PLEASE, help me with the problem of evil

Discussion in 'Answers' started by Unregistered, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. PLEASE, help me with the problem of evil


    I am from Norway (a country in northern Europe), I am from a christian family, and have been raised to believe in the Bible and God. However, in this country there is a large majority of atheists,and lately my discussions with some of my friends has got me to think alot about the existanse of God.

    Recently I watched a TV documentary about Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia. It was about a man who had been tortured in terrible ways during the Pots time in power (for no reason!), and is still crying every day because of his experiences. I asked myself how God could allow this, and started a big thought experience with myself, with the problem of evil in the back of my mind. God is all-powerful, God is all-knowing and God IS goodness.

    So I thought about all the christian arguments that had been made against these problems (from my parents and other things I've heard), but it didn't make sense. I have been told that free will is the solution to the problem to evil, I have also been told that for goodness to exist, evil MUST exist, because it's the opposite.

    My christian belief has always been VERY important to me, but I must admit I'm still not entirely convinced after seeing this documentary. These christian arguments are all dependant on the world we live in. The laws of existance. If God is all-powerful, couldn't he change all the laws of nature and existance? Couldn't he give us free will but without making it possible to do such evil as Pol Pot did, just as he gave us free will without making it possible for us to fly? It is hard for us to imagine, but for God it should be possible! I have been giving this alot of thought, and I really need answers to this question, I hope you can help me.

    I hope my english is understandable enough!
  2. The Problem of Evil

    Hi Petter:

    You have asked an interesting question and a theologian or minister could answer better than me.

    First, I have heard this called the "mystery of evil", so although we can speculate, we cannot be certain to know why there is evil in the world.

    One purpose that I have seen for evil, is that one can think of evil as a mirror to help us discern faults in ourselves. For example, if I see a person who has a life destroyed by some vice such as alcohol or pornography, perhaps I will think twice before opening an inappropriate magazine, or be careful about what I consume.

    Also, God wants us to choose Him freely. If there was no evil, would we have a choice to make?


  3. Petter, your English is just fine.

    As for your question. There are many different answers you will get from many different people.
    My answer would be a simple one.
    If God were to start controlling all the things you mentioned, we would be nothing more than puppets under God’s control. That is absolutely not what God wants. He wants us to make our own choices, even if they are bad. I don’t think anyone knows the absolute correct answer to your question, but I know when all is said and done, and Jesus returns, we will know the answers to many, if not all, of our questions.

    After all… if we knew the answers to all of our questions… it wouldn’t be walking by faith, would it?
    And God wants us to walk by faith, not by sight.

    God bless
  4. praise GOD , HE is powerful, and good...But, as christians we are not promised that we will have a perfect life, far from it for some, and we are to rejoice in the LORD through times of terrible tribulation and trouble, especially when we may be suffering for HIS namesake.
    But, in the end, if we give HIM glory and Praise, we will have an eternal lasting life with HIM in heaven and willl never have trials or trouble again.
  5. Hei Petter.
    Tenkte jeg skulle svare deg paa norsk, siden jeg ikke har gjort det paa fryktelig lenge.. (student i USA)
    Har tenkt masse paa det samme som deg, men som sagt av andre i denne traaden, gud gir folk fri vilje, og noen velger den gale veien, og dette paavirker da gode mennesker. Likevel vil du jo se godheten naar vi blir sendt hjem etter et liv paa jorden.
    Haaper du foler deg bedre.

    Godklem til deg fra meg!
  6. Hello again. Thanks for all your messages! I have realized a few things since last time. I don't know how it is to be a christian in USA, but I think it's quite different here. I come from a very small place far from big cities in Norway, and the way people are about their beliefs here has actually been bothering me a bit lately. There is really no-one willing to talk about or discuss their religion, and hard to find "answers" when needed. It even seems to me they don't think about it at all. People believe in evolution theory 6 days of the week, and creationism in sunday school... The logical questions never really bother them.

    Myself, I have always felt I needed some kind of logical backgound for what I believe in, and ever since I was old enough to start raising questions to myself about religion, I have had quite a few problems with convincing myself. I've figured it's probably time to think things through for myself, and maybe find out what I really believe in. Lately I have been searching in alot of places for an answer to that question I posted a few weeks ago, and I don't really think I can get a satisfying answer from anyone but myself.


    Hei Elise! Takk for det! Har det ikke akkurat så ille generelt sett altså, hehe! :)
  7. The "problem of evil" as it is, is something that troubles many people.

    I prefer to use Leibniz's counter to it:
    • Human evil results when humans use their free will to turn away from God.
    • Evil is the privation, or lack of good, that results from this turning away.
    • Because a lack of something is not something, this evil is not something God created.
    • Human sin is cancelled out by divine retribution.
    • Our view of the world is limited and finite, meaning we are not in a position to judge its overall goodness.
    Now for your question of why couldn't God, being all powerful as He is, give us free will but take out the ability to do evil things:
    That wouldn't be free will is it?
    "Here! I have given you free will to do as you wish! But you can't do that. Or that, or any of these other things here. But other then that sure! you're free."
    Also this is God we're talking about here. All knowing and powerful, He has a plan for the future, and we know that though we can't see how it will play out in the end we know it will ultimatly be the best thing for us. Just because we don't understand why something has to be, doesnt mean that it isn't leading towards a greater good.
    As a child we may not understand why our parents make us do certain things or punish us, but they have our best interests at heart.

    And finally, He didn't give us free will without the ability to fly, we just had to wait a while to discover planes. :)
  8. Evil has been around since the beginning of the world. Adam and Eve had a choice in the Garden of Eden; to be obedient or disobedient. Evil does not go unpunished by God. He sees everything we do, hear everything we say, and knows our thoughts. Yes, he allows us to have free will but it is limited free will. With Sin being rampant in the world now; if God gave men complete free will, there would be a lot of early deaths and I believe that some of those deaths would be people that were predestined to be saved. God knows just how far to allow our free will to go. Evil is present in the world because Satan is busy recruiting. He is the father of (evil). But God has a plan that he implemented since before the foundation of the world. God want a people for himself. A people that would worship and love Him. God wants us to choose him of our own free will, not by any manipulation on his part by controlling our will. These people that God has called unto himself are the Jews and the Gentiles. We are the Gentiles. We were given by the Grace of God the opportunity to accept the free gift of eternal life by his son Jesus and join his family and become joint heirs with him. In order to fulfill this, God allows evil. This is how he separates the goats from the sheep. We know that if we stay in His word and stay in prayer, God will not allow anything that we cannot handle to come our way. Evil cannot touch a child of God unless God gives permission. And when he does gives his permission, and we stay in prayer with Him and allow God to bring us through that season, God turns that evil into a blessing and the Devil is defeated. Now, does evil comes in the life of the believer. Absolutely, God never said we were going to live a peaceful, tranquil, problem free life. We will have evil attacks but we have the word of God to fight back. We will have set backs, we will suffer loss, we will get depressed, and the list goes on. But the difference between a child of God and a non-believer is that God will never allow more to be put on us than we can bear. Second, in the life of a child of God, all persecutions, evil, whatever that is not of God has a start time and an end time. There comes a time when the rain stops and the sun shines again. As long as we as children of God stay prayed up and believe that God has everything under His control, we have no fear of evil nor of the people who performs such acts. Now with the unbeliever, there is no place of rest for them. So, when evil strikes them, it hits them really hard. They don’t know about the love, the patience, the forgiveness of God through his Son Jesus. They do not know the Good News.
    So, God allows evil to sift, cleanse, bring people to a saving knowledge of God, for correction, to bring down the prideful. God also allows evil to show mankind that without Christ we are evil people. We are all born sinful and it is by the blood of Jesus that we have been made whole. Mankind will only destroy each other without God. And they are doing just that. This is why we need Jesus and the children of God already know that we can’t make it without him

    So, yes, God allows evil to a degree but never think God is not in Control. God is in Full Control.

  9. i will give you a bit of advice put the truth of God as number 1,priority.the reason for this,God is not manipulated,humans are.:jesus-sign:
  10. Hi Petter;

    You will not be able to come to grips with this if you attempt to rationalize God in human terms. The reason is that we as human beings cannot see things through Gods eyes, we are not eternal, we do not know the outcomes of events, so many events do not make sense to us.

    The subject you brought up is called "theodicy"...
    1. God is all powerful. (Can do anything.)
    2. God is good. (Would not want suffering.)
    3. Yet suffering exists.

    Any two of these propositions can be easily accepted, but all three, create what we see as a contradiction.
    There was a heretic in the second-century named Marcion who attempted to validate these three realities by saying that God was in fact an evil creator. (That does resolve the supposed contradiction!)

    Some people resolve this conflict by supposing that God is not omnipotent. (All powerful) or that he just doesn't concern Himself with human affairs. (Gnostics.)

    Then there are others who have attempted to resolve this question by believing that deny the existence of suffering at all, claiming that suffering is simply an illusion. (Christian Science).

    While, any of these rationalities will in effect, "solve" the problem raised, they share one thing in common and therefore must be rejected. They all lack clear, biblical evidence to support them. IN addition to that, they also fail to justify God, (which is what "theodicy" means literally anyway.) These explaination attempt to justify "Man" and not God. (Original sin?) :)

    I think St. Augustine was correct. Augustine rejected all of these notions and concluded that all suffering is the result of evil.
    And that the source of "Evil" is not God.
    It was not inherant in His original creation, it did not exist prior to the fall, evil is the result of humanity, and was first introduced by human free will.

    In other words, we need to reject any notions that attempt to disassociate ourselves from suffering by attempting to place the blame on God, and realize that suffering is the direct result of our own sinful nature.
  11. Hi Petter! I hear that statement so often. We are trying to explain what is happening around us with our human brain. How can we think that everything that is happening can be humanly understandable. God has told us:

    Isaiah 55:9
    Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

    How do we learn who God is but by reading the Bible. However, it is by revelation from God that we understand the Bible. I remember reading the Bible before I was saved and I did not understand it. However, once I got saved it was like the Bible was a new Book to me, filled with treasures to be found.

    Look, starting at Job 38, how God is answering to Job after Job's friends are trying to understand why Job (who is depicted as an honest and innocent man, honoring God and staying away from evil) got to be so afflicted.

    How quick we are to tell God how He should act. But who are we to give Him any advise?

    Many times God doesn't make sense to us humans, but we need to stand on His Word and trust that He is in control, even if it doesn't look like it and that He has a purpose and a plan for each one of us even if we feel that He doesn't.

    Galatians 3:11 - Those who are right with God will live by faith." (NCV)
  12. Petter...

    The main thing I understood from your query was that you need to marry what you feel in your heart with logic in your head. I'm with you. But what you need to realise is that belief doesn't require logic. It's very definition defies logic...

    1. trust or confidence: belief in the free market
    2. opinion; conviction: it's my firm belief
    3. a principle, etc., accepted as true, often without proof
    4. religious faith

    Belief does not require proof. Proof only strengthens belief.

    I'm praying that God shows you the truth, so you will be a more SOLID believer.
  13. Thanks again to all of you who are answering me, it's very interesting and helpful to read your views and suggestions. :)

    To be honest, all of these possible answers just make me raise more difficult questions. For example, why do people need to get tested about their faith like this? If it was made impossible in some way not to believe in God, I'm sure life for everyone would be alot more wonderful. He could create a world where no-one would ever want to turn away from him, and where innocent people wouldn't have to go through all this unimaginable suffering like what I mentioned in my first post... It just doesn't seem like the right way to do things no matter how much I try to understand it.

    I realize of course that the best way to deal with this is to believe that God has a long term plan that will make all this make perfect sense, and that I shouldn't try to understand because I will never be able to. But to be honest, I don't think that is an option for me. I "know" that God exists, I am sure I have seen proof of it myself, but I still need rock solid answers for this question somehow, and that seems pretty impossible to produce. This is definately about making the logic in my head conclude with the same things as the feelings in my heart as you said, KitsapGirl. But I'm still not satisfied with shutting the logic out completely and just go with my heart, I'm very sure that wouldn't make me feel less insecure about things at the moment.

  14. The Ways of God

    If I not mistaken, in your first post, you stated that "I am from a christian family, and have been raised to believe in the Bible and God." That is wonderful but you confirmed that your family are christian not yourself. You see, just because your family is Christian does not mean you made that commitment with God through His son Jesus Christ on a personal level. In order to know and understand the ways of God, you must be a child of God through Jesus Christ. I understand that you were raised to believe the Bible and God; but, no one can come to the father but by the Son (Jesus Christ). I also notice that you spoke a lot about your feelings. Well, you can't always go by feelings. The Devil can make you feel insecure, uncertain, doubtful, etc. Feelings are one of the tools the Devil uses. And yes, he uses them with Christians but the difference is we have the word of God to fight back to make him flee. Don't mis-understand what I am saying here. I am not questioning your salvation or the relationship. That is between you and God. What I am saying is if you have not made that decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, that may be the reason for all of your uncertainty. You see, unbelievers do not understand the Bible because they don't understand God's ways. They don't understand His ways because they have not read the Bible and they have no relationship with Him.
    We as Christians do not understand all of God's plans, we don't understand why he does some things, nor do we know why he allows it. But, what we all agree on is that God is our sustainer, our healer, our salvation, our chief Shepherd, our Shalom, our Alpha and Omega, our bread of life, our Chief Cornerstone. He is all of that and more to us. And, because he is all of that to us, we trust him, we have faith in whatever happens; He will see us through it. When Christians have problems and we don't understand why its happening, God says that he will never leave us nor forsaken us. We claim all that the Bible says because of our Faith in God through Jesus. You must remember, God is not obligated to tell us or show us any more than he chooses to. That is why we must have faith. Once you get to the point of not understanding, take it to God in prayer and he will take it from there.

  15. It is also prudent to remember then when we question our faith we are most vulnerable to spiritual attack. During this time I do not doubt you will come across several things that will make it all the much harder to trust God. When that happens it is improtant to take your time, examine things carefully and study His World.

    Lastly it is importent to remember that we are talking about a being that created all of these laws of effect and cause and time, He exists outside of it. And intelligence and understanding of things so far beyond our own that it's impossible to compare the two. When we try to understand Him with our logic and our understanding of the universal laws in place we need to remember that He MADE them out of sheer will. As the creator He is naturally above logic as we know it because He made it, and any attempt to bring Him fully down to our level is impossible. Also, why try to bring Him down to our understanding in the first place? When we feel something is wrong and try to bring Him down to our level to understand Him we are going about it the wrong way. We are trying to make God fit into our understanding, instead we should recognise that, as God, He is the one who is corrent, and if something is not fitting with our logic we need to try and bring ourselves up to His level as close as we can. Accepting the thought that, if God is not fitting into our logic, perhaps what we are assuming to be right and wrong are flawed. Remember, this is a fallen world, decay has set in.
    God said that we should be like Him, not that we should try and make Him like us.

    If what I've said is confusing I'm sorry. My mind tends to wander slightly when trying to think our such replies, and my thought process is rather confusing as well.
  16. God created the Earth and everything in it. He then gave control of the Earth to man, who then gave up that control to the devil/satan. God would love to take the Earth back and make everything perfect again, but He cannot take back what He has already given away. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, they made a choice to believe satan over God. Satan was then able to steal their authority over the Earth from them. Now, when Jesus died on the cross, He took back the Earth from satan, and gave us back our authority. He also gave us the power to conquer the enemy in His name. But we have chosen not to use that power! If Christians would believe what the bible says, and exercise their authority over evil, we would not be seeing so much evil in the world. It is our fault that evil exists, not God's. It is our responsibility to get rid of evil, not God's. God did not create evil, nor does He allow it as some are quick to say. WE ARE THE ONES who allow evil to run rampant in the world by not using the power God gave us to subdue it! The Lord is coming to purge the Earth of evil once and for all, but until He does we are the ones who are supposed to be taking care of things.
  17. Hmm, I'm not talking about a world where no-one had a choice about what to believe, just a world where it was easier to see the truth, where all people would WANT to follow God. In our world today there are a lot of great, kind and generous people who don't see any reason to believe in God. And there are people doing terrible things in the name of God, all thinking they are acting in the right way. Which again makes me wonder about a lot of things... But I understand that I'll probably never be able to see the big picture here, even though that's frustrating.

  18. Petter,

    Let God guide your heart & your Bible, and allow enoughtime for God to speak to you. Talk with God like you're talking to a friend who happens to be right by your side every moment of every day. This is how you build a relationship with Him...

    You probably already know this verse...but here it is anyway because we all need a healthy reminder on occasion...

    Our faith comes from hearing [or reading] the word of when I feel a lack of faith...I try to tremember this, and do a little extra reading...I even have the Bible on CD and listen to it in the car...

    I'll be praying for you.:)
  19. it's actually really easy to see the truth. and the more you seek it (and believe it), the more you will find it and the more it is proven in your life. you can talk to a person and have him follow Jesus Christ in 15 minutes, you can attend a church service and see gold dust in your hands eventually.

    proof of God's existence and His goodness is all around us. yet sadly, sometimes it's us Christians who have a problem, we don't walk daily with a powerful testimony and the light of Jesus shining through us. we don't love people enough, we don't evangelize enough, and sometimes we just don't care about the unsaved that much. "the harvest is many, but the workers are few." God WANTS people to follow Him, but He has only a few people who are willing to work with him.. (it's not because God lacks power to do it Himself, it's because of our lacks)

    the world doesn't need proof (even if it may seem so), it needs CHRISTIAN LOVE

    P.S. You should try to attend a service of Pastor Leif Hetland, who is a Norwegian, and who also happens to be my spiritual grandfather (..just a little boasting in the Lord :D)
  20. The question of evil

    I don't have an answer to your question. We know God is all powerful. I believe when I see Jesus face to face then all will be revealed.

    I do know however that a God who gave his only Son to suffer and die for for the world, knowing that the majority would reject and mock him, and that the sinners who accepted him, could only prevail by the power of His Holy Spirit, then I know that no matter what cruelty and evil prevails, He is a God of Love.

    When I read stories like this, I think on John 3:16.

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