questions atheists pose is, "If God is real, and God created everything, why did He create evil?"
Problem of Evil: God, Man, Love and Evil
To properly address the Problem of Evil, one must consider the nature of God, the nature of man, the nature of love, and the nature of evil. Not all theists believe in a God of Love. However, Christians (the majority of the world's theistic population) do believe in a God of Love. In fact, the Bible declares that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8). The Bible describes Love as "joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self control, against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23). Love is further described as "selfless" in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. According to the Bible, man possesses the attribute of freewill, for "...they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighted in their abominations... but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not" (Isaiah 66:3-4). Evil is described as sin, which is anything contrary to a God of Love and His Divine Law. "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness and sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). The Law is to "… love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). "You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, all is summed up in this saying, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does not do harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law" (Romans 13:9,10).
Problem of Evil: Necessary for Love
Here's the Problem of Evil in a nutshell: "Why did a personal, loving God create a world in which evil exists?" "Why did God give man freedom to commit evil acts?" Atheists reason, "Surely an all-knowing God of Love would not allow evil to exist in His world." The response to the foregoing is summed up in God's nature - Love - and His desire for mankind - Love. Look at the logic: How could God allow for Love without the potential for evil? God could have created robots that do nothing more than forever say, "I love you, I love you, I love you." But such creatures would be incapable of a real love relationship. The Bible says God desires a real love relationship with His creation: "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (I John 3:18). Love is not real unless one has the ability to not love. If one were able to choose not to love God, but chose instead to love God, that would allow for a real love relationship with God. One of God's attributes is omniscience. God knew that in a world with choice, there would be much evil -- to choose not to love is evil by definition. However, there would also be the capacity for real love. Philosopher Alvin Plantinga writes, "An all loving, all powerful, all knowing Being could permit as much evil as He pleased without forfeiting His claim to being all loving, so long as for every evil state of affairs He permits there is an accompanying greater good" (God, Freedom and Evil). The potential for love out weighs the existence of evil, especially if evil can only exist for a time. Evil is a side effect of love. Suffering and death are a side effect of evil (Romans 5:12). God says in His Bible that this side effect is only for a time. Evil serves the limited purpose of establishing real love relationships between creation and the Creator, and evil will be done away with after that purpose is achieved. "And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:17).
Problem of Evil: A Temporal Concern
The Problem of Evil permeates all things in this current wicked world. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). The Bible says that every man has exercised the ability to sin (a testimony to the existence of man's free will), "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Obviously, God did not eliminate man's ability to sin. In doing so, He would be eliminating man's ability to truly love, and a God of Love would do no such thing. Instead, God allows sin for a time and allows for our redemption from that sin. God is a God of both perfect love and perfect justice. Therefore, He could not simply allow man to sin, without calling for ultimate retribution. That would be unjust -- a crime without punishment. However, God, in His perfect love, provided perfect justice by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. It was not nails that held Christ to the cross -- it was Love. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10). Why did a God of Love allow evil? Because He is a God of True Love!
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