8/31/2007

Nine Reasons Why Christianity is The Only True Religion, Part 6: Christianity Explains the Presence of Evil

A bridge in Minneapolis collapses. Nuclear weapons experimentation makes Kazakhstan home to people with awful disfigurement. A train wreck in Brazil kills eight and injures over 100. Civil war tears apart the hopes and dreams of children. Seemingly countless murders tear apart families. Evil, defined for this post as sin or injustice against another human being, is all around us.

I am not about to try to give a comprehensive explanation for how evil came to be. I do not claim to be the kind of person who can mount a theodicy of any consequence. God created men with the ability to sin and the ability not to sin, but I cannot reason beyond that. I do not know the “how”; I just know the “is.” I know that evil exists. I know evil is present. I know evil is real.

What must exist in order for evil and suffering to be truly wrong? Does not the existence of evil itself require a standard of good?

Should I just accept evil as a part of the way the universe works? Should I accept a view of evil based on social convention, or the DNA encoded in my cells? These things vary from one person to the next, but we do not find a definition of evil that changes greatly from person to person, place to place, or time to time. We always seem to have a notion of the way things ought to be.

I want a worldview that accounts for the reality of evil and suffering. I want it to be called evil, not just the absence of happiness that is a social construct of mere men. I know that this standard of good and evil must be real. Life makes no intuitive sense without it. The denial of it is impossible in view of the pain and suffering we see around us. I want cruelty to be profoundly wrong. For this, I need an absolute standard for what is right.

Christianity allows for this standard. It allows evil to be “evil.” Non-Christian views of the world do not allow for this. From Greg Bahnsen:

… it is crucial to the unbeliever's case against Christianity to be in a position to assert that there is evil in the world -- to point to something and have the right to evaluate it as an instance of evil … the problem of evil turns out to be, therefore, a problem for the unbeliever himself. In order to use the argument from evil against the Christian worldview, he must first be
able to show that his judgments about the existence of evil are meaningful -- which is precisely what his unbelieving worldview is unable to do.


Knowing that evil “is,” that it exists, is enough to convince me that there is a God. We cannot define evil without defining good. Evil is in some way good’s opposite, a falling short of the good. Knowing that evil “is” leads us relentlessly to a God who is the definition of the good. Without Him, we would not know evil when we saw it.

Of course, Christianity does not stop there. It also offers hope for deliverance from evil. In the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ we find ultimate deliverance from “the last enemy,” death. (1 Corinthians 15:25-28). In Christ, we find deliverance from the power of evil and the forces that bring it about (Colossians 2:8-15). I have found Christ to be my life and my hope in the face of real, tangible evil I find all around me.

4 comments:

Steve Newell said...

True Christianity states that the evil is within each one of us and our world is a reflection of this condition. Many "evangelical" Christians reject the doctrine of original sin and the total depravity of man. Since can be since is that they view society is evil, not the members as being evil. They believe that to change people they must change society, which is not true. Christianity only changes society when individuals are changes.

If you ask most "evangelical" Christians is people are basically good or evil, they will state that people are good. They believe that man is not born dead to God, just morally neutral.

J. K. Jones said...

Agreed. We are evil, so our societies are. It’s not that we are as evil as we could be; it’s that our evil touches every part of our being.

R. C. Sproul says it well, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”

I also think that the fall of man and the fall of the angels (Satan) have affected the world we live in. Nature itself has been damaged.

Our world also has a hard time with Christ’s standard of perfection. They don’t get His quote: “Be ye perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

L P Cruz said...

J.K.

Have you heard of Immanuel Kant's works. Kant conceded (for him anyway) that no one can prove the existence of God. However, with out the notion of God, society will not function for we have a profound sense of justice. Justice requires perfect evaluation of things and hence, good and evil. Hence, according to Kant we should believe in the existence of God based on our moral sense of justice. So Kant, takes God out the front door but opens the rear door and gets him back again.

The thing though is that Atheists are absolute moralists! They can not have a moral value system and afford not to believe in a Creator God, because their moral system does not have any logical basis for it. They try to be, but so long as they resists the notion of God, they are being self contradictory.

I do not want to prove to him the existence of God, what I do want to talk about with him (an atheist) is the message of God - Jesus. For if the message of Jesus makes sense to him, the he gets everything in Christianity. But of course, faith is a gift borne from the Gospel and it is foolishness to those perishing but life to those who are being saved.

LPC

J. K. Jones said...

I am re-reading a book by John Warwick Montgomery, "History, Law, and Christianity." He points out that Christ's life, teaching, and ressurection are, in oand of themselves, good "arguments" for God's existence.

The issues are bound up with each other. I have not settled the old arguments between "evidential" and "classical" apologetics in my own mind. I see so much value in each approach.

There is also some level at which the gospel, makes intuitive sense to those who hear the gsopel. That is, they realise that it is a solution to their real guilt before a holy God.

I think we agree on much.

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