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Why does God let bad things happen to good people? Are there any good people? Am I asking the wrong questions? Why does God let good things happen to bad people? How do I explain God


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Title: Why does God let bad things happen to good people? Are there any good people? Am I asking the wrong questions? Why does God let good things happen to bad people? How do I explain God

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Why does God let bad things happen to good
people? Are there any good people? Am I asking
the wrong questions? Why does God let good things
happen to bad people? How do I explain Gods
goodness in light of human suffering? Does evil
disprove Gods existence? Is God willing to stop
evil but unable? Or is God able but
unwilling? Are my choices the cause of my
suffering? Is God punishing me? Does God
care about me in the pit of my suffering?
Such are the questions that we are faced
with when encountering suffering.
  • The problem of evil is the most
    serious problem in the
  • -Peter Kreeft, Philosopher

Earthquake in China, Chile
Al-Qaeda -- Osama bin Laden, We love
death. The U.S. loves life. That is the
difference between the two. http//www.brainyq
"Rwanda is clinically dead as a nation.

Black Death
Virginia Tech
Jordan NGU
My friend, Dylan died in a car accident at 18
years old
Elie Wiesel, Night
  • How in a time in which Auschwitz existed in any
    life with God possible? The strangeness has
    become too cruel, the hidden ness too deep. One
    can still believe in the God who permitted to
    happen what did happen, but can one still speak
    to him? Can one still call upon him? Do we dare
    to recommend the Job of the gas-chambers to the
    survivors of Auschwitz Call upon him, for he is
    good and his mercy endureth forever?
  • Kornelius H. Miskotte, When the Gods are Silent,
    translated by John W. Doberstein, (London
    Collins, 1967), 248-249.

Elie Wiesel, Night
  • Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel remembers, as a
    sixteen year old, his reaction upon seeing Nazi
    guards hang a seven year old boy
  • Some of the men spoke of God His mysterious
    ways, the sins of the Jewish people, and the
    redemption to come. As for me, I had ceased to
    pray. I concurred with Job! I was not denying His
    existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.
  • Elie Wiesel, Night, translated by Marion Wiesel
    (New York Hill and Wang, 1958, 2006), 45.

The Problem of Evil 2-fold
  • Logical Problem of Evil
  • How to give a rational explanation of the
    co-existence of God and evil. - Greg Welty
  • 2) Emotional Problem of Evil
  • How to comfort those who are suffering and how to
    dissolve the emotional dislike people have of a
    God who would permit such evil. - William Lane
  • Greg Welty, The Logical Argument-01, God
    Evil-PHREL 4383 (Fort Worth, TX Southwestern
    Baptist Theological Seminary, 2007), 3.
  • http//www.bethinking.org/suffering/advanced/the-p
  • http//www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion

Logical Problem of Evil Epicurus
  • God either wishes to take away evils, and is
    unable or he is able and unwilling or he is
    neither willing nor able, or he is both willing
    and able. If he is willing and is unable, he is
    feeble, which is not in accordance with the
    character of God if he is able and unwilling, he
    is envious, which is equally at variance with
    God if he is neither willing nor able he is both
    envious and feeble, and therefore not God if he
    is both willing and able, which alone is suitable
    to God, from what source then are evils? Or why
    does he not remove them?
  • Epicurus, Greek Philosopher (341-270 B.C.)
  • William Dyrness, Christian Apologetics in a World
    Community (Downers Grove, Ill. Inter-Varsity,
    1983), 153.

Logical Problem of Evil David Hume
  • Epicurus old questions are yet unanswered. Is
    he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is
    he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he
    is malevolent. Is he both able and willing?
    Whence then is evil?
  • Richard Popkin, Dialogues Concerning Natural
    Religion (Indianapolis Hackett Publishing,
    1980), 63.

Logical Problem of Evil J.L. Mackie, former
atheist philosopher (1917-1981)
  • In its simplest form the problem is this God is
    omnipotent God is wholly good and yet evil
    exists. There seems to be some contradiction
    between these three propositions, so that if any
    two of them were true the third would be false.
    But at the same time all three are essential
    parts of most theological positions the
    theologian, it seems, at once must adhere
    and cannot consistently adhere to all three.
  • J.L. Mackie, Evil and Omnipotence, in, The
    Problem of Evil Oxford Readings in Philosophy,
    ed. Marilyn McCord Adams and Robert Merrihew
    Adams (New York Oxford University Press, 1990),

How can God exist when there is so much suffering
  • Evil exists
  • God is all-powerful
  • God is all-good
  • Yet evil still exists
  • God is either not all-powerful or fully good. For
    if he had the power to stop evil and He doesnt,
    then He is not all good.
  • Or if God desires to stop evil but cannot, we
    must assume He is fully good but not
  • - Rabbi Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to
    Good People. (1981), concludes that even God
    cannot stop every disaster.

Preeminent questionWhat is the purpose of life?
If circumstantial happiness then God has failed.
However, if it is the knowledge of God and a
relationship with God, then suffering is not
necessarily a defeater for Gods existence. It is
possible for God to use evil for this latter end.
The Purpose of Life
  • Crucial questions on the logical problem of evil
  • 1) Who determines the purpose of life?
    Ecclesiastes 1211-12
  • The character/attributes of the Creator of life
    determines the point of life 1211
  • Education without God ends in hopelessness
    depression 1212
  • 2) What is the purpose of life? Ecclesiastes
  • If happiness, then suffering is evidence against
    Gods existence. Happiness God has failed

The Purpose of Life
  • There are certain instances of suffering that
    are utterly impossible to produce happiness that
    are not useless in producing the knowledge of
    God. William Lane Craig

Mankind is in a state of rebellion against God
thus, the Christian is not surprised at the
terrible evils in the world because of man's
depravity as evidenced by Scripture and common
experienceChristian theology reports doctrines
that significantly increase the probability of
evil and suffering coexisting with the existence
of God. The point of life is not happiness but
the knowledge of God which, in the end, will
produce ultimate human Flourishing. There are
certain instances of suffering that are utterly
impossible to produce happiness that are not
useless in producing the knowledge of God.
- William Lane Craig The Problem of
Evil, ibid.
  • Christian theology provides the most accurate
    picture of humanity the world. If Christianity
    properly diagnoses the problem, if were
    open-minded, it may be that Christianity provides
    insights into and even answers to the problem of
    evil. Simply put, the Christian answer is
    crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Hinduism
    denies evil. Buddhism recognizes it but directs
    one to look internally and thus, severs one from
    the outside world. Animistic religions are in
    enslaved magic and the bizarre chain of causation
    it entails. New Age totally bypasses the issue of
    the heart and scientism only reveals that
    scientific advance has given us more adept tools
    at slaughtering one another, thus taking humanity
    one step closer to a science-fiction,
    Cyberdyne-dominated war of the machines where
    human life is devalued.

  • Another stumbling block for many Westerners is
    the presupposition that the point of life is
    circumstantial happiness. If this is true and
    such a telos was by Gods design then atheist and
    theist would be compelled by a basic kind of
    intellectual honesty that God has epically
    failed. A cursory reading of world history or a
    glimpse of the nightly news adds towards the
    cumulative case that the overwhelming majority of
    persons who have existed could not be considered
    as having lived happy lives, even by Aristotelian
    standards. The chief purpose of life is not
    happiness, but the knowledge of God. Hence, to
    argue against the existence of God on the grounds
    of the existence suffering is to fundamentally
    misunderstand the point of life.
  • Adapted from William Lane Craig, The Problem of
    Evil, Reasonable Faith, Accessed July 12, 2012.

The primary reason we feel so much emotional
pain when these things occur is because of our
beliefs about what happened to us. Correct
beliefs promote life, help, and peace. Incorrect
(often called irrational) beliefs eventually
cause great pain and suffering. - Gary Habermas
Gary Habermas, Why is God Ignoring Me? (Carol
Stream, IL Tyndale, 2010), 109.
  • If holiness/knowledge of God is the point of life
    then suffering is not necessarily evidence
    against Gods existence.
  • The writer of Ecclesiastes summarizes the point
    of human life as, Fear God keep His
    commandments (Ecclesiastes 1213). The
    Westminster Confession expresses the same thought
    as follows?
  • Q What is the whole duty of man?
  • A To glorify God enjoy Him forever.

What the atheist must demonstrate to prove a
logical problem from evil
  • I. Prove that God and evil are incompatible.
  • At the forefront of Plantingas argument is the
    tacit assumption of atheists who uncritically
    accept the inherent contradictoriness of God and
    evil and make no attempt whatever to show that
    it is. . . . The atheist must first show why God
    and evil are incompatible in order to argue from
    that premise.
  • Alvin Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil (New
    York Harper and Row, 1974), 22-23.

  • John Feinberg writes, Theists should require
    atheists to offer an instance of suffering which
    they can prove is genuinely pointless. That will
    be a hard challenge to meet, especially because
    of our limited knowledge. Atheists wont likely
    do better than produce some evidence that a
    specific evil is probably genuinely pointless,
    but probably pointless isnt enough to answer
    Reichenbachs objection about question begging.
  • John S. Feinberg, The Many Faces of Evil
    Theological Systems and the Problem of Evil
    (Wheaton Crossway, 2004), 235.

  • Probability and the problem of evil, probability
    depends upon what background information you
  • A. Gods existence provides the best explanation
    as to why the universe exists.
  • B. Gods existence provides the best explanation
    to the order found in the universe.
  • C. Gods existence provides the best explanation
    for moral values in the world.

Question What is the burden of proof for the
argument from the logical problem of evil?
  • You must prove the impossibility of God using
    evil to bring about a greater good.
  • Q What was the result of Jesus suffering?
  • A According to the Christian gospel, Jesus
    suffering resulted in redemption for sinners.

What the atheist must demonstrate to prove a
logical problem from evil
  • II. Prove that God could have no reason for
    allowing suffering.
  • Inscrutability Do we have the access to enough
    information to make that judgment?
  • Alvin Plantinga, The theist believes that God
    has a reason for permitting evil he doesnt know
    what that reason is. But why should that mean
    that his belief is improper or irrational?
  • Alvin Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil, 11.

What the atheist must demonstrate to prove a
logical problem from evil
  • We are not in the position to be able to assess
    whether God has sufficient moral reasons for
    allowing suffering to exist. - William Lane
  • The Problem of Evil, ibid.

The human condition and Epistemic Access
  • Claim Just because we cant see Gods reasons
    for allowing evil doesnt mean there arent
  • Q How much information must you have in order to
    say that God COULD NOT justify allowing evil to
  • A Total knowledge/every bit of data in the
  • Q Why doesnt God let us know why He allows
    certain things to happen?
  • A Our finite minds probably would not be able to
    fully comprehend the reason/reasons.

William Alstons List of Cognitive Limitations
upon our cognitive powers, opportunities, and
  • Lack of data of the natural laws
  • Complexity greater than we can handle total
    systems of natural law seem extremely
  • Difficulty of determining what is metaphysically
    possible or necessary could you have conscious
    life without hydro-carbons or without pain?

William Alstons List of Cognitive Limitations
upon our cognitive powers, opportunities, and
  • Ignorance of the full range of possibilities
    means to ends. Atheists admit that it is possible
    for God to bring about the greater good without
    these sufferings.
  • Ignorance of the full range of values the
    progress of human knowledge in respect to
    science. If there can be ignorance for centuries
    of the physical universe, surely there could be
    complex goods from evil that we have not yet
  • Limits to our capacity to make well-considered
    value judgments
  • 07 - The Evidential Argument (Alston) God
    Evil Welty, p.4.

  • Think about the following scenario
  • 1. Fact I am a good person.
  • 2. Fact I often inflict pain on little children,
    voluntarily, and people pay me to do this, and
    they often watch me do this.
  • 3. Fact I am a dentist who does his job.
  • Point Without point 3, we could only conclude
    that the person is a moral monster who needs to
    be imprisoned, or worse.
  • Greg Welty, ibid, 3.

What the atheist must demonstrate to prove a
logical problem from evil
  • III. Prove an instance of suffering that is
    definitively pointless.
  • Even if you were able to Prove a situation of
    pointless suffering, it would be outweighed by
    all the other cases of suffering that 1) Did have
    a point or 2) cases that we couldnt rule out not
    having a point.
  • If God isnt in the equation then you cant argue
    for hope on any level. Ultimately, all is
  • William Rowes loaded dice with Bayes Theorum

Wait a minutewhat must exist for evil to exist?
Serious question for Atheists If God does not
exist then how can evilor good exist?
Moral Argument for Gods Existence
  1. Without God, evil could not exist.
  2. Evil exists.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Moral Argument for Gods Existence
  • 1) If God does not exist, objective moral
    values and duties do not exist.
  • 2) Objective moral values and duties do
  • 3) Therefore, God exists.

If God does not exist then how can evilor good
  • The fact that youre arguing against Gods
    existence on moral grounds is evidence that
    objective morality exists if objective morality
    exists then youre arguing for God, not against

Meaninglessness atheism
  • Darwinism - Life explained without God
  • In a universe of blind physical forces and
    genetic replication, some people are going to get
    hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and
    you wont find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any
    justice. The universe we observe has precisely
    the properties we should expect if there is, at
    bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no
    good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.
    - Richard DawkinsRichard Dawkins, River
    out of Eden (New York HarperCollins, 1996), 133.

What the atheist must demonstrate to prove a
logical problem from evil
  • IV. Prove the world would be better without free
    choice or natural law because much suffering
    comes from both.

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Q Why couldnt God create a good world without
the possibility of evil?
  • 1. Ability to make free choices (The Free Will
  • Trans-world depravity - a necessary byproduct of
    free will
  • Objection Why wouldnt God stop the abuse of
    Free Will?
  • Because we would be Moral monsters.

Theistic Rebuttals
  • 2. Natural Evil/Physical Laws
  • Objection God should have created a world
    insulated from natural evil
  • Q Would a world w/o natural laws be better or
  • Random acceleration of gravity. Imagine the
    random acceleration of gravity

Theistic Rebuttals The Free Will Defense
  • Plantinga also makes the case that A really
    top-notch universe requires the existence of
    free, rational, and moral agents and some of the
    free creatures He created went wrong. Simply
    put, a very strong response to the question, Why
    is there any evil at all? is Plantingas point
    that a necessary component of the best
    conceivable world includes free creatures, not
    robots, whose freedom carries the propensity for
    almost certain abuse of that freedom in some
    cases. The central value judgment of the argument
    is simply, A world containing creatures who are
    significantly free (and freely perform more good
    than evil actions) is more valuable, all else
    being equal, than a world containing no free
    creatures at all. . . .

Theistic Rebuttals
  • Moral virtues such as love, loyalty, patience,
    self control, and bravery would not be considered
    virtues if such actions were the only option. The
    atheist is then left with the option of arguing
    that God should not have created any world unless
    there was a sort of evil-free guarantee, even
    if God could bring about a greater good from the
    existence of evil. Plantinga notes, Some have
    objected to the free-will defense on the grounds
    that it presupposes that there are such things as
    counterfactuals of freedom, that they have truth
    values, and that God can know them. It is the
    atheologian, however, who really needs these
    suppositions things are easier, not harder, for
    the free-will defense if we reject these
  • Ibid, 27, 30.
  • Alvin Plantinga, Epistemic Probability and
    Evil, in, The Evidential Argument From Evil, ed.
    Daniel Howard-Snyder, 94.

Theistic Rebuttals The Free Will Defense
  • Imagine having a pain in your leg from a bruise.
    The doctor says she could eliminate the pain by
    amputating your leg. Yet, it comes at a price
    that is far too high. He is not bad because he
    refuses to amputate your leg even though he has
    the power to do so. He is not evil because he
    refuses to do this.
  • Imagine the non-existence of virtues such as
    courage, love, compassion, and generosity. These
    are virtues that we must choose to exhibit, often
    against the grain of our own self-interest. If
    choice is taken away, virtue is also taken away.
    No one praises machines for doing what they were
    programmed to do. A mechanistic humanity is no
    humanity at all.
  • - Greg Welty, ibid, 4.

Could God have created a world with no evil?
  • If so, the world wouldnt contain humans because
    humans, by nature, have the ability to choose
    between moral and immoral actions.
  • It would be a world with lower life forms or
    humanoid-machines incapable of giving or
    receiving love.

Terminator World of the robots
  • World of the robots If you fall in love with,
    are willing to die for, or have a romantic
    relationship with a robot then you need
    professional counseling.

Imagine by John Lennon
  • Imagine there's no heaven,
  • It's easy if you try,
  • No hell below us,
  • Above us only sky,
  • Imagine all the people,
  • Living for today...

Imagine theres no choice
  • How could love be possible without choice (See,
    Ecclesiastes 1213 and the Westminster
    Confession, the purpose of life)?
  • Maybe a world of choice the possibility of evil
    is better than a world of no choice no
    possibility of evil.

Free Will Defense
  • God is omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly good.
  • There is evil.
  • Gods nature leads us to believe that he has a
    good reason for creating a world that contains
  • The heart of the Free Will Defense is the claim
    that it is possible that God could not have
    created a universe containing moral good...
    without creating one that also contained moral
    evil. And if so, then it is possible that God has
    a good reason for creating a world containing
  • - Alvin Plantinga
  • God, Freedom, Evil, 31.

What Reason could God have for creating a world
containing the possibility of evil?
  • Definition before discourse
  • Moral Evil
  • What is good?

What does it mean to be truly free?
  • A creature is truly free if they can choose evil
    in any possible world.
  • A world with free creatures has more value than a
    world without free creatures who have choice.
  • Therefore, it is consistent to believe in the
    existence of God and the existence of evil.
  • But is it reasonable given the suffering evil
    in the world?

What does it mean to be truly free?
  • What is important about the idea of transworld
    depravity is that if a person suffers from it,
    then it wasnt within Gods power to actualize
    any world in which that person is significantly
    free but does no wrong - that is, a world in
    which he produces moral good but no moral evil.
    - Alvin Plantinga
  • God, Freedom, Evil, 48.

Implications of Determinism
  1. No Free Will
  2. No Responsibility
  3. No Virtue
  4. No Vice
  5. No Good
  6. No Evil
  7. No Villains
  8. No Heroes

(No Transcript)
Both would be morally equal under Hard
Determinism because neither had free will nor
true moral responsibility.
Implications of Determinism
  1. Human choice is either free, or it is not free
  2. If it is free, then the law of causality is false
  3. If it is not free, then people are not
    responsible for their actions
  4. Therefore, either the law of causality is false,
    or people are not responsible for their actions

How does Jesus answer the problem of evil?
Jesus - Luke 131-5
  • There were some present at that very time who
    told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate
    had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he
    answered them, Do you think that these Galileans
    were worse sinners than all the other Galileans,
    because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell
    you but unless you repent, you will all likewise
    perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in
    Siloam fell and killed them do you think that
    they were worse offenders than all the others who
    lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you but unless
    you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Jesus on The Problem of Evil
  • Jesus taught
  • 1) Suffering will come in a sinful world Luke
  • Moral evil Pilates slaughter of innocent
    people 133 (Moral evil is an abuse of the
    choice to act morally).
  • Half the harm in this world is due to people who
    want to feel important T.S. Eliot
  • In, Norman R. DePuy, Christian Century, 108, S,
    18-25, 1991, p. 843.
  • Natural evil Collapse of a tower (Natural evil
    is suffering coming from something outside the
    realm of human choice or negligence)) 134

Jesus on The Problem of Evil
  • Natural evil Hurricane, flood, wild animals,
    human-hating cats, etc.
  • Objection Couldnt God have tweaked natural law
    so that it would go into a different default mode
    when human suffering was about to result?
  • Response This would conceivably produce more
    suffering because natural law would be virtually
    unpredictable such as the random acceleration of
    gravity, random voice pitch inflection, random
    chemical compositions, etc.

Jesus on The Problem of Evil
  • Jesus taught
  • 2) Resist the urge to give premature solutions
    132, 4
  • Punishment theodicy (the most prevalent view)
    Most people in Jesus day thought that there was
    a direct correlation between extraordinary
    suffering and extraordinary sin. Most thought if
    you were suffering then God was specifically
    judging you for super sin 132,4
  • Jesus destroys this idea Youre all guilty

Jesus on The Problem of Evil
  • Example of the Punishment Theodicy as the
    prevalent view in 1st century Palestinian
  • Job - The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken
    away (121).
  • The Sabeans attacked (115) The fire of God
    fell from the sky (116) The Chaldeans swept
    down (1 17) A mighty wind swept in from the
    desert (119).
  • They comforted and consoled him over all the
    trouble the LORD had brought upon him (4211).
  • Point Jobs counselors erred not by attributing
    Jobs suffering to Gods sovereignty but that God
    did it to punish Job. They went beyond their
    epistemic access.

Jesus on The Problem of Evil
  • Biblical example of suffering not due to personal
  • The man born blind John 92
  • Paul bitten by a viper Acts 283-4
  • Biblical counterexamples
  • Sodom Gomorrah Genesis 18-19
  • Great Tribulation Revelation 920-21 The rest
    of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues,
    did not repent of the works of their hands nor
    give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and
    silver and bronze and stone and wood, which
    cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they
    repent of their murders or their sorceries or
    their sexual immorality or their thefts.
  • Ananias Sapphira Acts 5

The Fig Tree and YouLuke 136-9
  • 6 And he told this parable A man had a fig tree
    planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking
    fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the
    vinedresser, Look, for three years now I have
    come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find
    none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the
    ground? 8 And he answered him, Sir, let it
    alone this year also, until I dig around it and
    put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit
    next year, well and good but if not, you can cut
    it down. 

  • Unless you repent, you will all likewise
  • I say to you that likewise there will be more
    joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than
    over ninety-nine just persons who need no
    repentance. (Luke 157)

  • Q Is there a proper way to respond to tragedy?
  • 3) Tragedy should point us to Jesus Christ, the
    Savior 133,5
  • Jesus does not deny human sin He affirms it
    133,5 (para)
  • For the unbeliever Tragedy is evidence of Gods
    mercy in giving you time to repent, be saved, and
    live for Him 133,5-8
  • For the believer Tragedy is evidence of Gods
    mercy in giving you time to warn unbelievers that
    time is short 133,5-8

  • A. The example of Joseph
  • Psalm 10517 He sent a man before them, Joseph,
    who was sold as a slave.
  • Genesis 5020 You meant it for evil but God meant
    it for good in order to bring about this present
    result, to preserve many people alive.
  • One event and two different sets of intentions!
  • Joseph and famine. Had he not gone to Egypt,
    Judah and his family would have starved and the
    Messiahs line would have been extinguished,
    prophecy would have failed and God would lose the
  • Psalm 10517 He sent a man before them, Joseph,
    who was sold as a slave.

  • B. The man who was born blind
  • It was neither that this man sinned, nor his
    parents but it was so that the works of God
    might be displayed in him (John 93).

  • C. The Suffering of Job
  • The reason for his suffering was never revealed.
  • The Key to Jobs Recovery - Job 4210 The Lord
    restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for
    his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job
    had twofold.
  • D. The suffering of Jesus
  • Provided salvation forgiveness for all who
    would believe.

  • Tragedy should cause us not wonder why so many
    people died but rather, why the rest of us are
    still alive.
  • When loved ones friends die early we should
    thank God for the time that we had with them, not
    be bitter over the time we think we deserved.

  • Q Why doesnt God just destroy evil?
  • A He will but we must realize that destruction
    of evil does not exempt us. God has chosen to
    give the world time to repent. Seek His mercy
    during this window of opportunity before it
  • Charles Spurgeon, Gods mercy is so great that
    you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or
    deprive the sun of his light, or make space too
    narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God.
  • 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern
    church. 2013 (E. Ritzema E. Vince, Ed.).
    Pastorum Series. Bellingham, WA Logos Bible

  • Friday to Robinson Crusoe, Why doesnt God just
    destroy the Devil and those who do wicked
    things? Robinson Crusoe responds, Why does God
    not destroy us when we do wicked things?
  • Jesus answer is simple God is giving you time
    to repent.

Jesus on Suffering Evil Luke 131-9
  1. Tragedy does not imply punitive/special
  2. God is the judge, not humanity
  3. Humanity is on trial, not God
  4. We must give an account to God for our continued
  5. The forbearance of God circumnavigates the law of
    sin and death
  6. When seeing tragedy, one should not ask, Why did
    these people die? but rather, Why are the rest
    of us still alive?

Action Steps
  1. Understand God man
  2. Understand the purpose of life
  3. Avoid being a witch doctor
  4. Walk by faith
  5. Examine yourself What can I learn from this that
    will make me more like Christ?
  6. Repent
  7. Cry out to Jesus

Donald Whitney Pain, suffering and evil can come
from the following (10 possibilities)
  • Unwise choices or actions
  • Proverbs 836
  • 2. Sin Proverbs 13.21 1414
  • Drunkenness
  • Worry, bitterness, gluttony

Pain, suffering and evil can come from the
  • 3. Chastisement discipline from God - Heb.
  • 4. For the purpose of developing the desire to
    pursue the Lord - Ps. 11971 James 513

Pain Suffering may come from
  • 5. For the works of God to be displayed in us
    John 93
  • 6. For the purpose of perseverance Romans 53
  • For the purpose of developing the ability to
    comfort others 2 Cor. 13-6

Pain Suffering may come from
  • 8. For the purpose of Proving the genuineness of
    and strength of your faith I Peter 16-7
  • 9. For the purpose of Bringing the Gospel to
    others Ephesians 313
  • 10. For the purpose of an Ultimate Good Romans

Biblical Survey on God using Evil Suffering
  • Romans 1133-36
  • Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom
    and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His
    judgments and unfathomable His ways!

Romans 1134-36
  • 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who
    became His counselor?
  • 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be
    paid back to him again?
  • 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are
    all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

  • Q What are the all things?

Gods control over Natural Evil
  • 1. Life and death - Deuteronomy 3239
  • See now that I, I am He,
  • And there is no god besides Me
  • It is I who put to death and give life.
  • I have wounded and it is I who heal,
  • And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.

2. Disease/Physical affliction - Exodus 411
  • The Lord said to him, Who has made mans mouth?
    Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or
    blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

Lenses of Suffering
  • - Sovereign God
  • - Cosmic Force (Karma)
  • - Weak God Harold Kushner When Bad Things Happen
    to Good People
  • - Random chance

Pauls thorn in the flesh2 Corinthians 127
  • Because of the surpassing greatness of the
    revelations, for this reason, to keep me from
    exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in
    the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment meto
    keep me from exalting myself!

3. Natural Disasters
  • Psalm 10516-19 - Joseph the Egyptian famine
  • 16 And He called for a famine upon the land
  • He broke the whole staff of bread.
  • 17 He sent a man before them,
  • Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
  • 18 They afflicted his feet with fetters,
  • He himself was laid in irons
  • 19 Until the time that his word came to pass,The
    word of the Lord tested him.

4. Destructive animals
  • 2 Kings 1725
  • At the beginning of their living there, they did
    not fear the Lord therefore the Lord sent lions
    among them which killed some of them.

Daniel 622
  • My God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths
    and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was
    found innocent before Him and also toward you, O
    king, I have committed no crime.

5. Human depravity (corrupt human nature)
  • Rebellion to God parents Example 1 Hophni
    Phineas, sons of Eli the priest
  • I Samuel 222-25 But they would not listen to the
    voice of their father, for the Lord desired to
    put them to death.
  • I Samuel 217 Thus the sin of the young men was
    very great before the Lord, for the men despised
    the offering of the Lord.

5. Human depravity (corrupt human nature)
  • Rebellion to God parents Example 2 Samsons
    rebellion against parents
  • Judges 143 Samson said to his father, Let her
    for me, for she looks good to me.
  • However, his father and mother did not know that
    it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an
    occasion against the Philistines (Judges

Thomas Aquinas
  • Every natural doing and every chance doing in
    the world and every free doing of man is a tool
    of the doing of God.
  • Timothy McDermott, Aquinas Selected
    Philosophical Writings (New York Oxford
    University Press, 1993), xxvii-xxx. Cited in The
    Great Theologians A Brief Guide by Gerald R.
    McDermott (Downers Grove IVP Academic, 2010), 68.

Jesus - Acts 427-28
  • 27 For truly in this city there were gathered
    together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom
    You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate,
    along with the Gentiles and the peoples of
    Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your
    purpose predestined to occur.
  • Once again there is one set of events, but two
    sets of intentions behind the events human and

Gods Plan Jesus DeathActs 223-24
  • 23 This Man, delivered over by the predetermined
    plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a
    cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to
  • 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to
    the agony of death, since it was impossible for
    Him to be held in its power.

John Walvoord, on Acts 223
  • The point of this verse is clear the
    Crucifixion was no accident. It was in Gods set
    purpose (boule, plan) and was Gods determined
    will, not merely His inclination.
  • Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., The Bible knowledge
    Commentary An exposition of the scriptures, Vol.
    2 (Wheaton, IL Victor Books, 1985), 358.

Just imagine
  • Q If the torture, scorn, punches, flogging, and
    agonizing death of Jesus was within the bounds of
    God the Fathers control then what reason do we
    have to doubt that our present suffering is out
    of Gods reach and power?

How can our sufferings bring glory to God?
How should I approach the suffering I encounter
in life?
  • Believers Be encouraged at what God has done
    have faith in what He will do.
  • 1 John 38 The reason the Son of God appeared was
    to destroy the works of the devil.
  • Ecclesiastes 1214 For God will bring every deed
    into judgment, with every secret thing, whether
    good or evil.
  • The longer we spend an eternity the more the
    sufferings of this life will shrink in comparison
    this is why the apostle Paul could refer to his
    sufferings as "slight, momentary, light

How should I approach the suffering I encounter
in life?
  • 2 Corinthians 417-18 For this light momentary
    affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight
    of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not
    to the things that are seen but to the things
    that are unseen. For the things that are seen are
    transient, but the things that are unseen are
  • Unbelievers Look back in history at how God
    logically solved the problem of evil with the
    prophecy-fulfilling death resurrection of
    Jesus. Then ask if youre ready to meet Him as

How should I approach the suffering I encounter
in life?
  • Heaven would not be heaven without redemption.
    You cannot have redemption without something to
    redeem sinners from. However, do not focus on one
    section of eternity. Rather, look at it from a
    holistic perspective.
  • God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to
    us in our conscience, but shouts in our pain It
    is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world - C.S.
    Lewis, The Problem of Pain
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