If God planned everything, why did He plan for really bad things to happen?
The Christian Response:
The "Problem of Evil" is a philosophical stumbling block for many people. Many atheists attack biblical creation on philosophical grounds. The primary questions atheists pose are: "If God is real, and God created everything, why did He create evil?" "Why did a personal, loving God create a world in which evil exists?" "Why did God give man freedom to commit evil acts?" Atheists reason, "Surely, an all-knowing God of love would not allow evil to exist in His world."
The response to the foregoing is summed up in God's nature and His desire for mankind. Look at the logic: How could God allow for love without the potential for evil? God could have created robots that do nothing more than forever say, "I love you, I love you, I love you." But such creatures would be incapable of a real love relationship. Love is a choice, and the Bible says God desires a real love relationship with His creation. Love is not real unless was have the ability to not love. One of God's attributes is omniscience. God knew that in a world with choice, there would be much evil -- to choose not to love is evil by definition. However, there would also be the capacity for real love. Philosopher Alvin Plantinga writes, "An all loving, all powerful, all knowing Being could permit as much evil as He pleased without forfeiting His claim to being all loving, so long as for every evil state of affairs He permits there is an accompanying greater good". The potential for love out weighs the existence of evil, especially if evil can only exist for a time. Evil is a side effect of love. Suffering and death are a side effect of evil (Romans 5:12). God says in His Bible that this side effect is only for a time. Evil serves the limited purpose of establishing real love relationships between creation and the Creator, and evil will be done away with after that purpose is achieved. "And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever" (I John 2:17).
The Ex-Chrisitan Rebuttal:
Okay, let's examine the so called logic of this interesting post. The writer seems to be saying that love and evil are mutually exclusive. However from the pen of the New Testament writer of Luke it plainly says: "For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them." Luke 6:32 Apparently the wicked are capable of love. Another thought that comes to my mind is that although my wife and I love each other very much, neither of us care about other men and women in that way. I have no such emotion when it comes to the rest of the women in the world, and she has no such interest in other men. I also very much love my children, but other people's children rarely enter my thoughts. The writer above is saying that for GOD or people to experience love, then evil has to be in the world. I can't help but wonder if I am evil then, since I do not love every other person in the world. Why is it so impossible to imagine the likelihood of someone not loving GOD without being evil. Why couldn't GOD create creatures with the capacity of either loving Him or not, without them also being wicked in the process?
One of the attributes of GOD is that he never changes. "For I am the LORD, I change not" Malachi 3:6 Since He never changes, what changed that he somehow at some point decided he needed people to love and be loved by? Oh, and I wasn't aware that GOD needed anything at all. I was under the impression that GOD was without needs, wants or desires. A desire implies a lack of something in a person. If I desire a meal, it is likely that I lack enough nutrition for the day. I desire things because I need things. I preceive that I lack something and therefore strive to fill that lack. Apparently GOD doesn't have enough love in the threesome of the Trinity. I would have to agree that real love is only real if it is accompanied by the capacity to not love. However, as I tried to communicate above, the ability to not love someone does not immediately equate to evil in my mind. I do not love lots of people, but I do not therefore hate them and wish all manner of evil on them. I just really do not see the correlation the writer is trying to draw between love and evil.
This is the way I see God's love. God loves a person. The person is not interested for whatever reason. God feels like his love has been spurned. God demonizes the person who is just not interested in his love and calls him or her evil. God gets his panties all in a wad and throws the poor bastard in hell to rot in eternal torment forever and ever.
Think about it. Pretend I have a woman who is interested in being my lover. She is a nice person, attractive, smart, and has a thousand other excellent qualities. However, she is just not my type, so I do not return her affections. Now her love for me turns to hatred. She views me as horribly evil, and she claims I have broken her heart. She says she doesn't want to see me in an early grave, so gives me the chance to repent and love her. She threatens me with terrible consequences if I don't love her back.
Am I evil or is she nuts?
Am I evil or is the Christian idea of God totally f--cked?
God, being all powerful, could just as easily have created a world where people were allowed to choose to love him or not without it resulting in all sorts of disease, death, pain, hatred, evil, and so on. This being so, then I conclude that either GOD is a deranged lunatic, or He just doesn't exist at all.
What do you think?
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)