Thanks for your letter regarding evil.

I was listening to a lecture by William Lane Craig, a Christian philosopher, that I downloaded from the internet. He was addressing the subject of how God can allow evil to exist.He said that people typically have two assumptions:
If God is all powerful he can create any world that He wishes

and...

If God is all good he would prefer a world with only good.

He argues that these assumptions are "just not necessarily true."

Regarding the first assumption, Craig argues that God being all powerful doesn't mean that He can create "logical contradictions." Craig uses the example, for instance, that God cannot make a round square.
He then says that it's "logically contradictory" to make someone freely choose something. This means that God can't make us choose in the way He would like us to. Sooner or later it may turn out that humans will choose to do evil. In that sense, the only way God can combat evil is to remove our free will. Your statement that God once created the universe without evil but it just came back to him relatively quickly, supports the argument against the second assumption. Also, Craig points out that we as humans allow others to suffer in order to bring about a positive change, a greater good. Parents do this all the time to teach a lesson to their children. Discipline is necessary. So, it's plausible that God allows evil for this very same reason.

C.S. Lewis said, upon the death of his wife, when comparing God to a cosmic surgeon as opposed to a cosmic sadist, "The terrible thing is that a perfectly good God is hardly less formidable than a cosmic sadist. The more we believe that God hurts only to heal the less we can believe that there's any use in begging for tenderness. The kinder and conscientious he is the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to our entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would be useless. What do people mean when they say 'I am not afraid of God because He is good?' Have they not been to a dentist?"

So, Craig says that perhaps this is the best world we can get; that perhaps we have to have the amount of evil that's in the world to yield the amount of goodness that's in the world.

Next message