There are a number of ways to answer the problem of evil. There is a rational defense of it and I’m capable of that. However, I think the reason the problem of evil hits us so hard is that it’s so real to us in our daily lives. Why do I write this today? Because today, I visited a friend in the hospital who’d been in a head-on collision. He’s going to be bed-ridden due to broken ankles until August and the other guy is dead. What do you say when they ask “Why did God allow this to happen?”
<> I don’t doubt this guy’s a Christian. He’s a great one. Yet we can all ask the question and understand why. I think it’s the proximity of it all that gets to us as well. Imagine a loved one dies that you’re close to and you go to God and you say “Why did X die?” “Well, several people die every day and you don’t say anything.” “Yeah, but why this one?”
<> You feel that pain to a degree of how close that person is to you. Every case of suffering pretty much, you’ve heard about before, but then you know someone who’s going through it and it suddenly takes on new meaning. Suddenly, you are wondering why this person of all people.
I think some things that are important is to remember the incarnation and resurrection. God in Christ lived among us and lived this wicked world for us. He did die that death for us and he did rise again. If that’s so, then naturalism is defeated and Christianity is true. If so, then the problem of evil does have an answer.
Secondly, we have to trust God. If God is omniscient and omnibenevolent and knows the beginning from the end, then we can be assured that he has a good reason for why he allows things to happen. It’s important to realize that we don’t have to know that reason and we probably won’t.
Thirdly, where else are we to go? To whom shall we go Lord? You have the words of eternal life? If you reject Christianity for evil, where else are you gonna go? Naturalism? What can that offer? That is a worldview that cannot even define evil let alone give an answer for it.
Finally, we need to be good friends to those in need and realize that God does not give us just a rational answer. He gives us himself. When the person comes suffering at first, they need a friend more than they need a philosopher. I’ve told several of my friends that if they’re in ministry and a young mother comes whose child was killed in a car accident and they want to know why, you do not become a philosopher or a theologian there. Instead, you be a minister, a counselor, a friend, etc. They need a shoulder to cry on. Later on, they might want an apologist. Now, they don’t need one.
And let’s not forget the worst evil of all. We usually think of evil as in death or injury or financial loss. What about the evil you bring upon yourself? What about the wickedness of your soul? Are you doing anything about that? You who complain about the Problem of Evil? Are you being the Problem of Evil? Are you seeking to justify yourself or are you willingly receiving justification from God?
<> More importantly, are we?