Apologetics

Answering Objections about the Problem of Evil & Suffering (Part 4)

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A Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil & Suffering

The Christian answer to the problem of evil and suffering begins with God himself. When we have a proper view of God, the apparent problems begin to melt away.

God’s Nature

First, God is the standard for his actions—whatever he does defines concepts of justice, goodness, love, and mercy. Too many times the supposed problem of the justice of God begins when we mistakenly believe that there is some standard of justice that stands above God and to which God’s actions must conform. Such a view reflects the philosophy of the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. In reality, however, God is ultimate and his character sets the standard for what justice is. We can’t do all that God does, because of our limited knowledge and creatureliness, but God can do as he pleases and whatever he does is just.

Second, some people believe that God needs to justify certain actions recorded in Scripture. However, Scripture makes it clear that God does not need to defend his actions to us. He does not defend himself for giving Adam a wife who led him into sin (Gen. 3:12), or when he tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22), or when Job wants answers for his apparent unjust suffering (Job 23:1-7; 31:35ff; 40:4-42:6). God is the sovereign Almighty Lord who does what he pleases (Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Eccl. 8:3) and owes no one an explanation (Rom. 9:19-21).

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Answering Objections about the Problem of Evil & Suffering (Part 3)

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Non-Christian Answers to the Problem of Evil & Suffering

Several other attempts have been made to address evil and suffering in our world.

1. Non-Reality of Evil View

Some Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, deny that evil and suffering are any more than an illusion. By denying that evil and suffering are real, they attempt to avoid any dilemma between the deities in charge of the world and the way the world is. The problem for this view, however, is that the experience of suffering is universal and undeniable. Additionally, these same Eastern religions seek to end oppression and alleviate the very suffering that they deny exists. This is clearly self-refuting.

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Answering Objections about the Problem of Evil & Suffering (Part 2)

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The Problem Stated

Those who see an irreconcilable conflict between an all-powerful, all-loving God and evil and suffering in the world do so with several arguments. Some ask the thought-provoking question, “Couldn’t God have made a world in which evil and suffering don’t exist?” This is a troubling question, because the answer is certainly, “Yes.” As we will see later, this doesn’t mean that God is unjust, but this question does have a strong emotional impact.

Others argue, “I would never hurt my children needlessly, so why does God? If God is not even better than me, why should I worship Him?” This is an argument by analogy. By comparing human parenting to the Creator God’s relation to the world, these people use a well-known experience to evaluate a deeply spiritual and philosophical problem. Certainly, a parent-child relationship ought to be marked by gentleness, kindness, and protection from harm. If God cannot even live up to basic human expectations, how can He be worshiped?

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Answering Objections about the Problem of Evil & Suffering (Part 1)

One of the most difficult objections to the Christian faith to answer is the question of how there can be a good, loving, powerful God when there is so much evil and suffering in the world. The challenge with this objection is that unbelievers borrow Christian views of the brokenness of the world and deep, human depravity, while simultaneously rejecting the God who tells us how those things came to be and acted so that these two things would be overcome. The sense of justice and desire for mercy and restoration that so many unbelievers long for shows that intuitively we know the world is not as it should be. Only Christianity can provide an answer for these deep questions that keep so many from believing.

In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan is asking his brother Alyosha how he can believe in a good God when he has seen and heard of so much suffering in 19th century Russia. The description of human suffering is realistic and should cause us grief just to read it.

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The Internal Evidence of the Fourth Gospel

(About this series)

CHAPTER II - THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL

BY CANON G. OSBORNE TROOP, M. A., MONTREAL, CANADA

The whole Bible is stamped with the Divine “Hall-Mark”; but the Gospel according to St. John is primes inter pares. Through it, as through a transparency, we gaze entranced into the very holy of holies, where shines in unearthly glory “the great vision of the face of Christ”. Yet man’s perversity has made it the “storm center” of New Testament criticism, doubtless for the very reason that it bears such unwavering testimony both to the deity of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to His perfect humanity. The Christ of the Fourth Gospel is no unhistoric, idealized vision of the later, dreaming church, but is, as it practically claims to be, the picture drawn by “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, an eye-witness of the blood and water that flowed from His pierced side. These may appear to be mere unsupported statements, and as such will at once be dismissed by a scientific reader. Nevertheless the appeal of this article is to the instinct of the “one flock” of the “one Shepherd”. “They know His voice” … “a stranger will they not follow.”

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