LISTEN: The Problem of Evil, Part 5 (The Reasons to Believe #107 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Our Reasons to Believe passage from the Word of God today is John 14:26. It reads, “But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from William Lane Craig. He said, “Therefore, when a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God’s Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Problem of Evil” part 5 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

Dr. Peter Kreeft and Dr. Ronald K. Tacelli go on to write about “Four Logical Formulations of the Problem of Evil”:

Let us now back up and begin again with our problem on a logical level. How shall we most powerfully formulate the problem of evil as an argument against the existence of God?

1. Aquinas, in the Summa, comes the closest to capturing the intuitive, preargumentative point of the problem of evil in a logical formulation:

If one of two contraries is infinite, the other is completely destroyed.
But “God” means infinite goodness.
If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable in the world.
But there is evil.
Therefore God does not exist.

2. A slightly more “unpacked” version is the following dilemma, first formulated, we believe, by Augustine:

If God is all-good, he would will all good and no evil.
And if God were all-powerful, he would accomplish everything he wills.
But evil exists as well as good.
Therefore either God is not all-powerful, or not all-good, or both.

3. C.S. Lewis uses a more anthropomorphic, psychological version of this dilemma in formulating The Problem of Pain:

If God is all-good, he wants his creatures to be happy.
And if he is all-powerful, he can do whatever he wants.
But the creatures are not happy.
Therefore God lacks either goodness or power or both.

4. Finally, we may set up the problem in such a way as to clarify and classify the different possible solutions, in this way:

There seems to be a logical contradiction built in to affirming all four of the following propositions:
(1) God exists.
(2) God is all-good.
(3) God is all-powerful.
(4) Evil exists.

Affirm any three and you must deny the fourth, it seems.

If God exists, wills all-good, and is powerful enough to get everything he wills, then there would be no evil.
If God exists and wills only good, but evil exists, then God does not get what he wills. Thus he is not all-powerful.
If God exists and is all-powerful and evil exists too, then God wills evil to exist. Thus he is not all-good.
Finally, if “God” means “a being who is both all-good and all-powerful,” and nevertheless evil exists, then such a God does not exist.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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