A Reply to Job at Healtheland on the Subject of Evil and Its Relation to God


I thought I might look up an old friend and reader of the site: healtheland.wordpress.com, and read a few posts over there. I am happy to see his site maturing. The work is focusing more on exegesis and I applaud that (unfortunately Obama is still a big category for him and I did not dare look at that). I came across this article:

How the Penn State Case Reveals the Existence of God

I am a sucker for finding God in the most unusual of places and was intrigued by the title enough to skim the article for its argument that the existence of evil actually proves the existence of God (man, would I love someone to actually make that one workable, because then a lot of atheists would have to find a new argument). I posted a response and thought I might place it here as well:

Interesting response. Most commentators for the last 200 years at least have used evil in the reverse sense as the greatest problem for the existence of God. The line of logic would be that Sandusky is evil. If God was really good, really powerful, and really existed then He would have intervened and stopped the action. He didn’t so either He is not really good, really powerful, or does not really exist. As a line of logic it seems rather convincing. I, of course, would argue (as you hinted at) that God has intervened through the person of Son. That the cross of Christ represents Christ’s solidarity with the victims of Sandusky, as well as, his offer of healing to both victim and victimizer. Mix that with classical free will theory and I feel that the question has been answered; perhaps not superbly but answered nonetheless. You have sort of managed to argue that as well and one cannot argue with you on those grounds.

I do, however, have some concerns with the reverse logic, you used (if it had worked I would have loved you for it). You once stated that you enjoyed boiling down arguments to the logical extreme, and that is where pointing from evil to God fails. At it’s extreme it allows for no differentiation between evil and God. One might state that if evil has a positive outcome such as pointing to God; then committing evil cannot be entirely wrong (as it creates some good outcome). Therefore committing an evil act cannot be considered wrong and cannot then be evil. On another level it also implicates God in evil; because it seems to make God a participant in the evil action. Therefore one might question the goodness of God.

I prefer the Biblical account which simply claims that God is the good God who overcomes evil. He is the one that thwarts evil, and instead works good in the life of the believer where the evil one had sought to sow destruction. Evil, then, remains evil; and God remains good. It is not the evil action that points to God; but rather His action in turning away the evil and establishing his redemption in its wake. The redemption points to God.

One last point if evil has some positive function in our world then the ultimate destruction of it would in essence be destroying it, and with it destroying an important way of knowing God. Yet our God promises to end evil once and for all. That is our hope that on a day in the hopefully not-too-distant future He will return to bring into completion or fullness the reality of His Kingdom that he established in His previous visit. The cross is the seal of payment, and the spirit is his down payment asserting His intentions to return. Evil will be no more and His people will be entirely free to serve Him in eternity. We will then celebrate His victory, not His battle.

I’ll keep you posted if a conversation ensues…

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  1. P.S. The Barack Obama tag reflects the blogging that I did quite some time ago 🙂 I have done very little blogging on politics and culture the past 3 years. Unfortunately, MOST of my blogging was the stuff that I did back when I had A LOT MORE time on my hands!

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