Dear Friends,

He knew I am a pastor. He knew I was working on my sermon. He came up to me and politely asked what my sermon was going to be on. He listened politely to my answer. He then politely asked me how I can believe in a God who allows natural disasters. How can I believe in a God who allows pain and evil and suffering. He was quite eloquent. I have only summarized his several minute long description of the evil that takes place. He did finish speaking though and he stood there waiting for my answer. Hopefully my few words below will be of help to you when you are faced with this question from without or within.

I told him that I could only give him the shape of an answer. Thick books have been written on this subject. If he wanted to sit down for a meal sometime we could have a longer conversation.

I said that the first thing to realize is that the “problem of evil” is not just a problem that only Christians have to answer. Every religion and spirituality and world-view has to answer the set of questions involved in the problem of evil. Someone might think the Christian answer has some big problems, but if they look at how secular people and atheists and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists deal with the set of questions around the problem of evil, they might come to the surprising conclusion that the Biblical, Christian answer is by far the wisest – and has the deepest ring of truth.

For instance, one of the big problems that secular and atheist thinkers have is that they cannot account for why things are good or evil, right or wrong. If there is no true good or evil, then how can you accuse God of allowing evil? In other words, one of the first of many problems that secular thinkers have with using “the problem of evil” to argue against God’s existence is that they need to adopt a biblical and theistic account of good and evil to make their argument against theism!

I then said that I believed that if the Christian answer to the problem of evil was compared to its alternatives, then people would see that the Christian answer was the wisest, with the deepest ring of truth.

I was about to go into the Christian account when my friend just said, “The problem of evil proves God does not exist.” Then he walked away. The fact is, many people do not want to think through the problem of evil. Many people do not want to puzzle over the problem of evil as they seek the truth. For many people, the problem of evil is a talisman which will always work to silence Christians because the Christian position is indefensible.

Friends, pray for your friends and pray for opportunities to bear witness to Jesus.
George +