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Why Does Evil Exist? Part 2

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   August 10, 2008

Why Does Evil Exist? Part 2

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   August 10, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    A few months ago—May 2008—Maria Sue, the 5-year-old adopted daughter of Contemporary Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman, was tragically killed in the driveway of the Chapmans’ home. Her big brother, Will Franklin, was driving down the drive way and Maria Sue—excited to see him—ran into the path of the SUV and somehow Will never saw her until it was too late. The Chapmans are struggling through their grief and have bravely appeared on Good Morning America and the Larry King Live TV programs. Their message of hope in the midst of suffering is truly inspirational.

B.    As my family and I watched the Larry King interview I knew it was coming—the inevitable question from Larry King or a phone caller or an email: “How could a good God let this happen?” And—sure enough—it came…twice! It is one of the most common questions non-Christians ask of us and—to be quite honest—it is a legitimate one.

C.    It’s hard to see why this is not a great contradiction. It is a question I’ve asked and I can only assume it is one you have also asked. And I believe we not only need to understand the Biblical answers, but we need to be ready to help others understand.

D.    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).

E.     The Bible does answer the question of evil, but we must never be less than gentle or reverent when talking with people about this subject. The people around us who have witnessed the evil and suffering of this world 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 we started last week looks somewhat complex, but again, 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.

B.    I want to acknowledge the work of Ken Boa and Larry Moody—this outline was adapted from their book called I’m Glad You Asked. I encourage you to read the entire book.

C.    Review last week quickly—up to and including “God = evil”.

D.    [ If time, end with How to Suffer: 1) God doesn’t expect you to enjoy it—it’s okay to be honest; 2) Develop a Christian perspective—if God allows it, it will ultimately be good; 3) Remember Christ’s example, rejoice not in the pain, but in the privilege of sharing in Christ’s sufferings—He did not surrender to fear, but persevered in doing God’s will, knowing that suffering is temporary. ]


3. Theist: God exists, and evil exists.  
God   >  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. Thus, God created us with the potential to sin and introduce evil into the world; to corrupt that which was “very good” (Gen 1:31)—could have created us without free will, but we would have been loveless robots who did not reflect the image of God  To eliminate actual evil, God must eliminate POTENTIAL evil, or actual returns. ·        EX: Noah After flood, potential for sin on the ark—wasn’t long before sin was once again rampant!·        To remove the evil of hurricanes and tornadoes, God would have to remove rain, hot air and cold air.·        To end drownings, God would have to remove water.·        To end heart attacks, God would have to remove McDonald’s·        To make sure that no more little five-year-old girls were killed by SUVs, God would have to remove all SUVs.
Man’s choice to SIN caused evil. Consequences are short-term and long-term. ·        See Gen 3:14-19: Curse (“binding” from blessing) created short-term consequences for serpent/Eve/Adam (shame, pain, difficulty; ruined relationships with God, each other) and long-term consequences (kicked out of Garden, death)·        Rom 8:18-22: Even the ground; the earth was cursed which explains natural evil—at least in part (Rom 8)·        Rev 22:3: Someday, the curse will end·        Man’s sin initiated sin and continues to be the source of much pain and suffering:Ø      sometimes our own sin choices cause us sufferingØ      persistent sin brings God’s discipline (Heb 12:6-11) sometimes even death (1 Cor 11:30); Giver of life has the right to take itØ      sometimes suffering indirect result of our own sin (laziness usually leads to poverty)Ø      sometimes suffering caused by others’ sin (abuse)Ø      sometimes suffering caused indirectly by sin of another (parents divorce, children suffer)Ø      sometimes God allows us to suffer to build our character (James 1:2-3)—builds our defenses against sinØ      this highlights the fact that God can and does bring about good from evil and suffering; pain can be good (ask a leper); warns of danger
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 and John 3:18-19·        Another thing we sometimes forget or fail to understand is that death is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. Yes, it’s painful and frightening, but the worst thing that can happen to someone is to die without Christ—eternal separation from God.·        Sometimes God allows us to suffer to get our attention—so that we will either trust Him and be saved or to get us back on track. Why evil? We don’t always know. We can’t always explain it away, but what we do know for sure is that God is a perfectly good Father, so He wants to end evil. And God is the all-powerful Lord of all, so He can end evil. So, someday—we can be certain—He will end evil/suffering.[ If time, list “How to Suffer” on back of handout ]Video clip—segment from Larry King; first Steven with Maria Pray. 
Man has another choice: accept or reject God’s SOLUTION. (The Gospel) Adapted from I’m Glad You Asked, Boa & Moody, Victor Books: Wheaton, pp.235-44. Adapted by Shaun LePage, October 15, 1997.

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