The Problem Of Evil And God’s Goodness

Some atheists dismiss the existence of God in large part because of the existence of evil. One line of thinking is that if God existed He is either not good, not powerful, or not caring. He could not, they believe, be good, caring, and powerful and co-exist with evil.

What irony that these skeptics don’t turn around and scrutinize goodness. From where do acts of kindness from strangers originate, or the encouragement from a verse of Scripture, or the ethereal beauty of fog wisps floating in and out of trees or pier pilings?

Who can explain the transformation of the Huaorani people in Ecuador after Jim Elliot’s death? Or the message of forgiveness Corrie ten Boom preached after losing her father and sister under Nazis cruelty? Who can explain Job’s restoration of wealth after losing all or Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt after being sold into slavery?

In other words, who can explain Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

How could a God who was not good work all things together for good? And Christians see time and again God’s hand working tragedy into triumph, suffering into sanctification, sacrifice into salvation.

Only God’s goodness can be credited with such miracles as Ruth experienced. The widowed immigrant at the edge of poverty becomes the great-grandmother to Israel’s greatest king, in the direct line of the Messiah.

Who could write such a story? People today would think it too … good, too sappy, too sweet. But that’s God, isn’t it. He goes beyond what we think could possibly happen. He gives more, loves more, sacrifices more.

He takes brokenness and makes a vessel fit for a king, takes a wayward woman and makes her His bride, takes discarded branches and grafts them into His vine.

He hunts down the lost, comforts the grieving, answers the cry of the needy.

Above all, He gives Himself. He sent His prophets to teach the rest of us what we need to know about Him. More, He Himself came in the form of Man, then gave us His Spirit and His written Word.

God’s goodness is imprinted on the world. We have the starry sky, the harvest moon, billowing clouds, flashing lightening, crystalline icicles, yellow-red leaves, falling snow, crashing waves, the rocky grandeur of mountains, and on and on. How can we look at this world and not see God’s goodness?

How can we think that the good things we enjoy are accidents of nature or results of human endeavor? Nature is morally indifferent and Mankind is marred. God alone is good, without wavering, without exception.

May He be praised now and forevermore.

Originally posted in 2010 under the title “God’s Goodness.”

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    The problem seems to be a prevailing view that humans’ believe that deep down, that they are basically good–is based on self deception. We cannot see our own evil toward others but readily see their evil toward us–including God—who through Christ really does LOVE US!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose I got someth9ng wrong or incomplete, but man is deceived about his own goodness—cannot see that his selfish nature is basically evil!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If I may be so shameless ( haven’t and won’t make a habit of it)
    http://tiribulus.com/wordpress/the-problem-with-the-the-problem-of-evil/

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    • I should say I’m also not necessarily saying you’re wrong Rebecca.

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  4. Hi Becky, your quote, “In other words, who can explain Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

    There are many murderers, rapists and criminals of all types who have had many good things happen to them, won lots of money, inherited millions, found happiness and never been caught for crimes etc. And they never loved God and I expect the reverse where God lovers have had the worst life is also true, therefore this sentence as it is written has no truth to it.

    “How can we look at this world and not see God’s goodness?”

    This is very one dimensional, if you take credit for the good you must take credit for the bad. The evil Satan has as much if not more power than God otherwise.

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    • Hi, Steve, the problem here is that you’re reading this verse in isolation—not the way the Bible is intended to be read. If nothing else, the immediate context is necessary, and better, the entire book. And even “more better” ( 😉 ) is the entire Bible, to see how all the parts fit together. But, for the sake of this comment, I’ll just feature the next verse: “And those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son so that He would be the first born among many brethren.”

      In short, the “good” that God causes for those who love Him is an ultimate good, not a temporary good. The ultimate, best good for any of us is to become like Jesus, and that’s God’s intent for all the things that happen in our lives. Good things? God can use those. Bad things? God can use those. Not to make our lives happier or more comfortable, necessarily, but to make us more like Jesus. What comes with that process is a peace “that surpasses understanding” and a friendship with Jesus that wheelchair-bound Joni Eareckson said was worth more than her being whole and physically healthy. It’s something that Christians know, but it won’t make sense to someone looking on.

      And no, Satan has no power like that! He is helpless and hopeless when it comes to transforming human lives.

      Becky

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