Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived about 300 B.C., said, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able and 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?” Others have asked these same questions for the 2300 years since. However, in their seeming wisdom, they merely demonstrate how philosophers, enamored with their own wisdom cannot see the flaws in their own reasoning.
Epicurus and his philosophical offspring over the millennia have created a false dilemma. That is, they have developed a set of choices and acted like the choices they have listed are the only ones available when they are not.
Epicurus believed a God who is able to eradicate evil but doesn’t do so must be malevolent. So, there are but two choices. Either God is not able to do anything about evil or God is evil Himself. It didn’t occur to Epicurus that there is a third option. It never occurred to him that God might actually be wiser than him and have a better alternative.
Is it possible God sees a good end that can come from the evil and suffering that goes on in the world even today? Is it possible God allows evil because in His infinite wisdom He can actually use it in a way that benefits men if we will let it?
I suggest God who is able to eradicate all evil is unwilling to do so not because He is malevolent but because He loves us too much to do so. First, His love is demonstrated by granting us the free will to choose between good and evil. He loves us too much to force us to be good like Him. He lets us pursue our own course.
Second, He loves us enough to allow evil so that we may grow and learn to rely on Him, which leads to salvation (cf. II Corinthians 12:7-10; Romans 5:3-5). Without evil in the world, we would have no notion of our need to turn to and rely on God. We would be lost and never know it.
Third, He loves us enough to allow evil so we can learn to be merciful like Him (cf. Matthew 5:7). If there were no evil, we could not learn how to relieve the suffering of those who have endured evil. We could not learn to be like God.
Finally, God loved us enough to send His Son as an answer to all evil. By surrendering to Jesus (cf. Galatians 2:20), we can eradicate evil in our lives and help do so in others and prepare for the day God eradicates the world because it is evil.
Yes, evil exists, but not because God is malevolent. No, evil exists because God is love.
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I just had to use the version of the pic above because of the smart-aleck comment whoever generated this version made. “Athiests (sic) Winning Since 33 A.D.” This poor individual, who doesn’t seem to even know how to spell “Atheists” also doesn’t get it. He sees the death of Jesus in A.D. 33. Certainly, on that Friday, it seemed like Atheists had won. Yet, on the third day, they found out they were losing.
Jesus claimed the victory by rising from the dead.
Of course, this atheist will deny that happened. However, this statement is a great logical contradiction for the atheist. In fact, by making this smart aleck comment, the author of the picture admits that Jesus was someone important. He was not just some unknown or fictitious person. He was and is a real person. He is someone that has to be dealt with if one is going to be an atheist. Further, note the use of A.D. What an admission of the importance of this man who is supposedly nothing but just one of us. All of time has been measured from this man.
Here is my challenge, if the atheists won in 33 A.D. by killing Jesus, produce His remains. If you can’t, then learn who was truly victorious in 33 A.D.