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2008-08-03_Why Does Evil Exist - Part 1_various_SL

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Why Does Evil Exist?

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   August 3, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    Breakfast—Josiah’s 5-year-old body with full-size Darth Vader helmet; pretend evil can be funny

B.    Author Ronald Nash has written that “the most serious challenge to theism was, is, and will continue to be the problem of evil.”

C.    Perhaps this is why—the oldest book of the Bible (which many believe is Job)—deals with the problem of suffering and pain and God’s sovereignty over it: Because ever since the Fall, man has struggled with the problem of evil.

D.    All of us—at one time or another—have struggled with why God allows evil and why He doesn’t end it—a struggle common to man:

1.         The prophet Habakkuk complained, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?” (Habakkuk 1:13).

2.         Psalm 94:1-7

3.         My own conversations—a family member, a young man after a youth meeting in Texas; read this on-line recently from a young woman: “My great grandmother is 100 years old, a whole entire centry...and she has to be suffering a million times worse than I am. She can't move on her own, she can't see, she can't remember where she is or what her name is even. That must be the epitimy of crapy living. How can god just let that happen? I just don't get it, and I can't believe that god is caring, if even real. I will also say that if god is real, he is certainly mean and unfair and wants us to be miserable.”

E.     Ever talked to that person? If not, you will. I want to help you today to be ready. Peter told us, “…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…” (1 Peter 3:15).

F.     The Bible answers the question of evil, but we must never be less than gentle or reverent when talking with people about this subject. Young people who watch their grandparents suffer and die, parents whose hearts are broken from the loss of a child, soldiers who return from war with their minds broken from the horrors they have seen need the truth—to be sure. But they need us to gently apply it like medicine. We need to step into their pain with sandals removed, walking reverently on sacred ground because many meet God there.

II.     After speaking of the sovereignty of God a couple times recently, I felt it would be helpful to deal with the inevitable question: “If God is sovereign, why does evil exist?” If God is the all-good and all-powerful Lord of the universe, why does the universe seem completely out of control and full of every kind of wickedness, evil, pain and suffering?

A.    The outline—if you choose to take notes this morning—will look somewhat complex, but my hope is that when we are done you will be able to use it as a tool to walk others through a Biblical answer to the question. In fact, I hope you will be able to use this tool not just today or this week but any time in the future (so it is detailed—try to get through today, if not finish it up next week).

B.    I first used this outline about 11 years ago, after reading an excellent book by Ken Boa and Larry Moody called I’m Glad You Asked. I adapted the entire book to a small-group study and have found it to be very helpful to many people. I encourage you to read the entire book and I want to acknowledge the work of Ken Boa and Larry Moody—a book that has been so helpful to me as I’ve struggled with and taught through some of the major objections to Christianity.

1. Atheist: EVIL exists,but GOD doesn’t.
The Atheist’s Classical Proposition:1) If God is all-good, He will end evil.2) If God is all-powerful, He can end evil.3) But evil is not destroyed.4) So, there is NO all-good, all-powerful God.
3. Theist: God exists, and evil exists. 
God  <  evil
Adapted from I’m Glad You Asked, Boa & Moody, Victor Books: Wheaton, pp.235-44. Adapted by Shaun LePage, October 15, 1997.
2. Pantheist: GOD exists,but EVIL doesn’t.
But, there are other possible conclusions:1) God is all-powerful, but not all-GOOD. But, see Psalm 25:8;  and John 10:14, etc.2) God is all-good, but not all-POWERFUL. But, see Jeremiah 32:17 and Mark 4:35-41, etc.3) God is all-good and all-powerful, but CHOOSES not to eliminate evil.
If Conclusion #3 is true, the Proposition can be restated:1) If God is all-good, He will end evil.2) If God is all-powerful, He can end evil.3) But evil is not destroyed.4) So, evil will be destroyed SOMEDAY. See Revelation 21:4. 
See “Does God Exist?” as a reminder of the weakness of atheism. 
Hinduism is pantheistic (God is all and all is God) and teaches that evil is anILLUSION. Rope Illustration: You think it’s a snake until you get closer; not evil, we just have a false perception of it.
In America, this view is held by Christian SCIENCE--a cult.Mary Baker Eddy: Material world and flesh is evil; illness is in the mind, spiritual is the only reality 
Objections:1) To accept it, one must deny his own SENSES. This is to deny reality.2) To accept it, one must deny SCIENTIFIC evidence. This is to deny life as we know it. 3) To accept it, one must deny LEGAL-historical evidence. This is to deny centuries of documented facts.4) To accept it, one must deny the BIBLE. This is to deny the God of the Bible. See Psalm 51:2-5 and Galatians 5:19-26, etc.Atheism and pantheism clearly fail to give good explanations for the existence of evil.  
God   =  evil
God   >  evil
This belief is FINITISM.
A False Presupposition:Because God has not destroyed evil, He is UNABLE to destroy evil.
A Hopeless Situation:There would be no assurance that good will win over evil if God has LESS power.
An Unbiblical Position:More than 50 times, the Bible declares that God is all-mighty. It also says God will defeat evil someday. See Revelation 20:10.
This belief is DUALISM.YIN-YANG 
Presupposition #1:Nothing can be the SOURCE of its opposite.
This is false, because:1) Evil CAN occur out of good. Medicine overdose2) Absolute co-EQUAL power is illogical. Irresistible Force vs. Immovable Object—one is false!3) It is UNBIBLICAL. See Isaiah 45:5.
Presupposition #2:If God and evil have not co-existed forever, then God must have CAUSED evil.
This belief is BIBLICAL.
Two questions about evil:
Causation:Why did God ALLOW evil?
Cessation:Why hasn’t He  ENDED evil?
Man was created with free WILL
Man’s choice to SIN caused evil. Consequences are short-term and long-term. See Gen 3:14-19 & Rev 22:3.Curse on creation explains natural evil
Man has a choice: accept or reject God’s SOLUTION.(The Gospel)
To eliminate actual evil, God must eliminate POTENTIAL evil, or actual returns. Noah
God promises to end evil, so the question is not “Will He?” but “WHEN will He?”
God is PATIENT so BELIEVE!2 Peter 3:7-9; John 3:18-19 
This is false, because:1) Evil is not a THING. It is the corruption of what is good (e.g., blind eyes).2) It is UNBIBLICAL. See Genesis 1:31.
Aquinas: a thing is called evil because it lacks a perfection it should have; to lack sight is evil in man, but not in a stone 
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