Giving Themselves Away

At the end of the story, after the student defeats his professor in the debate, it is revealed that the student is Albert Einstein. In actuality, there was probably no such debate, and this certainly isn’t a true story about Albert Einstein.

While it is an interesting tale, I don’t think this is the best answer Christians can offer to the problem of evil.

The objection the professor presented is sometimes known as Epicurean paradox.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God

To answer the objection above by saying that evil doesn’t really exist rubs me the wrong way. To look in the face of someone who has suffered something terrible and tell them it wasn’t evil—only a lack of good—is something I couldn’t do.

Rather, I would agree with the angry atheist presenting this paradox that evil truly exists. (Note that he didn’t merely state that he dislikes acts such as rape and murder, or that a majority of society dislikes those things, but that there really is evil.)

Next, I would point out that evil cannot exist in his worldview. The existence of evil can only be accounted for if there are moral absolutes—and moral absolutes can only be established by God. If, as an atheist would say, we are merely evolved apes, there shouldn’t be any moral absolutes. Therefore, evil wouldn’t exist if there were no God.

When the atheist presents this objection, he is revealing that he can’t be consistent with his worldview. If he were consistent, all the atheist has to go on is personal taste. But in admitting a firm belief in evil, he is acknowledging that he knows moral absolutes exist and there is a God. He is giving himself away.

Atheists claim the existence of evil all the time. One young lady I spoke with said Christians are evil. I explained to her that in order for evil to exist that God had to have established moral absolutes. She said she believes morality is relative, and each of us can establish our own morality. I think she was being consistent with her atheism at this point. I specifically asked her if it was a sin for someone to violate her moral code, and she said it wasn’t. Mere moments later, she said that the Bible has been translated. (I assume she didn’t mean translated from Greek to English, but some  type of malicious tampering with the manuscripts.) I asked her if it was a sin to “translate” the Bible. At that point she made it abundantly clear she was no longer interested in talking to me.

Ultimately, the solution to the Epicurean paradox is that God has an adequate, moral reason for allowing evil. He may not reveal His reasoning for a specific situation, but ultimately it is for His glory.

3 thoughts on “Giving Themselves Away

  1. How we know there is evil in the world if we don’t have a standard for good? One cannot know something is unjust unless they know what Just is. One wouldn’t know there was evil unless there was a good -God.
    Anyone who tries to use evil to disprove God actually proves God because they wouldn’t have a standard for judging that it was evil unless there was a moral lawgiver who made that moral law.

    Take Hitler and mother Teresa. We know that mother Teresa is better than Hitler. Some people might ask well, how do you know? Well, who would you hire Hitler as your babysitter? People ask well why are there evil things in the world. Because we blew it-this is a sin-fallen imperfect world and we have rebelled against God which brought DEATH into this world and to all men through Adam. We took what God made good and we blew it.

    We have to have something outside of us that we can measure by. I mean how many people have ever been at a stop light and you look over at the car beside you and it is moving so you think gee it seems like you’re moving also and you’re puzzled. Immediately there’s this protection that sets in so you press your foot harder on the break which doesn’t help either. Then you immediately try and find something around and outside of you like a pole or a tree that are immovable objects- and sure enough you’re not moving.

    So the same thing goes with morals. They are objective and have to be. They cannot be just relative.

    I’d have to ask them where does Guilt come from? Everyone has guilt everywhere around the world. It’s universal. Universal Moral GUILT shows there’s universal moral law. What do people think are the primary problems psychologists deal with? Guilt..People have guilt and they can’t get rid of it. The reason they have moral guilt is because there is a moral law they have violated. The very fact that we make EXCUSES for ourselves or try to cover up for ourselves proves Moral law. Why are we covering up or making excuses if there is no moral law there? Why be more forgiving if it’s not morally wrong? Guilt

    How come people without a bible can come up with a moral law in their lives and society? Take Confucius-He knew the “golden rule” and he didn’t have a bible. He said don’t do to others what you would have others do to you. How did HE know this? Because it’s written on the HEARTS of all people-Romans chapter 2 verse 15 specifically. If people want moral law apart from the bible-then they need to ask themselves “what would I want others to do to me?”

    Our actions don’t judge the moral law but our (expectations do). What we act on and what we Expect are different. I don’t necessarily live up to the standards of acting upon what I expect. How do we expect people to treat us? we all expect more than what we actually live up to. WHY? Where do these Expectations come from? The same basic moral codes are found in all major cultures without a bible. Naturally, they know that we should respect parents and not to go around killing anyone you want to kill nor steal other people’s property. If we look at these morals around the world in different cultures they look like the 10 commandments.~~


  2. Maybe I’m too simplistic.

    The Word of God is CRYSTAL CLEAR when it says that unregenerate people supress the truth. Their hearts are desparately wicked. Their blind. Their dead.

    Yet they know there’s a God. They have His law stamped upon their hearts and conscience. They have a controversy with God. They are without excuse.

    We, as Christians, must lovingly and graciously tell them of their danger in light of their continued rebellion, supression, and evil, and me must pray for God to gift them with life eternal.

    And yes, I realize the difference between “their” and “they’re” …..just fat-fingered in my last post.


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