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Articles -God

Articles concerning the existence of God.

Did God Create Evil?

The tragic events at a Newtown, CT, elementary school (December 14) have resulted in much discussion, including many questions, concerning this display of horrific evil and intense human suffering. Much of the dialogue and many of the questions relate to the origin and nature of evil, especially evil and the question of God, as well as questions concerning God's relationship to evil (i.e. the origin of evil, the continued existence of evil, as well as pain and suffering, etc.). The following article, which first appeared on our website August 2012, addresses these questions by offering a metaphysical foundation,  ultimately through biblical revelation, and through the instance of two historic events--i.e. the cross of Jesus Christ and the great signal event of His resurrection. 

As we pray for the gentle healing of those whose hearts are broken,  and whose lives are devastated because of the evil events at Newtown, our prayer is also that the following material may be used to provide substance that will produce hope and certain assurance of overcoming these unspeakably intense losses. If you find this helpful send it to others. 

. . . The world, we are told, was created by a God who is both good and omnipotent. Before He created the world He foresaw all the pain and misery that it would contain; He is therefore responsible for all of it. It is useless to argue that the pain in the world is due to sin. In the first place, this is not true; it is not sin that causes rivers to overflow their banks or volcanoes to erupt. But even if it were true, it would make no difference. If I were going to beget a child knowing that the child was going to be a homicidal maniac, I should be responsible for his crimes. If God knew in advance the sins of which man would be guilty, He was clearly responsible for all the consequences of those sins when He decided to create man. . . . I would invite any Christian to accompany me to the children’s ward of a hospital, to watch the suffering that is there being endured, and then to persist in the assertion that those children are so morally abandoned as to deserve what they are suffering. In order to bring himself to say this, a man must destroy in himself all feelings of mercy and compassion. He must, in short, make himself as cruel as the God in whom he believes. No man who believes that all is for the best in this suffering world can keep his ethical values unimpaired, since he is always having to find excuses for pain and misery. (Russell 29-30)

The above words were written by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970). Russell was a Nobel Prize winning British philosopher and mathematician. Some say he “vehemently expressed atheism” (Briggs 630) while others have claimed he “identified himself as an agnostic rather than an atheist” (Sztanyo 7). His biographer, Alan Wood, says Russell “remarked . . . that ‘I am not sure whether I am atheist or agnostic, so I sometimes call myself one thing and sometimes the other’” (232). Whether atheist or agnostic, in the above paragraph Bertrand Russell sets forth the basic challenge issued by anti-theism to those who affirm the existence of God. The challenge is that God, if He does exist, is responsible for evil. Russell flatly says, “He is . . . responsible for all of it.”

The effort to respond to this basic challenge to the existence of God is a theodicy. A theodicy “seeks to explain the ways of God to man expressly concerning the origin of evil” (Stambaugh 374). Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716), a German mathematician and philosopher, has been identified as the first to use theodicy as descriptive of the resolution of the “problem of evil.” In a 1697 letter he first joined the Greek words for God and just to form theodicee. “The idea being, in light of all manner of evils, how do we ‘justify God,’ while keeping His attributes of omnipotence and omnibenevolence intact?” (Ury 400). Leibniz made an important contribution to the field of apologetics through his Theodicy. He pictured God as “considering an infinite array of possible worlds he might create. Being perfect goodness, God would create the best of these. . . . The evils in it [i.e. this world] contribute to the goodness of the whole. . . .” (Sturch, Liebniz401). Clarke states, “It is not necessary in the administration of . . . God that the world at present be the best possible world, but only that it be the best world for the present need andpurpose” (154, emp. added). Cf. Warren, Atheists 19, 23, 44-45, et al. Former atheist, the late Antony Flew, prior to becoming a theist stated, “[Theodicy] Attempts ‘to justify the ways of God to men’ by solving the problem that evil presents to the theist. . . . Given that a perfect and omnipotent Being must have created ‘the best of all possible worlds,’ how can one reconcile this with both the visible facts of this world and traditional beliefs about the next?” (Dictionary 326).

Trueblood says that the “first mature theodicy was the Book of Job” and adds:

The problem of the justification of evil after it has appeared is closely connected with the problem of its origin. If God is the Creator of the world, He would seem to be responsible for everything in it. But sin and suffering and other forms of evil are in it. Therefore, God must be the author of sin and evil. On the other hand, if there is something in the world which God did not create, how do we account for it? (234)

In developing a sound theodicy (i.e. seeking to understand the omnipotence [power] and omnibenevolence [love] of God in light of the origin and continued existence of evil and suffering) our first matter of emphasis is that the existence of evil and suffering, in a very crucial sense, involves “a separate issue from the question of God’s existence. . . . Nature may have its imperfections, but this says nothing as to whether it had an Ultimate Source” (Flew, God 156).

Varghese explains:

I say that evil doesn’t impinge on God’s existence because regardless of the evil in the world, we still have to explain three things: the fact that the world exists, the intelligence in the world, and the reality of conscious thought. The greatest evils can’t erase questions of origin, and these origin questions point clearly to an eternally existent, infinitely intelligent being.

But once we recognize the inevitability of God’s existence, we’re baffled by the fact that there’s evil in the world he created. While I admit that no theoretical explanation of evil and pain can alleviate its misery, I still think that we have some idea of why there is evil. (379)

The existence of an absolutely necessary being (God) is the only rational explanation of the universe. No anti-theistic philosophy works with the facts available, because such a philosophy is self-contradictory.

. . . Naturalism discards the existence of God on the ground that the theistic explanation is incompatible with the presence of evil in the world. But in a naturalistic universe, there is no evil in any ultimately significant sense . . . for evil exists only as over against an ultimate standard of goodness which has no validity for the naturalist. It follows that the naturalist has denied God’s existence on grounds which are valid only in terms of the position he is trying to subvert. If evils are real, then they cannot be used as a basis for denying the existence of an ultimate standard of good, or what is ultimately the same thing, God: for evils exist only on the supposition that such an absolute good exists. On the other hand, if evils do not exist, they certainly cannot form the basis for a denial of God’s existence. . . . Thus the naturalistic solution to the problem of evil is self-contradictory, because it necessarily assumes as a premise what it denies in the conclusion.

. . . If there is really no ultimate good, then there would appear to be no significant basis for declaring that this world is evil; and just for the reason that unless there is an absolute good, all attempts to call an entity, an experience, or a world evil, are baseless. In other words, the assertion that this is the worst of all possible worlds is self-contradictory in an ultimate context, because it can be significant only by assuming the existence of the very good it denies: or in brief it can be true only by being false. (Hackett 337-38)

Thus, Jackson correctly concluded, “Actually, no atheist can, consistent with his own philosophy, even introduce the problem of evil” (115). There is the sense in which the problem for any anti-God philosophy is not ultimately evil in the world, but rather the ultimate good that is implied by real, objective evil. I do not wish to minimize the depth to which the evil and suffering in the world reaches human lives and results in profound pain, sorrow, and honest questions. However, intellectually, it is not the theist who has the problem explaining evil. As Chad Meister has stated, “Everyone must provide an account of the evil which exists in the world, and of the various worldview options . . . the atheistic account is the least successful. . . . [W]hen it comes to the existence of evil in our world it’s the atheists who should be on the defensive!” (108).

My negative answer to the question before us—“Did God create evil?”—should not be interpreted to mean that any mere human knows every detail concerning the problem of evil and suffering. However, there is sufficient evidence available to enable one to rationally come to this negative answer concerning whether God created evil. I will now proceed to justify this answer setting forth evidence that relates to three areas I identify with the following: (1) a metaphysical explanation, (2) biblical revelation and (3) practical application.

Metaphysical Explanation

An understanding of the origin of evil must involve a correct metaphysical foundation. Hackett says metaphysics is “the study of the nature of ultimate and subordinate reality with their mutual interrelations” (20). Metaphysics is concerned with ultimate reality and how remaining reality relates to such. Ultimately it is concerned with reality beyond experience (cf. Sturch, Metaphysics 428). D’Souza addresses the literal meaning of metaphysics stating, “Our world looks so physical, and yet we know . . . that it was the result of a force beyond physics. This is the literal meaning of the term metaphysics—that which is after or beyond physics” (What’s So Great 125).

The moral argument proves that God is the Ultimate Good Who must exist in view of objective moral values. In an essay written in response to Professor W. T. Stace of Princeton University, the late Thomas B. Warren said,

. . . [L]et each reader imagine that two men are walking down a road. As they walk along, they see two three-year-old children lying in a ditch. Upon examining the infants, they learn that each of the children is very ill—“burning up” with a high fever. It is clear to each of the two men that the children are not only ill, but are suffering from both malnutrition and exposure and thus, are in great need of water, food, medical care, and love. Let it now be supposed that, in reaction to the conditions and needs of the children, the first man (man A) murders one of the children by stomping its head into the mud. On the other hand, the second man (man B) takes one of the children into his arms, and cares for the infant night and day with tenderness and loving care. Is there a man anywhere who would say that the difference in the action of man A and the action of man B is nothing more than one’s likes and dislikes? Would anyone dare say that the difference was mere social convention? Nothing more than a mere instinct, which might urge one thing in one man and another thing in another man? I submit that everyone who insists that the action of man B is truly better than the action of man A is thereby admitting that there is some ultimate objective standard to which men ought to comply. I further submit that to admit the existence of such evaluation is to admit the existence of the ultimate good, who is God! Still further, I submit that the action of man A was neither worse nor better than the action of man B is to take a patently absurd and false position. I further insist that everyone who might say that he subscribes to such moral subjectivity neither really believes (unless he is completely reprobate, with a seared conscience) his own contention nor avoids contradicting himself in affirming what he really knows to be the case. All of us really do know that it is really better to lovingly care for a child than to viciously murder him!

And, it is surely the case that we can know that there is objective right and wrong as surely as we can know anything! As surely as I know of my own existence and of the existence of other human beings (comprised of both body and mind—with rational, moral, and spiritual capacity) I know that there is ultimate objective good (God)! (We Can Know, 10-11)

The Ultimate Good (God) must be perfect in goodness. Any being that is imperfect falls short of what it ought to be, and such a situation implies the actual existence of the being which is the ultimate perfect good. God is “that eternal, self-existent being who is infinite in all his attributes: infinite in power, infinite in love and goodness, infinite in knowledge and wisdom, infinite in presence, etc.” (Warren, Atheists vii, emp. added). Before something can be described as objectively evil there must exist an objective standard of reference by which good and evil are defined. “. . . [T]he ultimate standard must be the Absolute Good” (Nash 211).

In view of the above facts, I submit the following argument as proof that God did not create evil:
1. If God is infinite and perfect in goodness, then only that which is good (not evil) can flow from God.
2. If only that which is good (not evil) can flow from God, then evil must originate from a source other than God.
3. If evil must originate from a source other than God, then God did not (cannot) create evil.

The first premise (1) is true. That this is the case is seen from the moral argument. By the very nature of the case, infinite and perfect goodness cannot be the origin of evil. Whatever has its origin in God must be good. The second premise (2) is obviously true. Therefore, the third premise (3) is also true. Therefore, metaphysically one can know that God did not (cannot) create evil. The above argument proves the proposition I am affirming in this lecture—“God did not create evil.” The argument is valid. The premises are true. Thus, the argument is sound.

Biblical Revelation

As faith seeks understanding (cf. Warren, Atheists 36, 66, 92), if one is to have details concerning the origin of evil in addition to what can be known metaphysically, then special revelation is essential. Thus, I now give attention to the revelation of the Bible which is in harmony with what one can know metaphysically concerning the origin of evil. [It is recommended that the reader consult: Pugh, Charles C. III. “Metaphysical Dualism and the Origin of Satan.” www.warrenapologeticscenter.org. This paper is a response to metaphysical dualism as an explanation of the origin of evil. Metaphysical dualism holds that good and evil coexist eternally. In this paper I present evidence within the framework of valid arguments proving that Satan and evil are not eternal in the sense of coexisting non-contingently with God.]

Biblical information makes it clear that God did not create evil. The Bible acknowledges the existence of evil, but it also teaches that God did not create evil. Thus, God is not morally responsible for the existence of evil. Furthermore, the Bible provides information that enables one to understand the true origin and identity of evil as well as the identity of other crucial things which seem evil to some people, but are not intrinsically evil. Although many biblical passages could (should) be considered as one studies these matters, I will only give consideration to some basic statements from the Genesis account because of the limitations of this assignment.

Concerning Genesis 1:1-2:3, Leupold says,

It requires no deep insight to discern the basic character of this . . . for the book as well as for all revelation. Man will go back in his thinking to the point where the origins of all things lie. . . . Here is the record, complete and satisfactory from every point of view, even if it does not perhaps answer every question that a prying curiosity might raise. (35)

Seven times in the first chapter of Genesis there is the affirmation of the goodness of “everything that He [God] had made” (1:31). Blocher, in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, calls the reoccurring phrase, “God saw that it was good” the refrain in the prologue (Genesis 1), and he further observes:

. . . [It] is heard seven times, with a concluding superlative (v. 31). Scripture contains countless songs of praise and . . . commendation of cosmic orderliness, summed up in Paul’s statement that “Everything God created is good” (1 Timothy 4:4, NIV; cf. Titus 1:15a). Since in biblical monotheism only God and his creatures exist, this means that everything is good. (465)

The seventh and final reference made by the writer of Genesis to the goodness of everything God created is made with greater emphasis than the preceding six. He states, “And God saw everything that He had made and behold, it was very good . . .” (Genesis 1:31, emp. added). Leupold comments,

. . . [T]his stronger statement to the effect that it was “very good,” making a total of seven times that the word is used—seven being the mark of divine operation [implies that the] thought that God might be the author of evil . . . must be guarded against strenuously. (99-100

Keil and Delitzsch add the following observations:

By the application of the term “good” to everything that God made, and the repetition of the word with the emphasis “very” at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days’ work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, which had already forced its way into it. (67)

In view of the above biblical information, I set forth the following argument that proves one can know from the revelation in the Bible that God did not create evil:
1.  If the Bible is the word of God, and the Bible teaches that everything God created is good, then one can know that God did not create evil.
2.  The Bible is the word of God, and the Bible teaches that everything God created is good.
3.  Therefore, one can know that God did not create evil.

The argument is valid. If the premises (1, 2) are true then the conclusion is true. Premise (1) is obviously true. If evidence that proves the Bible to be the word of God is available, then the conjunction of such evidence with the above biblical information concerning the goodness of everything God created proves the second premise (2). [A basic argument that proves the Bible to be the word of God was formulated by Thomas B. Warren. The argument may be referenced at: “Divine Origin of the Bible.” Warrenapologeticscenter.org; “The Bible is God’s Word—The Meaning of and Basic Argument for this Claim.” The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. 1971 Bible Lectureship of Harding Graduate School of Religion. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1971; Spiritual Sword. 1. 2 (Jan. 1970).] One can know from the Bible that God did not create evil. Blocher summarizes, “The Genesis narrative separates the origin from the act of creation: evil entered the world later as a . . . parasite (cf. C. S. Lewis 35; Nash 210) . . . not present in the beginning. Evil entered history in the abuse of created freedom . . .” (466). Clarke’s explanation sheds light on the meaning of evil entering history through the abuse of created freedom:

. . . [T]he manner of its [evil’s] origin we know in general from its nature. Moral evil is fault in free beings, whether in act or in character, and can have come only by wrong action of free-will. Some impulse or suggestion that was not worthy to be acted upon by beings who had power to do otherwise. . . . Sin first came by the act of created free spirits willing wrongly. . . . [T]here was no sin until the spirit, capable of responsible action, accepted and chose the inferior thing. (155)

Just as goodness flows from the Ultimate Good, who is God (cf. Warren and Flew 32), evil flows from man’s misuse of his (i.e. man’s) freedom.

Practical Application

Having observed from (1) a metaphysical argument, and (2) a biblical argument that God did not create evil, I will now make five basic points of practical application. [The most helpful source I have found in the practical application of these matters is the theodicy of my teacher the late Professor Thomas B. Warren as set forth in the books, Have Atheists Proved There Is No God? (1972) and Sin, Suffering, and God (1980). The former work was praised by the late Frank Pack as “one of the best logical refutations I have ever read, and draws together some of the best insights of modern theistic thinking” (86). Professor J. D. Bales said it is “the best . . . I have seen in showing the existence of evil is not contradictory to the biblical revelation of God” (Gospel Advocate 751).] The following points are crucial in seeking to understand how there is no contradiction between the infinite power and love of God and the existence of evil, pain, and suffering.

1.  The possibility of evil is not evil. Given the existence of the free will of a finite (limited) being (man), evil must be a possibility. To demand, as atheists do, that God should have made man free, yet He should have guaranteed that man would always make the right decisions is “one of the most absurd ideas” (Warren and Flew 125) imaginable! Man would be free, and man would not be free. The idea is self-contradictory. “No power, not even infinite power, can create a being who is a free moral agent and who is yet beyond even the possibility of sinning. This is the case because the possibility of evil is analytical to the definition of moral agency” (Warren, Atheists 33). God created “free-will beings for whom moral evil was a possibility. Why did God do this? . . . God was willing to risk the free choice of evil in order to have freely chosen love and worship” (Cottrell 220-21).

2.   The properties of evil are basically two. One of the fundamental properties of evil is it must have connection with a will. Warren says, “Although there are many things (actions, events, states) which seem evil to some . . . according to Bible teaching, sin is the only intrinsicevil” (Atheists 39). Nothing that “occurs on the purely physical level (such as tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.) or on the animal level (such as animal suffering pain or one animal killing and devouring another) is intrinsically evil . . . nothing subhuman is intrinsically evil” (40). Sin, which is the transgression (violation) of God’s law (1 John 3:4) is the only intrinsic (real) evil. Edwin Lewis wrote, “. . . God’s expectation from men is for sonship and brotherhood. . . . [I]n the Christian view, sin is in whatever is unfilial (contradicting sonship) and unfraternal (contradicting brotherhood)” (32, emp. added). What are often referred to as “natural evils” are not intrinsically evil. They exist from “the rational exigency [requirement] that God created according to natural laws” (Reichenbach 181).

In a 2003 book, Rare Earth, Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee, a paleontologist and astronomer respectively at the University of Washington, discuss why natural disasters occur. They are the result of giant plates—plate tectonics—that move under the surface of the Earth and ocean floor. “Plate tectonics . . . help regulate the earth’s climate, preventing the onset of scorching or freezing temperatures that would make [human] life impossible. . . . [P]late tectonics are a necessary prerequisite to human survival on the only planet known to sustain life” (D’Souza, “Earthquakes” 58).

3. The pain of Earth is not intrinsically evil. Pain can either be instrumentally good or evil. Warren explains why it is the case that pain and suffering are not intrinsically evil:

If pain per se were intrinsically evil, then every instance of pain (including those inflicted by kindly skilled surgeons and by loving mothers) would be evil. Yet, such instances of inflicting pain are not evil. Why is this the case? . . . [B]ecause the motives and actions of those inflicting the pain in these cases were in harmony with the will of God. It seems clear, therefore, that no logical contradiction is involved in the infliction of pain by a perfectly good being. . . . [A]t least in some circumstances, the inflicting of pain is the only thing which a good will could do. . . .

There is no compelling reason why men cannot believe that it is good for them to live in a world in which it is at least possible for pain and suffering (as well as sin) to occur. . . . Men can even believe that the possibility of pain and suffering coming into their lives is a thing for which they can (and ought to) thank God. (Atheists 40-41)

Because Earth is a “vale of soul-making” (i.e. the development of the soul’s character) the world—such as the one in which we live that develops character—needs to be one of struggle and resistance containing obstacles to overcome, battles to be won, and problems to solve (cf. Romans 5:1-4; James 1:2-4, et al). The spiritual practicality of these challenges is illustrated in the following:

. . . If the men who made the flight to the moon had not faced the necessity of gaining knowledge and developing skills, and if, making that flight had involved absolutely no danger (of severe injury, suffering or death) to them, other men would not have been so thrilled and inspired by their feat. If man’s environment did not provide situations in which he faced the possibility of suffering some truly terrible loss (of property, well-being, life), then it would not provide a situation in which such virtues as fortitude and courage could be developed as they now are. These facts make it clear that the ideal environment for man is one which makes it possible for man to suffer—and, not merely to suffer, but to suffer intensely. And, it must not only allow men to suffer intensely, but to suffer intensely over along period of time. This particular point is closely related to the possibility of developing sympathy . . . .

The ideal environment is one which allows man to face the challenge of becoming a true son of God. The basic purpose of human life is to have the opportunity of become a true (spiritual) son of God. (Warren, Atheists 72)

A little girl told her music teacher that it hurt her fingers to practice the piano. Her teacher replied: “I know it hurtsbut it strengthens them too.” The child then said: “Teacher it seems that everything that strengthens, hurts!” (Cowman 191). The Psalmist experienced the practical value of pain and suffering: “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71, ESV; cf. v. 67, emp. added).

4. The punishment in eternity is not evil. Antony Flew, as an atheist, wrote, “Our actual wickedness therefore remains intractably a major part of the evil which has to be reconciled with the thesis of creation by an infinitely good Creator. . . . The whole issue becomes immeasurably worse if you want Hell too. Creation apart it would be hard enough to excogitate any tolerable justification for punishment . . .” (Philosophy 67-68). Flew then manifested the atheist’s utter disdain for the doctrine of eternal punishment when he said, “[T]o concede that your God creates some creatures intending to subject them to eternal torments, of whatever sort: then your apologetic task is hopeless from the beginning” (68). Countering such challenges by Flew in their 1976 debate, Dr. Warren retorted:

. . . To show that God does not exist, you must find some logical contradiction, as this seems to be your basic approach, between the concepts of that God. I have already charged that you cannot do so, that you cannot take the concept of God alone and take one attribute of God and to weigh it against another attribute of God and show that they contradict one another. That as a matter of fact that you, along with all other atheists, will refer to some empirical fact or something that God does—such as punishment. . . .

Let me suggest, Dr. Flew, in all concern for you as a person, that we can know what sin deserves in only two ways. Not by looking at rocks, not merely by intuition, not merely by some deduction from some concept or from some empirical fact, but only (1) by what it costs to get man out of it—the death of the Son of God—and (2) the punishment that must be meted out for those who live and die in it (sin). But Dr. Flew projects himself, not only outside the physical universe, but outside of God as well, looks down upon the universe and God and judges God to be unfit and unworthy, “monstrous,” even “satanic” (as he put it last evening) and I submit to you that he has no springboard on which to stand to make such a judgment. (Warren and Flew 169)

5.  The place of explanation of evil and suffering is ultimately in the cross and the empty tomb. “The heart of the problem is not found in words like ours in a book, but in the words from the cross: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ It is a problem not on paper but on wood” (Kreeft and Tacelli 123). Pinnock says, “[T]he Christian answer . . . to the problem of evil is not found in any superior ability in philosophical reasoning, but . . . [in] divine action against evil in the person and work of Christ” (115). This is not to say we must not use logic, reason, and revelation, as we deal with matters such as origins, ethics, suffering and death for which science does not have the answers. The environment in which we live is ideal for the purpose for which it was created—an ideal “vale of soul-making.” Through the proper use of our minds we can come to know our Creator (cf. Romans 1:20). However, when it comes to the adversity and suffering that is very much a part of this ideal environment, we do not have a detailed explanation of every incident of suffering. But, in the person and work of His Son, particularly in His death and resurrection, God provides a “supreme instance” by which all lesser events can be properly interpreted (cf. Warren, Atheists 46).

The cross and the empty tomb are the “plus signs” of life that enable one to deal with all evil and suffering, and the intense losses that often are the result of such. Drawbridge eloquently describes the empowering nature of “the supreme instance” conjoined in the cross and the resurrection:

. . . Christianity deliberately singles out the most unique, and the most undeserved, and the most terrible instance, not only of physical suffering, but also of mental, of moral and of spiritual anguish, all of which were suffered by an innocent Person on behalf of others, and, having singled out this unique case, deliberately raises this greatest of all tragedies into bold relief and makes every effort to attract the attention of all humanity to it. Then, underneath this terrible picture of the greatest of all tragedies, Christianity writes with warm enthusiasm and with intense conviction:—“God so loved the world (that He gave His only begotten Son”).

It is in the light of the Crucifixion that Christians contemplate lesser sufferings. Countless millions of people, of many different races and in many different centuries, looking upon that picture of Jesus Christ in Gethsemane and on Calvary, and accepting the Christian interpretation of the Great Tragedy, have gloried in pain and have rejoiced in anguish: they have thanked God for having counted them worthy to walk in the footsteps of the suffering Christ, and to suffer with Him. (69)

Conclusion

Did God create evil? The answer is a resounding no! In view of a true metaphysical explanation and a correct handling of biblical revelation we can know that evil is not a creation of God. Warren excellently summarizes:

It is true that there is evil in the world, but it is not evil for which God is blameworthy! Everything which God created was good, including man. Man, by the misuse of his own free will, was guilty of sin (disobedience, that which is unfilial). Man, not God, is blameworthy for man’s sin. By showing that such matters as natural calamities, animal pain, and human suffering are not intrinsically evil, I protect the view that God is not blameworthy for anything. In doing so, I show that the problem of evil cannot be used to prove that the infinite God does not exist. (Atheists 95)

The Psalmist was right: “You [God] are good and do good . . .” (Psalm 119:68, ESV). Jesus took it as far as it can go: “There is only One who is [Ultimately] good . . .” (Matthew 19:17, NASV). His apostle sealed it: “For EVERYTHING CREATED BY GOD IS GOOD . . .” (1 Timothy 4:4; ESV, emp. added).

You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory, and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.
(Revelation 4:11, NKJ)

 

Works Cited

Blocher, Henri A. G. “Evil.” New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Leicester: InterVarsity, 2000.

Briggs, R. S. “Bertrand Russell.” New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics. Leicester: InterVarsity, 2006.

Clarke, William Newton. An Outline of Christian Theology. 1894. Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1905.

Cottrell, Jack. The Faith Once for All. Joplin: College, 2002.

Cowman, Mrs. Charles E., comp. Springs in the Valley. 1939. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976.

D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great about Christianity? Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2007.

- - -. “Why We Need Earthquakes.” Christianity Today. 53.5 (2009):58.

Drawbridge, C. L. Common Objections to Christianity. London: Roxburghe, 1914.

Flew, Antony. A Dictionary of Philosophy. New York: St. Martin’s, 1979.

- - -. God and Philosophy. 1984. Amherst: Prometheus, 2005.

- - -. There Is A God. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.

Gospel Advocate. 64.47 (23 Nov. 1972): 751.

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