Eliane B (26 June 2011)
"To M.A.P. - The problem of Evil"

 

Dear M.A.P.,

 

There are some recurring questions that I’ve learnt to reply as below, after much praying:

 

Your question:

AFTER SATAN'S FALL, WHY DID GOD ALLOW HIM TO DECEIVE ADAM AND EVE, AND TO CONTINUE TO RUN RAMPANT THROUGHOUT THE EARTH DESTROYING LIVES WHEN GOD COULD HAVE SIMPLY CAST HIM INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE FROM THE BEGINNING AND HAVE IT DONE WITH, SPARING MANKIND (INCLUDING ADAM AND EVE)?

 

Possible answer: Your pastor is right. To be more specific, if God had cast Satan (and the billions of angels who followed Satan in his rebellion) into the lake of fire from the beginning and solved the problem of Evil right then, God’s plan wouldn’t have been fulfilled. Perhaps, a lot of suffering would have been avoided, but you and I would not have been born if the solution for the problem of Evil had come a long time ago.

 

After the fall, many positions in Heaven became vacant and God had a plan for new people to occupy them. These people are His redeemed saints. Who would occupy those positions if they hadn’t even been born and passed through the experience of seeing the consequences of evil in the flesh? God wants you and me to occupy these positions and it was necessary that He waited for our the birth before applying the solution for Evil. The final solution must happen ONLY after the last elect is SAVED, in order to occupy their position in Heaven. There are billions of places in Heaven for God’s redeemed and the final count hasn’t been reached yet.

 

This is my humble understanding. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that there is any scriptures disproving it.

 

I thank God that He waited for us (and our descendants) to be born and be saved, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to be the Bride of Christ and live in Heaven as Christ’s helpers and co-heirs.

 

Another possible question, analogous to the one above, only the in the reverse way: WHY DO WE REMAIN ON EARTH AFTER WE ARE BORN FROM ABOVE (OR “born again” in another not so literal translation)? WHY DON’T WE GO DIRECTLY AND RIGHT AWAY TO HEAVEN AFTER WE ARE SAVED?

 

Possible answer: Because God wants us to testify of Him on Earth and be the salt and the light of this planet, for the benefit of many. If we went to Heaven right away (for example, in a sudden individual rapture) after believing and being saved, there would be no one to preach the Gospel on Earth and no one to represent Christ on Earth. Remember that there are still many people who don’t believe in Jesus and that will still be saved because of the Word of God spread by faithful Christians and their walk in this life. There are also many people who don’t believe because many so called Christians don’t have a coherent testimony (living a continually sinful life). Thank God we aren’t save because we are good, but because we are forgiven.

 

On Earth, in our fleshly lives, we accept some actions from our parents without questioning. When I was a little girl, I would probably not understand why my parents took me to a clinic and injected a virus with a disease in me. If I were aware of that, I would probably criticize them and find them unjust, or even refusing to take that shot. But later I came to the knowledge that they were applying only a small amount of that virus in my body, so that I could develop antibodies that would help me be resistant to that disease later. In other words, they were taking me to take a vaccine, with the best intentions and good care.  At that time, I couldn’t understand, but later, not only did I understand but also commended my parents for having done that.

 

So with God, there are things we don’t understand completely, but we must trust Him for taking care of everything and we must even trust Him that He waited for us to be born before dealing with the final solution for Evil. Besides, if God created angels again to replace the ones who left their positions in Heaven, the problem that happened in the beginning could happen again and He doesn’t want that. God is sovereign and He knows many things that we don’t know.

 

You might want to read the article “The Problem of Evil”, by Vincent Cheung. Link: http://www.rmiweb.org/other/problemevil.pdf

 

In this wonderful article, the author explains the argument of the unbeliever:

 

1. The Christian God is all-powerful and all-loving.

2. If he is all-powerful, then he is able to end all evil.

3. If he is all-loving, then he wants to end all evil.

4. But evil still exists.

5. Therefore, the Christian God does not exist [or isn’t worthy to be worshipped or trusted.]

 

What the author presents is different possibilities:

 

1. The Christian God is all-powerful and all-loving.

2. If he is all-powerful, then he is able to end all evil.

3. If he is all-loving, then he wants to end all evil.

4. But evil still exists.

5. Therefore, God has a good purpose for evil.

 

OR

 

1. The Christian God is all-powerful and all-loving.

2. If he is all-powerful, then he is able to end all evil.

3. If he is all-loving, then he wants to end all evil.

4. But evil still exists.

5. Therefore, God will eventually destroy evil.

 

The author gives this recommendation (his text is in green color):

 

Next time a non-Christian challenges you with the problem of evil, instead of being pressed into a corner, you should be able to give an irrefutable answer, but then you should take the offensive and turn the argument against the non-Christian (2 Corinthians 10:5):

 

"I am able to show that the existence of evil does not contradict the love of God or the existence of God. In fact, the very concept of evil presupposes the existence of the Christian God. This God decreed the existence of evil for his own glory, and every aspect and instance of evil is under his precise control, and there is no standard higher than God to judge this decree as wrong. One day he will banish all sinners to endless torment in hell, so that every instance of murder, theft, rape, and even every word that a man has spoken, will be accounted for. He will thus justly punish all sinners who have not trusted Christ for salvation, but his chosen ones will surely be saved.

 

"But how do you deal with evil? Given your worldview, how can you even have a meaningful and universal concept of evil? How do you explain its origin and continuation? Can you offer an effective or even guaranteed solution to defeat evil? Can you set forth universally applicable and binding reasons against such things as genocide and racism? How can your worldview make moral demands on someone that does not subscribe to it? Given your worldview, is there final and perfect justice for anyone? If not, what is your solution or explanation for that? How can you define justice in the first place? Why must a person from another nation or culture recognize your so-called rights?

 

"If you cannot give adequate answers to these and thousands of other questions on the basis of your worldview and intellectual commitments without self-contradiction, then it is evident that the existence of evil means the destruction of your worldview, whereas it poses no threat at all to mine. You are a hypocrite for even mentioning the problem as an objection to Christianity"

 

Although many people are fond of challenging Christians with the problem of evil, the truth is that Christianity is the only worldview in which the existence of evil does not create a logical problem. Nevertheless, many professing Christians are intimidated by non-Christian arguments. This is partly because they have not learned the logical refutations to these arguments, but also because they sometimes partly agree with the non-Christians, at least on the emotional level. But of course, just because something causes an emotional disturbance in some people does nothing to challenge the Christian faith itself.

 

Now, if the non-Christian is so disturbed over the existence of evil he can always ask a Christian on how to depend on Christ for salvation; otherwise he can commit himself to a psychiatric ward where he may remain miserable under professional care. As for Christians, Scripture provides the solution: "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3). Psalm 73:16-17 says, "When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny." Only by accepting the Christian worldview can a person come to a rational position about the existence of evil, and only by entering "the sanctuary of God," can the topic cease to be "oppressive." Only those who draw close to God can sufficiently understand the reality of evil and retain emotional stability. The Christian faith is true and is the only way to God and salvation. It is immune to intellectual attacks.

 

Blessings from YSIC in Brazil,

 

Eliane