Adam Groza on The Problem of Evil for Atheists

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of BCNN1. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

In his book The Cross of Christ, John Stott said that the “the fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith.”  What is the problem of evil? It is the apparent conflict or contradiction between the existence of evil, suffering, and the existence an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God who is also perfectly good. As the problem goes, such a God would stop evil and suffering, if He existed. Another form of the problem of evil focuses on the amount of evil, suggesting that while God may have good reason for some evil, surely the amount of evil we experience makes it unlikely that the God of Scripture exists.

Why is this argument such a challenge to the Christian faith? For many people, the argument is not about the logical inconsistencies, probability, or deductive logic. For most people, the problem of evil is about a sick child, an experience of abuse, personal exposure to horrific and traumatic evil, or perhaps the hurtful actions of Christian leaders. The problem of evil often boils down to our inability to reconcile our belief in a good and loving God with our experience of sin, suffering, and evil.

There are smart people who have offered lengthy defenses of God against the problem of evil. Such a defense is called a theodicy, and you can check out the free will defense by C.S. Lewis or Alvin Plantinga, or Gordon Clark’s view of sovereign decree.

My point here is to help ministers answer this question by turning the question back on the person who is raising the objection. As Christians, we need to give an account of why evil exists. The good news is that the problem itself makes sense because we know who God is, we know what evil is, and we know why it is a problem. An atheist, however, is raising the problem of evil; but if there is no God, why is evil, evil?

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Adam Groza