The question of evil is a common hot button topic among atheists and non-Christians who attempt to disprove Christianity. They argue that an omnipotent and omniscient God cannot exist in a world with so much evil. The argument is used by them to try to prove that Christianity is “internally self-contradictory and thereby to be rejected.” Many claim that a benevolent and caring God would certainly not create evil or allow it to flourish in the world that He created. So, the problem of evil is how to explain that there can be a perfect, all-powerful, and all-loving God that exists in a world with so much moral and natural evil.
First, natural and moral evil need to be distinguished from one another. Natural evil is defined as “evil which occurs in the process of the functioning of the natural order.” People are not responsible for these happenings; they are simply the victims and no one is to blame. The devastation that resulted from Hurricane Sandy is a perfect example of such evil, along with other problems such as cancer and earthquakes. Moral evil, on the other hand, is defined as “evil produced by activities of moral agents.” This evil stems from intentional action, such as murder, stealing, and adultery. Natural evil is part of the consequences of moral evil that resulted from the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
The vast amount of evil that exists in the world is not because God created it, but because man allowed it. Man was not was not created by God with a built in evil nature; he was created with a free will that was exercised to purposefully sin. God gave Adam a choice whether to do right or wrong and he failed. The moment Adam chose to sin in the Garden of Eden the rest of the human race would be born in sin, too. God did not force this choice on Adam but allowed him to have complete free will. God is wholly benevolent and did not create evil; man brought it into the world by his sinful actions.
Adam’s wrongdoing also brought condemnation the perfect world God created. Natural evils like illness and natural disasters are a direct result from the moral evil that man commits. Just as this God-given free will brought sin into the world, though, it gives us the chance to show our true love for God. He did not leaves us hopeless and abandoned when sin entered the world; He offers us a way of escape through His son Jesus Christ. There will always be evil in this world until Christ returns in glory one day. The evil that exists, both moral and natural, are not created by God but are a direct result of man abusing his free will and choosing wrongly.
Gerstner, J. H.. “Evil.” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. E. Walter A Elwell. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001. 384-385. Print.
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