One thing that is often forgotten in the debates on the Problem of Evil is that this is seen as just the Christian’s problem. Now in a sense, I’ll agree it’s a problem. However, it is not just my problem. It is everyone’s problem. The Christian needs an answer, but so does the deist, the Muslim, the Jew, the Hindu and even the atheist.
For instance, let us suppose that we do have an atheistic worldview. The first question to answer is “What is the basis by which one differentiates between good and evil?” I have yet to see such a standard given. Now I realize there are answers given, but they lack validity. It is a form of relativism that cannot really explain the problem of evil as the problem must have an absolute standard.
If moral relativism holds the day though, then there is no such thing as the problem of evil. Things are not good and things are not evil. They simply are. The problem of evil hits us all because we do think there’s something wrong with the world. Something is not the way it ought to be. That immediately hits us though with the idea that the world ought to be a better way.
We could take a pantheistic approach and say that evil is an illusion. Which of us really thinks that though? It is like the joke about the Christian scientist boy who went to his teacher and told him to pray for his Dad who’s sick. The teacher said “You don’t know our teachings well! He only thinks he’s sick! He must remember this is an illusion.” The boy hears that and goes back home. He comes back the next week and the teacher asks him how his Dad is doing. “Oh. He thinks he’s dead.”
Somehow, when we hear about a plane crash or a school shooting, we think that something has happened. When we stub our toe or have a stomach ache, we think we are really feeling pain. When we suffer anxiety due to a bill that’s just arrived or we have depression after the death of a loved one, we think that we are really feeling something.
Or, we could take the Christian answer with the problem of evil and call it what it really is. It’s the problem of sin. With that, we can see evil being actions that are done not in accordance with the nature of God. If this is the case, and I’m quite sure it is, then we can look and see which worldview is it that deals accurately with the nature of sin.
In the end, I believe it will come to the Christian worldview. We have the cross, the ultimate answer. God participates in our sufferings. He takes on our punishment. He sets us free from the prison of sin by paying the price we could not pay. God is not just an outside observer in the drama of evil. He participates in it by taking it upon himself in a way we cannot even fathom.
Yes. There is a problem. I believe Christ is the solution to it. Anyone else thinking they have a better solution can certainly bring it forward, but rest assured, they must have some answer.