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
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
When the Good Guys Don't Win
"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?
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
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."
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
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.
Go here to see our past Special Focus features.