If God Exists, Why is There Evil and Suffering in the World?
Why does God allow Evil and Suffering?
EVIL AND SUFFERING
Probably one of the largest hurdles for Christians and atheist is due to the insurmountable evil and incalculable suffering present in our world. We often hear and read the news about people tragically dying from an uncontrolled fire, a mother and her baby drowning, or innocent kids being killed in school from an open fire. It's very difficult to imagine how God would allow all of this to exist much more blame him for not putting an end to this. It's even more difficult to reconcile how evil and God can both exist. When we look around it's not difficult to distinguish that evil is happening all the time and increasingly growing because we are affected by it everyday. The purpose of this is to discuss why evil and suffering exists and does it disprove God's existence? Before we discuss that, we must clearly define evil. Evil for once, is not a physical thing and in a sense, is not created. It's the absence of goodness. Evil is not some black shadowy cloud that lurks above us causing us to sin. It is like a donut hole. A donut hole is not really a physical thing that exists but is due to the lack of matter in the middle of the donut. That condition exists when something is taken away. Cold is the absence of heat, dark is the absence of light, and sin is the absence of holiness. So evil is neither a physical thing nor a thing that God created. It is a condition due to sin. So since sin exists then can God exist? It's very common for someone to use the classical argument: God either is unwilling to prevent evil or unable to prevent evil because it exists? The popular thinking usually evolves to something like this:
1. God is all-powerful, loving, and perfect
2. A perfect, loving God would create a universe that was perfect (eg, no evil and suffering)
3. The universe is not perfect but contains evil and suffering.
Therefore, God does not exist
Now a few problems posits with this claim. First and foremost, the presence of evil does not prove that God does not exist. Both can co-exist without contradicting each other. I want to illustrate that by following the following: ….
1. Barbers cut, style, and groom hair
2. There are people out there with shaggy and unclean hair.
3. Therefore barbers do not exist
See where I'm coming from? Just like messy hair, evil does not mean that God does not exist. Then one might take it to the next step and say, "Then why does God allow evil to happen and not stop it?" Now there posits another problem with this question and we will closely examine that. The answer lies with the concept of FREE WILL and misunderstanding of it. Free will is the most loving act of all and God is all love. We know that forced love is not real love. It's like forcing someone to marry someone at the altar. Now, is that real love? Of course it is not.
So now let's go back to the answer. In order for God to stop all evil, he would have to interfere with one's own will. What if someone wanted to commit murder by their own free will? If God stopped them, He would then be violating His own love for us and His gift of Free Will. Let's take it a step back further- which evil then should God stop: some of it or all of it? Evil is evil no matter what shape, form, or degree including an evil thought. Evil actions are born from evil thoughts. In order for evil to not exist, God would have to program our minds to never think evil and remove our freedom of thought. Essentially we would be nothing more that robots with only one choice available: to make the right choice only! But once again, that would not make us humans and that would not be authentic love. If you cause someone to make a specific choice than that choice is no longer free. God loved us so much that he gave us a choice to love Him back or not, to believe Him so or not.
Another problem with that is who is to say that God allowed all evil? You can prove this right now through a simple project. Look at a pen and pick it up …. now was God responsible for you picking up that pen or did you make a choice and committed the action? It was all your choice. Part of evil that occurs is because of a self made choice. God did not cause that guy to drink too much alcohol on a party Friday night and then caused him to drive home that resulted in killing someone by accident. It was certainly his choice and choices have a consequence of suffering or non-suffering.
Blaming God for someone's evil is like blaming parents for giving birth to their child that great up and later on wave birth to another child that committed such an atrocity! So who is to blame: The parents, or their parents, or their parents? You might as well not have kids at all to prevent a potential suffering for them and for others in the future right?
If God is all powerful, then He would prefer to create a perfect world than a world full of evil …
Now, that is not necessarily true because of the hidden assumption and misunderstanding that the objector has made that an all powerful God can just create any possible world. All powerful does not mean you can do logical impossibilities such as create a round square. God is all good, all love. God can not sin and can not break His own promise. He never violates his own nature and grants us Free will. With free will comes the potential to choose evil. It is logically impossible to create a physical world with free will and does not have the potential for sin to come into fruition. Even a beautiful hand-crafted vase has a potential to break and shatter but that does not mean that its created state is not perfect. Rathermore, just because God did not do something does not prove that He does not exist. If you did not want to lift your left hand, does that mean you do not exist?
Inconsistency of the argument
If evil is evidence that God does not exist then the opposite has to be true. "If good exist, then God has to exist" right? That alone is not sufficient evidence and only proves that evil does not permit God from existing. Once again evil itself is not evidence that dismisses God's existence.
Why does God allow suffering?
A fallacy is that if all evil in the world was removed, there would only be good consequences. That is not necessarily true. We do not know that. But one should know that both pain and suffering is not all definitely bad. Another possibility is that God uses pain and suffering to help us grow and to forge us into excellence. For example: there comes a point where parents can no longer tend to their child's bruises and oches, and that child must not grow and becomes tempered from mistakes, suffering, and growing pains. Virtue could not exist and have any value if evil did not exist. You can not be considered virtuous or moral unless you are tested with evil. Besides, if God removed all the pain and suffering in this world, we would all have spoiled brats having our own ways. CS Lewis puts it in this perspective: God is like a surgeon who operates on us and knows best on how to heal us. The entire surgical process is painful but we will be all right at the end. If God stopped in the middle of the surgery then all of that pain was in vain. Also, suffering and pain is sometimes necessary. Imagine a world where you never experienced pain. Every time you placed your hands above a flame you could not feel pain. You could burn to death. Finally, by definition, God has the attributes of all-knowing so He knows the final outcome and purpose as we are limited. We might not see the purpose for evil then and there or at all, but if God is all knowing and all loving, then He is in full control.
THE PERFECT CURE:
Based on what I have discussed so far, there is only 3 cures that could remedy evil and suffering in this world.
Cure 1: Eliminate mankind
Cure 2: Eliminate our ability to do evil
Cure 3: Provide us a way to be holy and give us the ability to do good so eliminating or minimizing evil
I'm not going to further emphasize on cure 2, or even bring up cure # 1. But I am going to leave it up to you to think about if cure # 3 was already in motion.