Dear friends,

Over the last couple of hundred years the problem of evil has been the main argument against the existence of the God Who is revealed and made known by Jesus Christ. The problem has several forms, but basically it is, “If God
exists and He is all powerful, good and loving, then how come suffering, pain and evil exist?” Surely, such a God would have a world where pain, suffering and evil do not exist. Maybe He cannot stop pain, suffering and evil. If so, He is not all-powerful and, therefore, not God. Maybe He can stop pain, suffering and evil but He does not want to. If so, He is not good and loving and, therefore, not God. Either way, the existence of pain and suffering and evil proves that the God revealed by Jesus does not exist.

Before I briefly comment on this, I should mention several great books that deal with this subject. First is CS Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain.” The second is Tim Keller’s “Walking with God through pain and suffering”. You might also check out his two books, “Making Sense of God” and “The Reason for God”. Finally, peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli’s book, “Handbook of Christian Apologetics.”

But back to our question at hand. “In a world with pain, suffering and evil, how can God exist?” The first step in answering this question is realizing that every religion or philosophy or spirituality also has to grapple with the intersection of the good, love, evil, suffering and God. It is never the case that only Christians have to answer the question. When we realize that every “world view” has to grapple with the question and provide an account, then we realize that, compared to the alternatives, the Christian answer is deep and wise and far more satisfying than the alternatives.

Most Canadians are “moral relativists”, believing that there is no objective, absolute right and/or wrong for all people. Part of their very big dilemma is answering the question, “In a world of moral relativism, how can the problem of evil exist?” To our more Buddhistic friends the question is, “In a world where all is really One, how can the problem of evil exist?” To our atheist friends, the question is, “In a world where all exists as a result of blind chance and the survival of the fittest, how can the problem of evil exists?”

We will look at aspects of “the problem of evil” off and on over the next weeks as we look at the Gospel of John. Only the Gospel introduces a God Who has scars. Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us”. He is a “man of sorrows acquainted with grief.” He is “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.” It is said of Him, “by His wounds we are healed.” To the man by the pool at Bethesda, He knows his sickness and his history of sickness. Jesus walks with us in our suffering and walking with Jesus will lead us to walk towards evil and suffering to fight against evil, and comfort and heal those who suffer. In all things, consider Jesus!