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If God, Why Evil? Virginia Tech Copyright Norman L. Geisler 2010.

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1 If God, Why Evil? Virginia Tech Copyright Norman L. Geisler 2010

2 A Former Atheist on Evil My argument was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust. A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too…. (MC, 45).

3 The Painful Logic 1. We cant know something is ultimately in-just (not-just), unless we know what is ultimately just.

4 The Painful Logic 1. We cant know something is ultimately in-just (not-just), unless we know what is ultimately just. 2. But an ultimate standard of justice implies there is a God, since--

5 The Painful Logic 1. We cant know something is ultimately in-just (not-just), unless we know what is ultimately just. 2. But an ultimate standard of justice implies there is a God, since-- –a. There cannot be a ultimate moral law, unless-- –b. There is an Ultimate Moral Law Giver (=God).

6 The Painful Logic 1. We cant know something is ultimately in-just (not-just), unless we know what is ultimately just. 2. But an ultimate standard of justice implies there is a God, since-- –a. There cannot be a ultimate moral law, unless-- –b. There is an Ultimate Moral Law Giver (=God). In brief, this argument against God turn out to be an argument for God.

7 The Problem for Theism God is All-Good--and opposes evil. God is All-Knowing--and foreknew evil. God is All-Powerful--and can defeat evil. Why then did He permit it?

8 Outline I. The Nature of Evil II. The Origin of Evil III. The Persistence of Evil IV. The Purpose of Evil

9 I. The Nature of Evil A. The Problem:

10 1. God created all things.

11 I. The Nature of Evil A. The Problem: 1. God created all things. 2. Evil is something.

12 I. The Nature of Evil A. The Problem: 1. God created all things. 2. Evil is something. 3. Therefore, God created evil.

13 I. The Nature of Evil B. The Response: 1. Evil is not a thing. 2. Evil is a corruption of a good thing.

14

15 Evil is like rust to a car

16 Evil is like moth holes in cloth

17 I. The Nature of Evil A. The Problem B. The Response: 1. God created only good things. 2. Evil is not a thing. 3. So, God did not create evil.

18 Outline I. The Nature of Evil II. The Origin of Evil

19 The Problem: A. God is absolutely perfect. B. God cannot create anything imperfect. C. And a perfect creature cannot do evil. D. Therefore, evil cannot arise in such a world. E. But evil did arise in this world. F. Hence, either A or B (or both) are false. God is not perfect, and/or-- God did not create a perfect creature.

20 II. The Origin of Evil The Response: A. God is absolutely perfect. B. God cannot created anything imperfect. C. And a perfect creature cannot do evil. This premise is false. Hence, the conclusion does not follow.

21 II. The Origin of Evil A. How a perfect creatures can do evil 1. God created only good things. 2. One good thing God created was free will. 3. Free will makes evil possible, since-- a. It is the power to do otherwise. b. But to do otherwise than good is evil. 4. Hence, a perfect free creature can do evil. Note: God made evil possible (via free will = good) But free creatures made evil actual.

22 Problem 1: How can one will evil when there is no evil to will? Response: Evil arose when: 1. A good creature; 2. With the good power of free will; 3. Willed the finite good of the creature; 4. Over the infinite good of the Creator. Note: No evil need exist in order to will evil; Willing a lesser good can be an evil.

23 Problem 2: Who Caused Lucifer to Sin? Response: No one else caused him to do it; Lucifer was the cause of his own sin. A free act is a self-caused action. 1. It cant be caused by another--or else they would be responsible for it. 2. Nor can it be uncaused--since every event has a cause. 3. Hence, it must be self-cause (i.e., caused by my self).

24 Outline I. The Nature of Evil II. The Origin of Evil III. The Persistence of Evil

25 The Problem: A. If God is all good, He would defeat evil. B. If God is all powerful, He could defeat evil. C. But Evil is not defeated. D. Therefore, no such God exists.

26 III. The Persistence of Evil The Response: A. If God is all good, He would defeat evil. B. If God is all powerful, He could defeat evil. C. But Evil is not yet defeated. D. Therefore, no such God exists. Note: This conclusion does not follow, since-- Evil might yet be defeated in the future.

27 III. The Persistence of Evil The New Problem: A. If God is all good, He would defeat evil. B. If God is all powerful, He could defeat evil. C. But Evil never will be defeated. D. Therefore, no such God exists. Note: There is no way for the objector to know this--unless he is God (I.e.,all-knowing).

28 III. The Persistence of Evil The Response: A. If God is all good, He would defeat evil. B. If God is all powerful, He could defeat evil. C. But Evil is not yet defeated. D. Therefore, evil will one day be defeated! The nature of a theistic God guarantees it! He is all powerful and can do it. He is all good and wants to do it. Hence, He will do it.

29 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil. Because:

30 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil. Because: –A. He cant destroy all evil without destroying all freedom.

31 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil. Because: –A. He cant destroy all evil without destroying all freedom. 1. But freedom is a good that God has willed.

32 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil. Because: –A. He cant destroy all evil without destroying all freedom. 1. But freedom is a good that God has willed. 2. Hence, God cant destroy all evil without destroying the good He has willed.

33 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil. Because: –A. He cant destroy all evil without destroying all freedom. 1. But freedom is a good that God has willed. 2. Hence, God cant destroy all evil without destroying the good He has willed. –B. This would also destroy all good.

34 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil. Because: –A. He cant destroy all evil without destroying all freedom. 1. But freedom is a good that God has willed. 2. Hence, God cant destroy all evil without destroying the good He has willed. –B. This would also destroy all good. 1. Destroying the ability to hate God also destroys the ability to love God.

35 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil. Because: –A. He cant destroy all evil without destroying all freedom. 1. But freedom is a good that God has willed. 2. Hence, God cant destroy all evil without destroying the good He has willed. –B. This would also destroy all good. 1. Destroying the ability to hate God also destroys the ability to love God. 2. Destroying the ability to hate also destroys the ability to love.

36 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil

37 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil II. Why God Can Defeat All Evil. Because:

38 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil II. Why God Can Defeat All Evil. Because: –A. He allows everyone to freely choose their destiny (So freedom is preserved). –B. He defeats evil by: 1. Separating good from evil forever (Mt. 25:31-41).

39 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil II. Why God Can Defeat All Evil. Because: –A. He allows everyone to freely choose their destiny (So freedom is preserved). –B. He defeats evil by: 1. Separating good from evil forever (Mt. 25:31-41). 2. By quarantining evil forever (in Hell).

40 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil II. Why God Can Defeat All Evil. Because: –A. He allows everyone to freely choose their destiny (So freedom is preserved). –B. He defeats evil by: 1. Separating good from evil forever (Mt. 25:31-41). 2. By quarantining evil forever (in Hell). 3. By Punishing evil (in Hell) and rewarding good (in Heaven).

41 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil II. Why God Can Defeat All Evil. Because: –A. He allows everyone to freely choose their destiny (So freedom is preserved). –B. He defeats evil by: 1. Separating good from evil forever (Mt. 25:31-41). 2. By quarantining evil forever (in Hell). 3. By Punishing evil and rewarding good (in Heaven). 4. By defeating death and Satan:

42 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil II. Why God Can Defeat All Evil. Because: –A. He allows everyone to freely choose their destiny (So freedom is preserved). –B. He defeats evil by: 1. Separating good from evil forever (Mt. 25:31-41). 2. By quarantining evil forever (in Hell). 3. By Punishing evil and rewarding good (in Heaven). 4. By defeating death and Satan: –a. Officially at Christs First Coming (Col. 2:14-15)

43 Why Doesnt God Intervene and Stop All Evil? I.Why God Cant Destroy All Evil II. Why God Can Defeat All Evil. Because: –A. He allows everyone to freely choose their destiny (So freedom is preserved). –B. He defeats evil by: 1. Separating good from evil forever (Mt. 25:31-41). 2. By quarantining evil forever (in Hell). 3. By Punishing evil and rewarding good (in Heaven). 4. By defeating death and Satan: –a. Officially at Christs First Coming (Col. 2:14-15) –b. Actually at Christs Second Coming (Rev. 19-22)

44 The Official Defeat of Evil

45 Col. 2:14-15--Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Heb. 2:14-15--Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

46 The Actual Defeat of Evil Rev. 19:11--And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteous- ness he does judge and make war…. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Rev. 21:1-4--

47 The Actual Defeat of Evil Rev. 21:1-4--And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea…. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

48 The Actual Defeat of Evil I never said it would be easy…. I only said it would be worth it.

49 Outline I. The Nature of Evil II. The Origin of Evil III. The Persistence of Evil IV. The Purpose of Evil

50 The Problem: A. An all-good God must have a good purpose for everything. B. But there is no good purpose for some suffering (e.g., useless or innocent suffering) C. Hence, there cannot be an all-good God. Note: There is either a finite god or no God.

51 IV. The Purpose of Evil Response: 1) Just because we dont know a good purpose for evil does not mean there isnone.

52 IV. The Purpose of Evil Response: 1) Just because we dont know a good purpose for evil does not mean there isnone. 2) An all-good, all-knowing God knows a good purpose for everything (including evil). a. Some evil seems to us to have no good purpose..

53 IV. The Purpose of Evil Response: 1) Just because we dont know a good purpose for evil does not mean there isnone. 2) An all-good, all-knowing God knows a good purpose for everything (including evil). a. Some evil seems to us to have no good purpose. b. But an all-good God has a good purpose for everything.

54 IV. The Purpose of Evil Response: 1) Just because we dont know a good purpose for evil does not mean there isnone. 2) An all-good, all-knowing God knows a good purpose for everything (including evil). a. Some evil seems to us to have no good purpose. b. But an all-good God has a good purpose for everything. c. So, even evil that seems to us to have no good purpose, does have a good purpose.

55 Why We Dont Know a Good Purpose for All Evil 1) We do not know all things. 2) We do not know the end of all things. 3) But an all-knowing God knows both, so-- The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but to us and to our children the things that are revealed (Deut. 29:29). His ways are unsearchable and His judgments past finding out (Rom. 11:33).

56 Paul Harvey: The Rest of the Story I do not believe that the Divine Architect of the universe ever builds a staircase that leads to nowhere( A y oung man dying of cancer)

57 What We Do Know About Suffering 1. Some pain has a good purpose (e.g., warning pains).

58 What We Do Know About Suffering 1. Some pain has a good purpose (e.g., warning pains). – A tooth ache

59 What We Do Know About Suffering 1. Some pain has a good purpose (e.g., warning pains). – A tooth ache – A pain in the chest

60 What We Do Know About Suffering 1. Some pain has a good purpose (e.g., warning pains). – A tooth ache – A pain in the chest – A pain in the lower right side

61 What We Do Know About Suffering 1. Some pain has a good purpose (e.g., warning pains). – A tooth ache – A pain in the chest – A pain in the lower right side 2. We learn more through pain than pleasure:

62 What We Do Know About Suffering 1. Some pain has a good purpose (e.g., warning pains). – A tooth ache – A pain in the chest – A pain in the lower right side 2. We learn more through pain than pleasure: –Few enduring lessons are learned through pleasure

63 What We Do Know About Suffering 1. Some pain has a good purpose (e.g., warning pains). – A tooth ache – A pain in the chest – A pain in the lower right side 2. We learn more through pain than pleasure: –Few enduring lessons are learned through pleasure. –Most enduring lessons are learned through pain.

64 Pain is Gods Megaphone 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, The Problem of Pain, 81).

65 What God Does Through Allowing Suffering You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Gen. 50:20) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness... (Heb. 21:11). For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2Cor. 4:17).

66 What God Will Do Through Suffering However, –An all-knowing God knows the end of all things.

67 What God Will Do Through Suffering However, –An all-knowing God knows the end of all things. –An all-good God wants to bring all things to a good end.

68 What God Will Do Through Suffering However, –An all-knowing God knows the end of all things. –An all-good God wants to bring all things to a good end. –An all-powerful God can bring all things to a good end.

69 What God Will Do Through Suffering However, –An all-knowing God knows the end of all things. –An all-good God wants to bring all things to a good end. –An all-powerful God can bring all things to a good end. –Therefore, all things (including suffering) will come to a good end.

70 What God Will Do Through Suffering However, –An all-knowing God knows the end of all things. –An all-good God wants to bring all things to a good end. –An all-powerful God can bring all things to a good end. –Therefore, all things (including suffering) will come to a good end. –Note: Only a theistic God guarantees a good end.

71 A Former Atheist on Evil My argument was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust. A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too…. (MC, 45).

72 The Painful Logic 1. We cant know something is ultimately in-just (not-just), unless we know what is ultimately just.

73 The Painful Logic 1. We cant know something is ultimately in-just (not-just), unless we know what is ultimately just. 2. But an ultimate standard of justice implies there is a God, since--

74 The Painful Logic 1. We cant know something is ultimately in-just (not-just), unless we know what is ultimately just. 2. But an ultimate standard of justice implies there is a God, since-- –a. There cannot be a ultimate moral law, unless-- –b. There is an Ultimate Moral Law Giver (=God).

75 The Best Way to the Best World This is not the best world possible (cf. Candide). But it may be the best way to the best world, since: 1) Evil has to be permitted to be defeated. 3) Permitting evil is necessary to producing higher goods. –a) No courage without danger. –b) No patience without tribulation.

76 The Best Way to the Best World This is not the best world possible (cf. Candide). But it may be the best way to the best world, since: 1) Evil has to be permitted to be defeated. 3) Permitting evil is necessary to producing higher goods. –a) No courage without danger. –b) No patience without tribulation. –c) No character without adversity. –d) No pain, no gain..

77 The Best Way to the Best World This is not the best world possible (cf. Candide). But it may be the best way to the best world, since: 1) Evil has to be permitted to be defeated. 3) Permitting evil is necessary to producing higher goods. –a) No courage without danger. –b) No patience without tribulation. –c) No character without adversity. –d) No pain, no gain. –e) No forgiveness without sin.

78 The Best Way to the Best World 1) This is not the best world possible (cf. Candide). 2) And God is the Best Being possible. 3) Now the best Being possible must accomplish the best end possible. 4) But this world is best way to the best world. 5) Therefore, making this world was the best way to achieve the best world possible.

79 Thy Will be Done! Jesus said, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing (Mt. 23:37). C.S. Lewis said, There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, `Thy will be done, and those to whom God says, in the end. `Thy will be done. All that are in Hell, chose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.

80 Satan Said: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven (in Miltons Paradise Lost)

81 Satan Said: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven (in Miltons Paradise Lost) God Said:

82 Satan Said: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven (in Miltons Paradise Lost) God Said: Youve got it!

83 The End

84 If God, Why Evil?


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