There is so much evil in the world today! That is a common refrain which is constantly reinforced by the complete coverage of our 24-hour, worldwide news services.
The more we are confronted with evil, the louder the clamoring insistence that there is no God. If you dig deeper than the surface-level protests that the media loves to cover, you find objections to the existence of God that seem to be ironclad. They are not as arousing as a good old protest march. They are usually expressed in the halls of academia, but they are nonetheless persuasive arguments for those who want to live as if the only moral law is society’s current point of view. What are these unassailable arguments against the existence of God? Consider the following syllogism:
If God is all good, He would destroy evil.
If God is all powerful, He could destroy evil.
But evil is not destroyed.
Hence, there is no such God.
Sounds like a solid logical proposition that really cannot be challenged, doesn’t it? But we need to remember that a syllogism is a form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from two given or assumed propositions that share a term with the conclusion and share a term that is not present in the conclusion–and that conclusion may or may not be valid. That’s the important thing to remember!
The argument isn’t as “bulletproof” as it seems. As Geisler and Brooks note in their book, When Skeptics Ask, evil does not disprove the existence of God. Evil is a lack of something that should be in a relationship between good things. God is good, and God made man and saw that man, made in His image, was very good (Gen. 1:31). In making man in His image, God gave man the freedom to make choices. Without that freedom, man would not be in the image of God. Without that freedom, a man would love God and would be incapable of not loving God. Loving God without choice isn’t really love. Therefore, God gave man the freedom that will let man choose to do good but also allow him to not choose good. In that instance, the thing that is lacking in the relationship between God and man is man’s choice to not do good. That’s the source of evil. Here is another syllogism:
God made everything perfect.
One of the perfect things God made was free creatures (man and angels).
Free will is the cause of evil.
Therefore, imperfection (evil) can arise from perfection (man and angels).
Because we have the free will to decide between alternatives, we can choose to do good or evil. That’s why Jesus told the lawyer, “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.” (Mt. 22:37-38). Our choice not to keep His commandments does not prove that He cannot prevent evil and therefore cannot be God. And to assume that because evil exists today that it will always exist, and that therefore it will always be illogical to believe in God, is a faulty assumption. Here is a syllogism that skeptics don’t offer:
If God is all-good, He will defeat evil.
If God is all-powerful, He can defeat evil.
Evil is not yet defeated.
Therefore, God can and will one day defeat evil.
That is exactly what the Bible teaches! That is what our logical hope is based upon. That is why a Christian need not be ashamed of the gospel of God when challenged by those who deny His existence.
(For further studies, see Geisler-Brooks, When Skeptics Ask, pp. 59-64, 1989.)
Keep studying. DC Brown ©2017