Thinking Like A Christian - Defending Your Faith
Session 5: What About Evil?
1) Evil & The Existence Of God
a) Atheistic Argument
i) God is the creator of everything.
ii) Evil is something.
iii) Therefore, God is the author of evil.
i) Is evil really something or is it the absence of something?
ii) Is it possible to deny that evil is a thing of substance without also claiming that evil isn't real?
c) Definition Of Evil
i) "Evil is, in reality, a parasite that cannot exist except as a hole in something that should be solid… Evil is a lack of something that should be there in the relationship between good things." (Text, p. 61)
d) Problem Of The Origin Of Evil?
i) Every creature God made is perfect.
ii) But perfect creatures cannot do what is imperfect.
iii) So, every creature God made cannot do what is imperfect. (p. 61)
i) Is it really true that perfect beings cannot do what is imperfect?
ii) What do we mean when we say that God created everything perfect?
(1) Christian Idea Of Perfection
(2) God made everything perfect.
(3) One of the perfect things God made was free creatures.
(4) Free will is the cause of evil.
(5) So, imperfection (evil) can arise from perfection (not directly, but indirectly through freedom). (P. 62)
2) The Importance Of Moral Freedom
a) The zenith of God's creation was the making of beings (humans and angels) with the freedom to make true choices!
b) God created beings with the capability of freely loving him.
c) Definition Of Free Will?
i) "The ability to decide between alternatives." (p. 63)
ii) "Freedom is not in unlimited options, but in unfettered choice between whatever options there are. As long as the choosing comes from the individual rather than an outside force, the decision is made freely. Free will means the ability to make an unforced decision between two or more alternatives."
d) The Origin Of Evil
i) God created freedom.
ii) God made evil possible.
iii) Humans make free decisions.
iv) Through their wrong choices humans created evil.
i) What made Satan sin?
ii) Why doesn't God stop evil?
f) Atheistic Argument
i) If God is all-good, He would destroy evil.
ii) If God is all-powerful, He could destroy evil.
iii) But evil is not destroyed.
iv) Therefore, there is no God. (p. 63)
g) Christian Response
i) Evil cannot be destroyed without destroying freedom.
ii) God is not finished with His creation.
h) Freedom And Love
i) Love is one of the greatest things that God made possible.
ii) Without freedom love is not possible.
(1) Forced love is the definition of rape.
iii) The only way God can destroy evil is to get rid of freedom, but that would deprive humans of God's greatest gift.
i) What about heaven? Will evil and sin be possible in heaven?
ii) What is the difference between God destroying evil and God defeating evil?
iii) Could this be the reason why hell is eternal?
j) God Is Not Finished
i) Just because God has not yet dealt with evil does not mean that He will never deal with it.
ii) God has given us many promises in His revelation that He will one day defeat evil.
k) Does Evil Serve A Purpose?
i) God may have a purpose for evil without us being aware of it.
ii) Book of Job
iii) We do not have to understand all of the reasons.
iv) Sometimes God uses evil to warn us of greater evil.
(1) Child and a hot stove
(2) Pain is very useful: leprosy (Hansen's disease).
v) Evil Can Result In Good
(1) God can take the evil actions of His creatures and bring about good.
(2) Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers.
(a) Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
(3) Jesus on the cross.
l) Why God Allows Pain
i) "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."— C. S. Lewis
ii) "We need pain so that we are not overcome by the evil that we would choose were it painless." (p. 68)
m) The One Less Argument
i) Sometimes unbelievers argue that there does not need to be as much evil in the world as there is in it.
ii) By using this argument you could eventually get to point where there would be no evil at all.
n) Argument Against Hell
i) The greatest good is to save all men.
ii) Even one person in hell would be less that the greatest good.
iii) Therefore, God cannot send anyone to hell. (p. 68)
3) Christian Response
a) All those who accept Jesus go to heaven and all those who reject Jesus go to hell.
i) John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
ii) Those who reject Jesus send themselves to hell.
b) Jesus does not force anyone to love him, but gives people the freedom to reject him.
i) "People don't go to hell because God sends them; they choose it and God respects their freedom." (p. 68)
ii) "A world in which some men go to hell is not the best of all conceivable worlds, but it may be the best of all achievable worlds if free will is to be maintained." (p. 69).
c) Atheistic Argument
i) God knows everything.
ii) God knew evil would occur when He created the world.
iii) God had other non-evil possibilities. God could have:
(1) Not created anything,
(2) Created a world without free creatures,
(3) Created free creatures that would not sin,
(4) Created free creatures who would sin but would all be saved in the end.
iv) Therefore, God could have created a world that did not include either evil or hell.
d) Christian Response
i) The atheistic argument incorrectly assumes that nothing is better than something.
(1) Genesis 1:10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
(2) Genesis 1:10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
(3) Genesis 1:31 ¶ God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning— the sixth day.
ii) Our textbook argues that this argument makes no sense because it claims that "it would have been morally better for God to have made a non-moral world." (p. 70)
(1) It compares something with nothing and claims that nothing is better.
e) God could have created A world without free creatures.
i) This argument also presents us with a non-moral option.
ii) "There is an insurmountable difference between what has no moral value and what has some moral value." (p. 71)
f) God could have made Free creatures that would not sin.
i) This is possible:
(1) Holy angels
(2) Adam before the fall
(3) Our future home in heaven.
ii) Christian Response
(1) But the only way God could have guarantee that free creatures would not sin would have been to take away their true freedom.
(a) Is the freedom to accept or reject God unlimited?
(b) Will it be possible to reject God once we get to heaven?
g) God could have created free creatures who would sin, but would all be saved in the end.
i) This could only happen if God took away His creatures true freedom.
ii) A free decision cannot be manipulated and it still be free.
iii) Question? Then why did God choose this world?
(1) It is the best way to the best of worlds.
(2) Freedom is preserved.
(3) Evil is ultimately defeated.
(4) "The ultimate goal of a perfect world with free creatures will have been achieved, but the way to get there requires that those who abuse their freedom be cast out." (p. 73)
Text: When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences, Norman Geisler & Ron Brooks
The Apologetics Study Bible, Holman CSB
Charts of Apologetics and Christian Evidences, H. Wayne House
Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Norman Geisler
Christian Theology, Millard J. Erickson
Philosophical Foundation for a Christian Worldview, J.P. Moreland & William Lane Craig
Love God With All Your Mind: The Role of Reason In the Life of the Soul, J.P. Moreland
The Christian Mind, Harry Blamires
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek
Unshakable Foundations, Norman Geisler
Who Made God?, Ravi Zacharias
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