Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The problem of evil

Compendium of home-video from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami

I think that the most vexing obstacle in bringing the Gospel to people is the problem of evil. Classically stated, the problem of evil is this:
  • God is omnibenevolent, that is, wholly good.
  • God is omnipotent, that is, of unlimited power.
  • God is omniscient, that is, he knows everything past, present and future.
  • But evil exists in the world, both the evil that human beings do to one another and the tragedies that befall us because of the natural world, which is God's own creation.

So if God is as the premises of the problem describe him, than how can either kind of evil exist? This problem is one of the most-frequently cited reasons that people say they can't accept Christian teaching. (The theological name of this problem is theodicy, derived from the Greek for the "justice of God.")

I will start a sermon series on this problem on July 27. As well, beginning July 15 I'll lead a daytime Bible study called, "Job, Jonah, Jesus and the Problem of Good and Evil," that will meet at 9 a.m.

Folks, pat answers don't work for this problem. It's a hard one.

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