The Problem of Evil: Can God be Just?

Lately, I’ve been questioning the existence of God.  Not necessarily whether He exists, because it is so deeply ingrained in my head that of course, He is real, but more importantly, if He does exist, then what’s His deal?  I don’t know about you, but what I’ve been learning about the going-ons in the world doesn’t exactly lead me to have belief in the future of humanity, or belief in general.  Which is where I stop, look up, raise my fist to the heavens and ask: “Why, God?  Really where the hell are you?  Cause I’m pretty sure if you are who you say you are you would have done something about this fucked up world a long time ago.”

Sorry to be blunt, but there it is.  And it doesn’t sit well for me to think about my God this way, believe me, it doesn’t.  But if I’m supposed to live as Jesus did, which I want to more than anything else, then I should love people above all else, because that’s what He did here on earth.  For instance, I have to consider people in terms of how God sees them.  Not me, not other humans, who are prone to error, but through the eyes of Jesus, which is pure love.  But the more I truly love people, the more I realize how unjust and unfair it is to watch innocent people die from crazy weather or war situations throughout the world.  So then how do I account for it?  For this existence of evil?

Evil is everywhere.  Its seen in natural disasters, like the recent tsunami that hit Japan.  The death count is around 20,000.  Many of the bodies of these people had been missing, passenger trains of people, alive or dead, nowhere to be found.

A train in Japan, after the tsunami hit

Bodies are being discovered washing up on the shore, after being whipped around and drowned in the mass of the body of water that engulfed Japan.  Its at moments like

A body that washed up shore in Japan

this when I realize I could be one of these people.  A mother received text messages from her daughter saying her goodbyes after she found herself trapped, left to die in the earthquake in New Zealand.  This girl could be me.  And I can’t help but think of these situations and wonder, why the injustice?   If you were God, would you sit back and watch your people, the people of your flesh, whom you love, die at the whim of the weather?  Its very difficult to swallow as a Christ follower.  Which leads me to my point.  Who is this God who claims to be the way to overcome evil yet allows for the existence of it all the same?  Can He be just?

Dostoevsky

Doystoevsky, a famous Russian existentialist philosopher, claims He cannot be. In his famous work entitled “The Brother’s Karamazov,” he says that “there is no imaginable final state of the world in which the suffering of children makes a moral sense, that is, is justified.”  Another famous philosopher and historian, David Hume,

David Hume, what a guy

states:  “Even if the existence of evil is logically compatible with the existence of an infinitely powerful and good God, nevertheless, the evil we encounter in human experience is strong evidence against the existence of such a being.”  Yes, I must agree with this.  But where does this leave the girl who believes in this God yet knows that if He exists, He cannot be the good, just God He claims to be.  Can He?

This guy knows whats up

But John Hicks, an English philosopher, argues that God is just. That the existence of evil is actually necessary for us to understand God and the good in general.  He claims that if humans are to become more like Christ throughout their life, that we MUST encounter evil in order to really be able to truly appreciate the GOOD.

Now let me clarify my point by giving a hypothetical example.  Let’s say there is no evil, and we live in a perfect world, and God created us to be in this world.  Then our love and dedication to live a life pleasing to God would mean nothing to Him, because it is only natural to do so, and therefore, it comes on the cheap.  We are CREATED to live for him, therefore, there is no worth in our choice to love him.  The point is, without the evil, there is no choice.  It would be as if we were created as robots PROGRAMMED to love God.

But in a world of sin and evil and death, where every corner we turn we are bombarded with evil…when we can look all of this in the face and STILL choose to look upward to heaven and CHOOSE GOOD, and the God that comes with it, how much more worth would we then have with our Father in heaven?  It is THROUGH this struggle of good and evil that we are able to live a life glorifying God, becoming more like Him and His Son.  Perhaps this justification is the only consideration that helps me get through the day, that helps me deal with the problem of evil.

I am convinced that God is love, regardless of the world around me.  Perhaps you find me idealistic, maybe even stupid, but the truth is, I really don’t care because I have to do what works for ME.  And following the teachings of Jesus Christ just happens to give me the peace and hope I need to get through the day.

As Kanye reminds me in “Jesus Walks,”

God show me the way cuz the devil's tryin to break me down...

I ain’t here to argue about his facial features

Or here to convert atheists into believers.

I’m just trying to say the way school need teachers

The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that’s the way I need Jesus.

This is my opinion and based off of my belief.  It is personal and not at all meant to be taken objectively or even universally.  But if you’re struggling right now with the state of the world, if your soul cries out for the injustice of the people dying in Libya and Japan and Syria the way mine does, take comfort that there is something bigger to live for, that there is a cause that you may not always understand but may lift your soul to sing while the rest of the world weeps.

I’ll leave you with a song from Jesus Culture:       

I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart
As a seal upon my arm.
For there is LOVE that is as strong as death
Jealousy demanding of the grave
And many waters cannot quench this LOVE.

This implies that the God I love is actually JEALOUS enough of sin and death to offer payment upon my grave in order to HAVE ME.  This thought alone stirs my soul to sing.  Let me not forget this now while the rest of the world wavers, teetering upon the precipice of destruction.  Let me instead find hope that there is still GOOD in this world, and its worth fighting for, living for, and even dying for.

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7 Responses to The Problem of Evil: Can God be Just?

  1. Jimmy Johns says:

    Glad to see you (whoever you are) are starting to think critical about the world, but jesus christ you aren’t a philosopher and the extent of your research can be narrowed down to a quick google search. please stop putting up half ass posts. This exact post has been duplicated 1000 times by psuedo-intellectuals exactly like yourself, so while your discovering your new mental faculties, try to turn up the originality factor. Not that you’ll let this comment will get “past” the moderator. Also, the repeating music only adds to the anger one cultivates while reading this half-brained blog of yours. Hope your day goes well

  2. I guess we will just have to work harder to please you hahahahaha. at least you are still reading 🙂

  3. oh and tip….close http://www.sassmonsters.com while you are on the wordpress.

  4. kcsweeney4 says:

    @Jimmy John way to slander behind a fake name. At least she is questioning her beliefs and thinking beyond the uber-religious b.s. she has been fed her entire life. And when you talk to the majority of Americans, they are morons about what is happening in this world…most people don’t even fully understand why September 11th happened, almost a decade later. And Bethany is not trying to be a philosopher, she’s just actually using her brain.

    These girls are normal people who are fed up with everybody’s heads being in the sand so they’re writing about it and people are actually reading and responding. What the fuck are you doing with your life? Smoking a bowl and making sandwiches?

  5. Moses says:

    This is pretty good Bethany. If you would like to get deeper into the ideas of God, sin, and the world I’d suggest looking up some C.S. Lewis (you probably know him from writing the Narnia novels) or St. Augustine.

    The only thing that seems to be missing is the fact, like the existentialist (choosing) view: Ever since Adam (who chose the fruit of sin from the tree) man has been born in to sin. Even though the Law (mainly 10 Commandments) is imprinted on everyone’s hearts (Romans) the world chooses to ignore it and hate the God who loves them.

  6. Moses says:

    The Theology of Glory and the Theology of the Cross also play a role in understanding God. As most would try to explain God through the Theology of Glory (in human reason) we should use the Theology of the Cross (how God made himself known to us). It is impossibly for man to reach up and obtain or know God by himself… But, God is fully capable of reaching down and showing himself to us. Many aspects of God are unknowable to us, this is where we need to rely on trust in his strength, love, and mercy.

  7. Nick says:

    You might want to check out Richard Swinburne. He’s an English philosopher and a theist. One of his arguments is that evil is a necessity because God gave us Free Will. He makes the claim that Free Will is deeper good given by God to allow us to participate in God’s creation. Evil is a necessary consequence of God giving human’s the deeper good of Free Will. Obviously, that was a very short (and somewhat simplified) paraphrase but it’s an interesting read.

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