Pastor Bob O'Bannon

The Problem of Evil

Return to Main Page

The problem of evil:

1. If God is all powerful, He would be able to prevent all evil.

2. If God is all good, He would desire to prevent all evil.

3. Evil exists.

4. Therefore, there is not an all powerful and all good God.

And yet, the Bible presents God as all powerful and all good ! So, does the God of the Bible actually exist?

Since evil exists, we must conclude He has the power and doesn't care - - or - - He has the concern, but not the power to do anything about it....

If you've experienced pain or unexplained loss of life of friends or family - - you've probably asked these questions like - does God care? does he have the power to do anything about the evil that took place? - - and if so, for God's sake, DO SOMETHING !

Genesis 3 is clear that God does not tempt Eve - - and the book of James supports that God cannot tempt anyone....

Satan's first attack was to put doubt about the Word of God in Eve's heart - -

Genesis 3:1 - 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

Satan then insights pride that Eve could take God's placeinto Eve's heart:

Genesis 3:2-4 - 2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it (note - God did not say this, this is resentment that caused Eve to add this...), or you will die.' " 4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

This is the beginning of sin in the world............... All born after Eve have been born in original sin....

The origin of evil is one of the great mysteries of life! All the great theologians agree to this statement......

Genesis 3 is like a newspaper account of what happened in the Garden, but it doesn't explain why all this happens!

The real question is this - - Is God worthy of your trust as you walk thru the fires of life???

Un-biblical answers to the problem of evil:

1. Evil is an illusion - - Buddhism and Christian Science teach this awful teaching..... Genesis 3 is a historical account of what happened in history - it's not a fable.....Jesus and Paul both refer to Adam and Eve as real people......

2. The Divine Weakness defense - - Harold Kushner's book - When Bad Things Happen to Good People - in it Kushner states, God cannot do anything about the evil in the world - - He'd love to - - He just doesn't have the power to do anything about it....This is unbiblical - -

Isaiah 46:11 - 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.

Jesus said there is nothing impossible with God!

This theodicy creates a number of problems - - If God is too weak to overcome evil, then he's probably to weak to answer your prayers, to forgive your sins, and, at the end of history to overcome sin! This is a bad theodicy!

3. Free Will defense - Adam and Eve's choice was freely made without God's control or plan - - - and therefore God cannot be held accountable for the evil that came about as a result - - and therefore, God is still good! The problem is - - when evil comes up in Scripture - the free will defense is never used - -

Romans 9:10-18 - 10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Paul doesn't use the free will defense here ! Paul refers to God's sovereignty (v15-16 above) -- it doesn't depend on man's free will - - it depends only on God's sovereignty!!

Proverbs 16:9 - 9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Biblical answers to the problem of evil:

The Book of Job doesn't provide answers to the problem of evil - God concludes "I'm God and you're not - you Trust me..."

1. The Greater Good Defense - God has a good reason for the evil that's woven into the fabric of humanity:

Genesis 50:20 - 20 - You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Romans 8:28 - 28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Another is all of our lives experiences - - many will say "I wouldn't have chosen this difficult situation, but I wouldn't trade it for anything because what I now have."

Billy Graham - "comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has."

Very rarely is Godly character formed without pain, trials and affliction.

Spurgeon - "The worse thing that can happen to any of us is to have a path that's made too smooth. One of the greatest blessings the Lord ever gave us was a cross."

2. The promise of future glory - the promise of Scripture is Romans 8:18:

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

It's saying that every horrible thing that has happened to us will not only be undone one day but will somehow make the glory we experience even greater as a result of the difficulty...

3. The cross of Christ -

Genesis 3:15 -

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

It's the first promise of the coming of Christ - - and the whole time the people of God waited for its fulfillment....In Romans 3:25-26:

25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Christ has been risen from the dead - - He's all powerful! He crushed the head of the serpent - He's overcome evil! We've never seen greater power than that!

Is He all good? God is the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus! That is all good!

The real issue is not why is there evil?

The real issue is how could a Holy God crush His own Son, who was without sin, to forgive the evil in my heart? That is the mystery and the truth of the Gospel....

The Jews waited a long time to see Genesis 3:15 fulfilled - - a long time - - and now we must wait for Christ to return - to make sense to all the issues we are looking to be solved......

God is worthy of our trust - He fulfilled the promise of Genesis 3:15 by the cross - - and He will return again as promised in Scripture!

And when He returns - - We will be so glorified in God we may not care about the answer anymore - - it will be like a drop in the ocean compared to the ocean of God's grace for us that we will experience for all of eternity!

Return to Main Page