I recently wrote a blog explaining how many atheists point out evil in the world as a reason God must not exist. My point was to show that atheists bring this up without realizing they must borrow from God in order to make the objection. Objective morality cannot exist apart from God and therefore to argue that the existance of evil proves God does not exist is circular reasoning. You can read that post here.
This means that the atheist cannot object to God because of evil, but it does not excuse the theist from needing to explain the existence of it. So although the question evil cannot be reasonably brought up on an atheistic worldview, it still must be dealt with in a theistic worldview. It is still a fair question to ask how evil exists in a world where an all good God rules and reigns.
Before I even begin to answer this intricately difficult question let me just say that I do not fully know the answer to this. I will give reason enough to still hold to a Christian perspective, but to say I have fully grasped how evil exists in a world ruled by an all-powerful and all good God would be wrong. In mechanical terms I understand how the engine may work, though there are some things which I still cannot explain with my theory, but I have enough to know the engine does work.
Already, I hear many objecting to this saying that unless I can give a full answer to this question then it is unreasonable to conclude that God exists or at least to believe in my explanation of the problem of evil. Some feel that saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘only God knows’ is somehow a copout. I think this objection is wrong for two reasons.
First, if God is all knowing, all powerful, and all present, we should expect that He does some things differently then we would. I expect my boss to do things differently then myself because I expect him to know things that I don’t, and he do things differently as a result. In fact if my boss did everything exactly the way I would, I may start to reason that they don’t know any more than I do, and in turn are no more qualified to be my boss then I am to be theirs. We should question if God really has the previously mentioned characteristics if He does everything exactly as we would.
Second, if once again God is all knowing, all powerful, and all present, we should not expect to understand everything He does. Perhaps this is saying the same thing again, but I see this as the positive side of the previous thought. Before we saw that we should expect God to work differently then us, now we are talking about how we should not expect to understand why He does work differently. Think of it this way, if explain to a child the law of gravity and also tell them I cannot explain all of the intricate details of the law like a physicist professor, he may accept my explanation or reject it. But if the child rejects it on the grounds that I am ‘coping out’ by not explaining everything perfectly, we would rightly call the rejection, childish and unjustified. The theory explains the general issue though I may not have the details and may have some gaps. Similarly when Christians dealing with the problem of evil prepose an explanation and say they cannot explain all of the details of the theory but God can, they are not coping out. They are simply showing that they are finite beings trying to explain the details of a world created by an infinite being.
As we dive into this topic hopefully we will find that explanations for evil may not be the answers we like but they are non-the less reasonable.
All of this said, since this topic is extremely complicated I will be giving my different explanations in several blogs over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.