I'm reminded of a line from the movie "The Magnificent Seven" where Eli Wallach (brilliantly portraying the leader of some Mexican bandits) justifies the raids he and his men make on some defenseless Mexican agrarian peasants on a yearly basis, by saying "If God had not wanted them to be sheared, He would not have made them sheep!" Do naive and gullible people (or sheeple) deserve to be sheared by con artists?
Do "innocent" people in the world deserve all the evil which comes their way? It was recently reported on an Indianapolis news station, that the murder rate in that city is making Indianapolis a murder capital of the world. Sheep are literally being sheared and slaughtered in our world. Many theists (believers in one God) are continuously praying for divine intervention in a world saturated with evil.
This brings up the question of my letter: "Why is there so much evil in the world?" "If God is all-good, He would destroy evil and if God is all-powerful, He could destroy evil. But evil is not destroyed; hence, there is no such God." This is the classic argument heard flowing from the mouths of atheists, especially throughout the halls of college campuses all over America. A similarly stated argument was recently expressed in a made for TV movie during this Halloween season titled "Child of the Devil."
There is a lot of evil in the world today that God seems to wink at. If God exists, why does He allow so much evil to go on? Some theologians and clergy will tell the common folk or the laity that evil, in a mysterious way, glorifies God. Other Christian teachers will tell you, when asked (generally not volunteered information), that God has a "hidden purpose" for allowing evil to exist in the world.
The theological study "vindicating the justice of God in permitting evil to exist" is called theodicy. Although the philosophers Leibnitz (who coined the word) and Pascal wrote some on the reconciling of evil and the justice of God, most Christian theologians ignore the apparent dilemma or quickly dismiss it with the line --"It is not for us to understand."
This cop-out was never good enough for me. So I waded through the writings of the "great" past systematic theologians along with the writings of contemporary theologians. I was not finding satisfying answers until, several years ago, I ran across the writings of a man named Norman L. Geisler. Dr. Geisler is a Christian apologist. Christian apologetics is the very logical branch of theology which defends the Christian faith against atheists, agnostics, skeptics and various other non-believers. (C. S. Lewis was a famous Christian apologist.)
Geisler's solution to the atheistic argument for the non-existence of God was to reword the argument to reflect the Christian's perspective based on a more "patient" faith rather than the atheist's perspective based on temporal doubt. The revised argument reads, "If God is all-good, He WILL DEFEAT evil and if God is all-powerful, He CAN DEFEAT evil. Evil is NOT YET defeated; therefore, God can and will ONE DAY defeat evil."
Norman Geisler also argues that because God created creatures with free will, it is that very freedom of choice which was given to us so we could love, that results in the existence of evil. God could have created a world of sinless robots, but where would the freedom to choose love be if folks were forcefully programmed?
With evil all around us, it is obvious we are not living in the "best of possible worlds", but this world is the "best way" to the best of possible worlds!
The reason many theologians, and local community ministers, must cling to the position that "the presence of evil is God's mystery, which humans are not meant to understand", is that they are in total denial that we have free will. That is why so many of them are so uncomfortable talking about this issue.
The other possibility is they are programmed not to talk about it. In which case, these robots are right in their position and Dr. Geisler and I are programmed to be wrong. That sounds silly, doesn't it?
--Kenneth J. Wolf #60 (11/08/97)
#51 Predestination concept
some accept, some not
to the editor #49
"What If I've Been Wrong?"