Pain and sorrow has devastated our world as earthquakes, tornadoes, and the endless war on terrorism has taken the lives of thousands. Misery and suffering are widespread. We see no end to all this misfortune and see signs it may get worse. People are crying out to God and asking why? How much more do we have to endure? If you exist why aren’t you doing something about my pain?
The problem of evil and suffering many say is the greatest challenge to the Christian worldview. How can a good God allow such gratuitous evil? Atheists use this issue to argue against the existence of God. They feel this is their strongest case against Christianity.
My challenge is to show that existence of evil is not incompatible with an all-loving and all-knowing God. I will do this over a series of posts. There are basically two approaches to dealing with the problem of evil.
- Intellectual problem of evil: This involves giving a rational answer to the problem of evil. This can involve answering a skeptic or someone trying to demonstrate Christianity is false. However, to give an intellectual answer to someone suffering from the loss of a loved one or a crippling accident, you will be viewed as cold and uncaring. These individuals need counseling and care, not an academic answer to evil.
- Emotional problem of evil: This deals with how to meet the needs of those who are suffering. More appropriate for the pastor, counselor, or an individual willing to listen to their pain. This is a message of comfort much more than answers. However, if you were to answer the intellectual or the skeptic with words about a loving and comforting God you are likely to be viewed as superficial and lacking real answers. They are looking for a rational answer for why evil exists.
I will not directly deal with the emotional problem of evil. I will be writing to answer challenges to the Christian faith. If you have deep seated emotional issues, this post may not meet your needs. I want to apologize before I get started. However, my hope is I may help you find comfort in the answers I give. Many times if our mind gets real answers healing take place in the heart.
My focus will be the intellectual problem of evil. As just stated my goal is not to separate mind and heart but to demonstrate they work together and real answers do give real comfort. Evil is real and strikes us at our core; to not feel emotions, even when dealing with the problem from an intellectual perspective I believe is truly cold and uncaring. Suffering is never easy and all of us have gone through some tragedy in our lives that bring up painful memories. Perhaps this is why you are reading. My hope is I will meet your spiritual, intellectual, and emotional needs in this series.
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