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The Problem of Evil and Suffering Through the Eyes of Theology

The problem of evil and suffering goes beyond the framework of science, as it is a theological question, a question of God’s character and conduct.

Various skeptics essentially claim the following: Can God not prevent evil – and therefore is not omnipotent? Or does God not want to prevent evil – and therefore, He is not good?

At first glance, it seems that God is squeezed into a corner, but it is not quite so. There are more detailed theological discussions that go far beyond the scope of this website; I limit myself here to the following main answers:

Let Us Look at the Five Theological Aspects of the Problem of Evil and SufferingThe problem of evil and suffering

1.) God Is Both Omnipotent and Good

Since God created the universe, we cannot doubt its power. And because he sacrificed himself to save even the most sinful individual, we cannot doubt his love. So God is both omnipotent and good.

2.) The Originator of Evil Is Not God

The originator of evil is not God but his adversary. The avalanche of evil has been triggered by selfishness and is taking us away as well.

3.) God Could Resolve the Problem of Evil and Suffering, But…

God could make a world without evil, but it would be a world of programmed robots. God loves us so much that He gives us a free choice. Evil can exist because God allows us free will. Genuine love can only exist if those involved are free to choose. That is why God still gives us the choice of whether to obey him or not. By doing so, he proves that he is good. Of course, the possibility of choice is a big risk because it also means the possibility of rejection. Humanity, unfortunately, has taken this path. The first to reject God was Adam and Eve, and we more or less repeat their pattern. The Bible makes it clear that we live in a world that was created perfect but is now on the verge of ruin; death and suffering were introduced into perfect creation when humanity decided not to obey the Creator. God would easily make us programmatically obedient. This would save us a lot of trouble – for us, who often find life difficult, and for himself because he had to pay for our redemption with his life (Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, rose after death)! But would God and we be happy, content, and grateful if we were robots ?! Would you rather be a programmed blissful robot who can’t decide on his own, or would you rather see that you are free to be free to decide for good or for bad? What’s more: with faith, you can accept the solution provided by God.

4.) God Will Resolve the Problem of Evil and Suffering in Eternity

Because God educates us for a happy eternity where there will be no more evil, He knows very precisely how much and what evil is going on in each individual’s life – and only God sees the whole picture (our view of the whole is, in any case, subjective, not objective). A happy eternity will ultimately outweigh the evil. Compared to the endless years of complete happiness after the destruction of evil, man’s average 70 years of trouble is negligible.

God deliberately limits how many troubles can befall us. How much trouble can befall us is undoubtedly very little compared to what it would all look like without God’s control. And why would God dose a dose of trouble? The general answer is that He intends to educate us for eternity when evil will no longer be given another chance. For most of history, it is already quite clear what fruits the rebellion against God bears. Part of this education is also the realization that we can influence whether good or evil progresses and realize that our only meaning in this world is to strive for good. We are not a completely helpless figure on the chessboard of great players, but we can work to advance the good and limit the bad.

An Innocent Can Also Be Badly Affected

Of course, many destructive can hit us innocently, even if we avoid evil or actively work for good progress. Sadly, this world is like this, but one must be aware that this is not the whole picture or the end of the story. When the Bible gives a broader picture, it says that God is a just judge, and each individual must answer for his actions. If materialists were right and there was no God, we would hope in vain that justice would one day be fully satisfied. However, because with reasonable faith, we can claim that God exists and is good, we can look forward to this day or realize in trouble that we are literally closer to a solution every second.

It is wise to realize that God has done everything and sustains everything, so He is the undisputed owner and ruler. It is a good thing He is as revealed in the Bible and not as the various pagan gods who were to be appeased. God is very kind to us, and respecting our decisions isn’t self-evident. However, God seeks to secure us an eternity through His benevolence, not just a tolerable 70 years of life here. Eternal life is at stake, not “those few Fridays”!

5.) As the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

It should be emphasized that the question “Why does God allow evil?” embarrasses especially those Christians who otherwise believe in Jesus (at least to some extent!) but not in the reality of Genesis and the fall into sin described there, triggered by God’s adversary. Whoever believes in theistic evolution finds it difficult to defend the idea of a good God! But the Bible does not mention any evolution, nor “God-led evolution.” It is similar to “eternal torment in hell” – you will not find this teaching in the Bible, nor will you find, i.e., limbo (something between heaven and hell). “Hell” nicely illustrates the event of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah: God punished the evil accumulated there with fire, which was “eternal” in effect (i.e., unconditional destruction once and for all), not in duration (fire no longer burns).

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