What are some of the objections raised to the question of evil, and how can they be answered
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|If God exists, why is there evil in the world? What is evil? Where did evil come from? Why doesn’t God intervene and stop all evil? How can physical evils such as earthquakes, tornadoes and cancer be explained? Is there a good reason for the existence of hell on which even some atheists would agree? What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 8, Cat. No. EVL
Keywords: Free Choice, Objections, Freedom
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Let’s finish up these and then we’ll take some of the objections that people bring up to the very things we’re talking about. Some physical suffering may be used by God as a warning about moral evils. In other words, it’s a warning itself. Give me an example.
- Geisler: A warning pain is an example. Here’s a physical pain that’s warning you to avoid a greater physical pain. There might be a physical pain that’s warning you to avoid a greater moral pain where God might send some physical calamity, as He did in the Bible often, to warn people of greater judgment that’s going to come if you don’t repent.
- Ankerberg: Some evil may be permitted as a condition of a greater moral perfection. We don’t like that one but it’s a real truth, a real true point.
- Geisler: Tribulation works patience. There’s no way to get to the Promised Land without going through the wilderness.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. You watch Monday Night Football. The athletes will tell you that, right?
- Geisler: “No pain, no gain.”
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Some physical evil occurs because higher forms live on lower ones. What does that mean?
- Geisler: The early bird gets the worm and the early worm gets eaten.
- Ankerberg: But that doesn’t seem like, in one sense it’s true; in another sense, it’s just fair. What are you actually saying is behind that?
- Geisler: Well, you know, hey, even the vegetarians who want us not to eat any meat have to eat plants. Something has got to die that we can live. We live in a physical world where we have to take in energy. So, the higher forms are going to live off the lower forms. It’s for the greater good of the whole system that higher forms can live off of lower forms. So, then what we call an evil to the lower form is part of picture of a greater good.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Now, what we’re talking about is, God has thought this whole thing through and for the good of freedom, has come up with a “package,” if you want, that has certain dangers with it. And let’s take some of the objections to what we just brought out and let’s answer them. Some people say, “Okay, if God is all loving and God is all powerful, alright, with some of these things that are happening, shoot! God could miraculously intervene and stop the lightning from coming out of the sky, stopping the tornado and the hurricane, stopping your kid from falling off the cliff. He could miraculously intervene.” Why doesn’t God just kind of do this on a 50/50 basis?
- Geisler: Because He can’t do what’s contradictory. If He stopped the lightning, He would also be stopping the creation of nitric acid. Because as the lightning goes through the oxygen and the nitrogen, it combines into NO3 which is liquid fertilizer, and did you ever notice how your grass grows better after a thunder storm? So, there are all of these things in the balance of nature. It’s very easy for us as a finite being to criticize the plan, but my answer to the atheist is, “You try and make a better world. You design for me a world with all of its infinite intricacy that is better than this one. Design a better body than a human body where all of the things have to be taken into consideration to make it work.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, I find science, which we hold in such high esteem, is based on the regularity of natural law and what they’re advocating is, “Listen, God, intervene, do miraculous acts.” You could just wipe out science at that point.
- Geisler: Sure. If you, let’s say, suspended the law of gravity in order to save someone miraculously from falling off a cliff, and then everybody in the world who is drinking water, the water went up their nose and choked them all and they died of choking – you see the incredible amount of consequences that come once you start disrupting. Furthermore, if you disrupt nature regularly, then it’s no longer a miracle because what happens regularly is a natural law. You have to have a natural law as a basis for miracles. God does do miracles, but He does them only occasionally and rarely because if they were done more regularly, one, we wouldn’t learn anything from our actions because they would always be miraculously intercepted; two, it wouldn’t be a backdrop for the type of physical world in which we live, which is a necessary moral proving ground; and three, it wouldn’t be possible for the truly miraculously to happen because that has to be a rare event.
- Ankerberg: Not only that, but then you’d have to have another God on top of God because God would be caught in moral dilemmas in trying to choose who gets a miracle and who doesn’t.
- Geisler: Yeah.
- Ankerberg: Explain that one.
- Geisler: Well, it’s the same thing we’re always doing. You know, the farmers pray for rain while we’re praying for no rain for a picnic – which, God can’t do both. It’s got to either rain or not rain. So, since God can’t do what is contradictory, since it’s a moral proving ground, since a moral pain is a moral lesson to achieve His ultimate moral goal, if you consider all those factors, this is the best kind of world to produce the best world.