Deliver us from Evil - Introduction


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This presentation looks at what evil is, why it exists, the types of evil, and if God is the author of evil.

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Deliver us from Evil - Introduction

  1. 1. Deliver Us From
  2. 2. • If God were all powerful, He could destroy evil • If God were all good, He would want to destroy evil • But evil is not destroyed • Therefore, an all-powerful and all-good God does not exist - J. S. Mill
  3. 3. “Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Whence then is evil?” – David Hume
  4. 4. “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. ” (Psalm 115:3) “„Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, ” (Jeremiah 32:17) “The Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done” (Daniel 9:14) “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ” (Romans 8:38–39)
  5. 5. The Problem of Evil and God the·od·i·cy A vindication of the divine attributes, particularly holiness and justice, in establishing or allowing the existence of physical and moral evil.
  6. 6. What is
  7. 7. Evil is a privation or corruption that exists in something that was originally good and perfect. - Augustine
  8. 8. Evil is signified by the absence of good. - Thomas Aquinas
  9. 9. Darkness is the absence of light Sickness is the absence of health Hate is the absence of love
  10. 10. “This doesn‟t mean it‟s in any way nebulous or vague or not to be worried about. If there is a hole in the road where I expected solid stone, the fact that there is „nothing there‟ is very dangerous whether I‟m walking, cycling, or driving a car. The fact that a rung is missing halfway down the ladder into the basement is neither nebulous nor vague when I‟m feeling my way around in the dark. Evil is then the moral and spiritual equivalent of a black hole.” - N. T. Wright
  11. 11. Word Study - Evil Greek Meaning ponēros ① Morally or socially worthless ② wicked, evil, bad, base, worthless, vicious, degenerate ③ deficient in quality in a physical “The good man brings out of his sense; being in an unhealthy condition good treasure what is good; and physically Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek- the evil man brings out of his evil English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. treasure what is evil. ” (Matthew 12:35) Interpretation & Application All definitions of the term point to something that has lost is value; there appears to be nothing of worth; nothing to redeem. Part of the word meaning implies a sickness, much like a malignancy that has attached itself to something of worth and is destroying it. Scripture warns many times for a person not to be overtaken and overrun by evil, else it will destroy what goodness is there and leave the person in a state of total destitution.
  12. 12. Evil cannot exist on its own Just as rust on a car cannot exist without the car or rot on a tree cannot exist without the tree, evil cannot exist by itself. Like a wound, it can only exist in something else.
  13. 13. What are the Types of
  14. 14. Two broad types of evil 1. Moral evil - manifests itself in the way humans choose or choose not to do something 2. Natural evil - realized through natural disasters and human disease and sickness
  15. 15. Moral Evil “When the chips are down these civilized people … they‟ll eat each other!”
  16. 16. the privation that causes moral evil “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ” (Galatians 5:22–23)
  17. 17. Natural Evil “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (Romans 8:20-22) Notice how the world has been „corrupted‟ because of sin.
  18. 18. Did God Create
  19. 19. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit” (Matthew 7:18)
  20. 20. •God created every substance. •Evil is not a substance (but a privation in a substance). •Therefore, God did not create evil.
  21. 21. •God is perfect. •An effect must resemble its cause. • Evil is an imperfection •Therefore, God could not have caused evil.
  22. 22. The Problem of Pantheism & Evil Pantheism says all is God („pan‟=all, „theism‟=God). But if all is God, that „all‟ must include evil. This equates to the conclusion of God having evil in His being.
  23. 23. God Creating Evil…? “I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. ” (Isaiah 45:6–7, KJV) The verse seems pretty clear that God does create evil…
  24. 24. God Creating Evil…? Knowing the various literary techniques used in the Bible helps solve this problem. This is a case of antithetic parallelism; the first is set against the second. What is the opposite of light? Darkness. But what is the opposite of peace? Evil? No. This leads us to consider that the KJV has a poor rendering of the Hebrew word „‫.‟רע‬ The NASB and other versions properly render the word in this verse „calamity: “I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being [peace] and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. ” (Isaiah 45:6–7)
  25. 25. Another Problem… “I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well- being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. ” (Isaiah 45:6–7) If darkness is the absence of light and evil is the absence of something, then the verse still says God created evil (darkness).
  26. 26. Aquinas Tries to Help… “Not every absence of good is evil. For absence of good can be taken (1) in a privative and (2) negative sense. Absence of good, taken negatively, is not evil; otherwise it would follow that what does not exist is evil, and also that everything would be evil, through not having the good belonging to something else; for instance, a man would be evil who had not the swiftness of the roe, or the strength of a lion. But the absence of good, taken in a privative sense, is an evil; as, for instance, the privation of sight is called blindness…” -Thomas Aquinas But … let‟s look at these next examples
  27. 27. But we Still Have a Problem… We have this from Exodus in God‟s discussion with Moses: “The Lord said to him, “Who has made man‟s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? ” (Exodus 4:11) And this from Job: “The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” ” (Job 2:3)
  28. 28. … which leads to more insight “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. ” (John 9:1–3) Behind this man‟s blindness was a purpose – to glorify God. God is sovereign over everything, including this man‟s blindness, so while an absence of good existed, it existed for a higher purpose than mere sight alone.
  29. 29. Darkness can have a purpose “He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting. You appoint darkness and it becomes night, In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about. The young lions roar after their prey And seek their food from God. When the sun rises they withdraw And lie down in their dens. Man goes forth to his work And to his labor until evening. ” (Psalm 104:19–23) “He sent darkness and made it dark; And they did not rebel against His words. He turned their waters into blood And caused their fish to die. ” (Psalm 105:28–29)
  30. 30. Evil is a violation of God‟s purpose. - Ravi Zacharias
  31. 31. A More complete definition of Evil Evil is an absence of good, resulting in a violation of God‟s good purpose. A mere absence of good is not evil as Aquinas points out, however it cannot be defined to just be an absence in something that should be present by default. God, through His own good purpose, may will such a privation to bring about a greater good.
  32. 32. • An Omnibenevolent God has a good purpose for everything • There is some evil for which we see no good purpose • Therefore, there is a good purpose for all evil, even if we do not see it - Norman Geisler
  33. 33. “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. ” (Proverbs 16:4)
  34. 34. No Good or Evil in Atheism? “Humans have always wondered about the meaning of has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” - Richard Dawkins
  35. 35. No Good or Evil in Atheism? If there‟s such a thing as evil, you assume there‟s such a thing as good. If you assume there‟s such a thing as good, you assume there‟s such a thing as an absolute and unchanging moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. If you assume there‟s such a thing as an absolute moral law, you must posit an absolute moral law giver, but that would be God – the one whom the atheist is trying to disprove. So now rewind: if there‟s not a moral law giver, there‟s no moral law. If there‟s no moral law, there‟s no good. If there‟s no good, there‟s no evil.
  36. 36. “The problem of evil, for instance, can hardly be separated from the problem of goodness. Were there no goodness in the world, we would not even be considering the problem of evil. It is a strange thing. Dozens of times I have been asked by patients or acquaintances: „Dr. Peck, why is there evil in the world?‟ Yet no one has ever asked me in all these years: „Why is there good in the world?‟ It is as if we automatically assume this is a naturally good world that has somehow been contaminated by evil.” -M. Scott Peck People of the Lie
  37. 37. No ‘Good’ or ‘Purpose’ in Atheism You cannot define good without defining „purpose‟ You cannot define purpose without defining „cause‟ The atheist‟s /philosophical naturalist‟s worldview has no ultimate purpose or cause behind anything, therefore they have no way of determining good.
  38. 38. Word Study - Good Greek Meaning kalos ① pert. to being in accordance at a high level w. the purpose of someth. or someone, good, useful. ② free from defects “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek- English lexicon of the New Testament and other early good works, and glorify your Father Christian literature. who is in heaven. ” (Matthew 5:16) Interpretation & Application Again, you cannot call something bad without knowing what good is. And „good‟, as defined in God‟s Word, corresponds both to purpose (God‟s) and speaks to their being no „lack‟ in the object in question. Both (purpose and completeness) are embodied in this statement from James: “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ” (James 1:4)
  39. 39. Whence came
  40. 40. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good [no privation]. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. ” (Genesis 1:31)
  41. 41. The first Acts of Evil “You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. “You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. “By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. ” (Ezekiel 28:14–16) “And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven ” (Revelation 12:4) “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. ” (Genesis 3:6)
  42. 42. The Root Cause of Evil Every drop of evil – both moral and natural – can be traced back to one thing: the misuse of freedom. God Himself is free, and He created free creatures. Freedom is a very good thing, however freedom allows the ability to act contrary to the good purpose of God. This is what Satan and Adam/Eve did.
  43. 43. Defining ‘Cause’ What „caused‟ evil? There are three possible options: 1. Determinism: something outside of Satan/man caused them to sin. Ultimately this would have to be traced back to God. But God is perfect, cannot sin, and does not tempt anyone to sin (cf. James 1:13) 2. Indeterminism: nothing caused evil; it just arose. Impossible because God will not hold a being accountable for something that just „happened‟; no accountability without responsibility 3. Self-determinism: the evil in Satan and man was self-caused.
  44. 44. Conclusions Regarding
  45. 45. Conclusions • The attempt to reconcile an all-good and all-powerful God with the reality of evil is called a theodicy • Evil is an absence of good, resulting in a violation of God‟s good purpose • The two major types of evil are moral evil and natural evil • God did not create evil but created the possibility for it • The root cause of evil can be traced back to the misuse of a very good thing – free will • Evil came about from the self-determined actions of creatures created with free will
  46. 46. Deliver Us From