Apologetic Answers to the Problem of Evil
The question of “If GOD, why evil” is a constant concern among nonbelievers. And, rightfully so, I might add. Think about it. You’d probably feel the same way if you didn’t know GOD, His word, and the Holy Spirit was not in you. If GOD is a good god, then why does He allow evil to happen to people? Wouldn’t a loving GOD protect His children from all evil? That’s what parents do, right? And while there may be no perfect answer to If GOD, why evil, maybe this will help.
I have a good friend who is an atheist. Every now and then we get into conversations about GOD, Jesus, or the Bible. And his biggest objection to the existence of GOD has been the existence of evil. I’ve walked him through several different answers from C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, Alvin Plantinga and others. I’ve mentioned that without good there would be no evil. I’ve told him it is humanity’s free will that is the cause of evil. I’ve shared that evil’s days are numbered and one day, GOD will put a final end to evil. I’ve told him that GOD has provided an answer to evil in the past with the Law, and in the present with Jesus. If the ancients had simply followed the Ten Commandments and Old Testament moral laws, almost all evil would have been eradicated. Today, if everyone in the world just followed the teachings of Jesus there would be very little evil. I’ve argued that his atheism doesn’t solve the problem of evil, it just sweeps it under the rug. And while he’s appreciated these answers (in a sense) they haven’t been totally satisfying to him.
Parenthood and the Problem of Evil
But the other day it finally occurred to me to ask him a new question. You see, this friend is a great dad. He adores his four kids. He dotes on them. He was at all their births, he’s been their little league coach, and been at all their plays and recitals. So, it occurred to me to ask him this, “Bob (not his real name) what would you do if your 10-year-old son Bobby (not his real name) came up to you and asked, ‘Hey dad, you knew how evil the world is when you and mom decided to have me. You knew the pain and evil I might have to go through. You knew the world was not a perfect place, but you still decided to have me. Why?’ What would you say?”
He was stunned for a bit, but then he stammered, “Well um, I guess I would say that me and his mom just wanted to have kids.”
“Yeah, but why did you want to have kids,” I replied. “In fact, you knew your kids could actually bring evil into your own life. You knew they could, and most likely would create a lot of grief and possibly suffering in your own life. And yet you still decided to have them. Why?”
“Well, I guess because we knew we would love them. And we hoped they would love us,” Bob said. “Exactly!” I said.
GOD Loves His Kids Too
I continued, “A person could argue that you are a bad person because you knew there was evil in the world, but you still decided to bring helpless defenseless babies into it. You knew they would encounter evil, that they’d be hurt, or worse. But you still had children because you felt it was worth it for the sake of love. Love motivated you to bring your children into a fallen world. You wanted your children to not just experience love, but to experience your love. You wanted to love them, unconditionally, because in a sense you loved them even before they were born. And it is exactly the same with GOD! Moms and dads still have kids despite the real presence of evil in the world. They do so, because they feel their children will be able to experience life itself. And they will get to experience their love. God feels the same way.
And I concluded with this, “Every time you see your kids I want you to think about that. Every time you pick them up, cuddle on the couch with them, put them down at night – I want you to think about this. You have to remember that all GOD wants is to connect with you spiritually. He simply wants to be in your life. That’s it.”
While my friend has not become a Christian yet, the other day he said something to me that has gotten me praying even more fervently for him. He said, “You know Don, I’ve thought about what you said. It’s become a reflex. Every time I see, hear, or hang with my kids I think, ‘I chose you because I love you.’ And the GOD thing seems more understandable to me now.”
Pray for my friend. (You call him Bob too. GOD knows who you mean.) Pray that in understanding GOD’s love for him, he will put down his guard and begin a relationship with Him.