“Since Evil and Suffering exist, a Loving God cannot.”
After watching God’s Not Dead and doing a post about it, I’ve refocused on my personal study of Apologetics. I recently picked up The Case for Faith by Atheist turned Christian, Lee Strobel. The subtitle reads “A Journalist Investigates the toughest Objections to Christianity” The table of contents is lain out with what are considered the eight strongest arguments against God. The first chapter and the chapter I’m on is “Since Evil and Suffering exist, a Loving God cannot.”
The Problem of Evil
Greek Philosophers debated this thousands of years ago, and is the primary reason Charles Templeton, contemporary of Billy Graham and fellow evangelist, abandoned the Christian faith, and spend the rest of his life writing and speaking against Theism. Strobel tells his own stories of travelling as a journalist, seeing starving families in his home town of Chicago, while he lived in comfort in is townhouse, and seeing abandoned and diseased boy while travelling in India. Why? Where is God? Those are legitimate questions. When you look at all the pain in this world it’s heartbreaking, but sadly we then go back to cute cat videos on Youtube to ease our empathy, forgetting about those whom God has seemingly forgotten.
Why Doesn’t God do Anything?
Why doesn’t he? Why don’t we do anything? I’m not writing today about defending God against “the problem of evil” argument. There are plenty of well written responses; Lee Strobel being one, Ravi Zacharias being another. You either find the Christian response reasonable or you don’t. I write today because we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are supposed to be his hands and his feet (1 Corinthians 12), Christ’s ambassadors to this world.
Templeton said that the moment he gave up belief in a loving God, was when he saw a picture of an African woman, holding her dead son in her arms. The reason was drought. A drought had devastated that region. Templeton’s thought was simple, “Rain! All you had to do was send rain!” I don’t care how strong your faith is, that shakes it.
You may consider this a “cop-out” answer but I believe that God created this world to run like a clock. Sin fundamentally broke this clock. This is where, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, and all types of disasters come from. It’s not necessarily God’s wrath smiting a godless New Orleans (As some have said about Katrina), but rather God’s continued judgement against a world full of sin. You see, in scripture you have almost a paradox between God’s grace and God’s wrath. In God’s love and grace, Jesus Christ absorbed God’s wrath on the cross. So when you hear people say “God is Love” you must also remember “God is Wrath.” An uncomfortable and unpopular concept, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Now, it’s easy for me to sit in my nice office in front of a laptop and say this, but I’m going to do it anyway. Why didn’t Templeton with all of his influence that he had as one of the leading evangelicals in the world, use his influence to bring relief to those suffering in Africa? Isn’t that the Christian thing to Do? The Bible says from the beginning Mankind was given primary authority and responsibility to govern this world. Think about it, how is the Gospel spread? Through people sharing? Why didn’t Jesus just appear to everyone after his resurrection? Because this is our world, God expects us to play a part in fixing it. If we are “God’s Children” and he is our father it makes since. You can pick up your child’s room for them, fix their mistakes while they play video games, or you can teach them how to do these things and help them. I think this is part of why God doesn’t just automatically fix every evil, how else would we learn?
So next time you or I are presented with the evil of human suffering, instead of “asking where is God?” Why don’t we ask ourselves “How should I as a follower of Jesus bring about healing?” Didn’t Jesus come to save, heal, and restore? If he is our example shouldn’t we do the same? Maybe God wants to use us to fix the evil in the this world.
Personally, I’m selfish. I lack compassion. Our recent Sunday School lesson was over generosity. To begin this lesson everyone was given a piece of paper and told “You’ve just been given 1 Million dollars, what would you do?” I listed several things, nothing frivolous (Pay off debt, buy a car with less than 150,000 miles on it, etc). Nowhere on my list was giving money away to help people. The truth is if most of us were given 1 Million dollars we could give every dime of it away to those in real need, and never miss a meal, never lack shelter, never lack clothing, never lack anything.