A Good God?
The Problem of Evil

A gunman recently sprayed a congregation of praying Christians in Texas with bullets, killing eight and wounding seven. Does this make a mockery of the God they were praying to? Thousands died grisly deaths in Turkey's earthquake, only to be followed quickly by more in Greece and Taiwan. Hurricane Floyd devastated the U.S. East coast. Wars and crimes rage almost continously, as they always have. Is God even watching? How can He allow all this? These are questions common to humanity through the ages and provide probably the biggest stumbling block to faith.

This writer received a book last week that poetically claims on its back cover, "This is a wonderful world, Full of joy and beauty. Evil does not exist--Truth and goodness abounds...." In contrast, Don Hudson (see his essay below) writes, "Closing our eyes to the suffering of this world is choosing to live in an innocence that God does not live in." Indeed, are we often too glib about the pain of life? "All things work together for good," from the eighth chapter of the book of Romans, is sometimes used as a Bandaid when a deep, unattended wound still festers beneath. Perhaps the truly spiritual route to resolving the undeniable fact of suffering and evil lies more in facing our doubts squarely and making our slow peace with the challenge that it presents.

On a philosophical plane, is it reasonable to assume that, if God were good and all powerful, He would not allow evil and suffering? Further, can we conclude that, given evil and suffering, there is no God at all? What answers can we expect as human beings--now or ultimately? Where do reason and faith come into play and how do they interplay? We begin exploring these issues in our special focus.

—Leadership University Editor/Webmaster, Byron Barlowe

The Problem of Evil
Rick Rood
The problem of how a good and powerful God could allow evil and suffering in His creation is discussed from both a philosophical and religious perspective.

When the Good Guys Don't Win
Rusty Wright
"Why is there suffering in the world?" ranked first in a national survey to determine the top 40 questions of life. Many human efforts to alleviate suffering and achieve happiness have borne some fruit, but each also contains examples of failure. This article considers a few of these human efforts, then asks revealing questions. Could we be missing the root of the problem? Could much human suffering be rooted in something deeper than flawed political systems or philosophical constructs? Might there be something wrong with the human heart?

Is There Meaning in Evil and Suffering?
Discussion Forum
On February 11, 1999, a distinguished and diverse panel explored the question, "Is there meaning in evil and suffering?" Forum participants: Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Dr. William Lane Craig (both Christian theists), Dr. Bernard Leikind (naturalist scientist), and Dr. Jitendra Mohanty (scholar, Eastern religion). Visit the online RealMedia archive to hear this forum again.

Deliver Us From Evil
George Pytlik
This unique Web site takes you step by step into some general considerations of the problem of evil. The subject matter is based on material by Dr. Ravi Zacharias and others.

The Glory of His Discontent: The Inconsolable Suffering of God
Don Hudson, Mars Hill Forum
"If the Christian life is a sojourn, which I believe it is, then the pilgrim on the way (Homo Viatoris) is moving from the innocence of Eden to the joy of heaven while trying to make sense of a tragic, suffering world."

A Theodicy
Brad Johnson
The author examines the classical understanding of theodicy (roughly, a defense of God), with emphasis on the relationship between the defender and that which is defended. He examines the Logical and Evidential Problems of Evil, as well as the classical resolutions to such problems. He posits the problem of evil as an existential "pastoral" problem whose answer lies in faith in the person and work of Christ.

The Problem of Evil: Preliminaries
Robert C. Koons
The problem of evil concerns the question of whether it is possible to reconcile the existence of "evils" in the world (wickedness, death, suffering) with the existence of a perfectly good, omnipotent God. The argument from evil is an argument that purports to show that these cannot be reconciled, and, therefore, since evils do exist, there cannot exist a God who is both perfectly good and omnipotent. (Links available to all other lectures in this comprehensive series.)

Awakening at Littleton
J. Bottum, First Things
"If the fourth Great [spiritual] Awakening that people have been predicting since the 1970s actually occurs, it will have begun on April 20, 1999 [date of the Littleton school killings], and Cassie Bernall will be its martyr, its catalyst, and its patron saint."

Faith Forged in Fire
John Gram
Text of a speech that John Gram, a high-schooler, gave in 1998 about the things he was learning as he dealt with his mother's impending death. John's experience shows that good can come from suffering as we allow our faith to grow in the midst of it.

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