What is evil? And how could a good and all-powerful God allow it to exist? Chuck and Aaron discuss the relationship between moral evil and creational evil; the philosophically unanswerable question of how, if God exists, he could allow suffering; and the Bible’s practical, two-part answer to this question.
From a Christian perspective, evil is broader than just moral violations, it also encompasses all the many things that don’t work according to God’s design. These two are related: Christianity insists that the brokenness of this world has been caused by moral evil. The philosophical problem for Christians and non-Christians alike, is the question, “How could God, if he’s good, allow evil in his world?”
There is no real answer in philosophy to this question. The Bible also doesn’t answer this question in a philosophically satisfactory way. Instead, the Bible gives us tools to grapple with the problem in our lives. Where atheism posits a closed universe, in which suffering and evil are normative and meaningless, Christianity – while not giving a philosophical answer to the problem of evil – asserts that God is determined to bring evil to an end.
The book of Job in the Hebrew Bible tells the story of Job, who undergoes intense amounts of human suffering and explicitly asks the question of where God exists in this evil. At the end of the book of Job God speaks, and he doesn’t tell Job the reasons for his sufferings, but he silences Job by announcing his own eternal sovereignty: God is God and Job isn’t. He has reasons that he does not tell Job, but he does love Job. But the other biblical answer to the problem of evil is that the Christian God is a God who doesn’t stand aloof from his creation, but made himself a human for the express purpose that he could suffer along with us. This, too, doesn’t answer the problem of why evil exists, but it does tell us that God takes it seriously and experiences it right along with us. The problem of evil finds its only real solution at the cross of Jesus.