Atheists and the Problem of Evil

Atheists are those who have chosen to deny God.  It is a choice, not a conclusion based on disproof.  Some are mad at him, many more are in rebellion & want to justify doing as they please, contrary to God’s law and responsibility to him.

Many who are mad at God wrongly presume, as do many Christians, that “God is in control” and “this is our Father’s world.”  On the contrary, the Bible says that man chose his own way in the Garden, so God withdrew; satan is now “the god of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air,” whose power, through our mortality via the flesh, will be defeated as “the last enemy” to be “put under [Christ's] feet.”

God made a Plan before the world was made to redeem the world, Scripture says, but until Christ comes again to “rule with a rod of iron,” He will not have reasserted his reign.  In the meantime, Christ does rule in “a kingdom not of this world” which is “within” those who have made Jesus Lord.

Christians who believe the former error, that God remains assertive of his sovereignty over the world, with difficulty attempt to resolve God’s goodness with his alleged initiation of evil or neglect of circumventing it.  Thus theologians of the Chicago School invented Process Theology, by which they supposed that God was “on the cutting edge of Creation” but was not able to control its evolution, try as He might (thus neither sovereign nor immanent).

Rabbi Harold Kushner is famous for his book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” in which he borrowed from Process Theology the concept that God was unable to stop evil in the world.  (I use evil in the Old Testament sense of “bad things,” which includes disease and death as well as bad actions.) Kushner had a son who died young from early-aging disease.  One empathizes with Kushner, but his case exemplifies the risk of making up theology to fit one’s limited, human perceptions.

© 2011 Paul A. Hughes

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6 Comments on “Atheists and the Problem of Evil”

  1. hbhatnagar says:

    Let me start by saying that my atheism isn’t based on the problem if evil. We could be living in the best possible world (and I’m not even trying to define that here! :) ) and I still would be an atheist.
    I just had one question here. On one hand you say that man defied god and chose his own way in Eden and so satan “rules” this world (I’d be obliged if you could point me to the relevant Biblical scripture), and on the other you say that god already had a plan for our “salvation” in mind before the world was even made, thereby implying that he knew Adam and Eve were going to mess up big time, thereby setting them up for failure. Am I right in assuming that?

    • biblequestion says:

      The primary mark of Atheism is rebellion against God and the idea of God. The argument about the problem of evil, saying that if there were a God he must not be good because of evil people and events — that God either causes or chooses not to prevent — is just one of the Atheists’ standard playbook, e.g., Christopher Hitchens.

    • biblequestion says:

      I part here with Calvinists in trying to figure out “what did God know and when did He know it?”

      Scripture says God created man innocent but gave him a choice, represented by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 1-3). Otherwise, mankind, having no choice, would have no free will. It ought to be no surprise to suppose that God, knowing man, should expect failure, and be prepared to give of himself (“only-begotten Son”) to save his fallen creature.

      John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

  2. existnow says:

    Atheists are those who have chosen to deny God. It is a choice, not a conclusion based on disproof. Some are mad at him, many more are in rebellion & want to justify doing as they please, contrary to God’s law and responsibility to him.

    I find it interesting that you have us athiest figured out. However, I do want to point out to you that you can’t be mad a a being that is non existent, and you cannot rebel agaist what is not there. Denial of a being requires existence. I do realize this may confuse you but he is or he is not. I say not.

  3. “It is a choice, not a conclusion based on disproof. ”

    No, it isn’t. It’s a conclusion based on lack of good evidence.

    • biblequestion says:

      The whole universe is proof of Intelligent Design. Atheists have no evidence to the contrary. The disproof “ball” is in your “court.” You are just trying to spin the argument your way.


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