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Does Evil Prove God Does NOT Exist?

Premise A: If a good God does not exist, evil also does not exist. 

Premise B: Evil exists 

Conclusion: Therefore, a good God exists. 

The preceding chapters have provided several proofs for the existence of God, but I can understand not being ready to trust in God if all you know about Him is that He exists. I know that my next-door neighbors exist, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to let them take care of my children. Before I let someone do that, I want to know that I can trust them with the most precious things in my life. So, if God exists, the question must be asked, “What sort of God is He?”  

With seven billion people on a planet that is part of a star system that is one among billions in the universe, someone might wonder: Is He the sort of God to care about individual people? Does He see my pain and understand my sorrow? Does He know what brings me joy and shake His head at my pet peeves? Does He listen when I pray at night and watch over me as I go about my day? Is He willing to do things to help me when I need help? When I’m are sick, or sorrowful, or disappointed, or going through a dark time in life, is God there for me? Will He be waiting for me when I die? Psalms 8:3-4 asks the same questions, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” So many questions, and at the core of them, just one question: Does God care about me?

Christians answers this question with a confident, “Yes, God does care.” According to the Bible, God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), and all-good (omni-benevolent). Christians believe that every good thing that a person can experience can be traced back to God. But human experience proves another truth: evil exists. 

It is undeniable that there is evil in this world. There are natural evils like tornados, earthquakes, hurricane, tidal waves, and floods. There are physical diseases and conditions like cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s, birth defects, genetic disorders. There is also evil caused by humans. Some human-caused evil is unintentional, such as pain caused by car wrecks and medical mistakes; other human-caused evil is intentional like theft, murder, slander, and rape. Every human being goes through times of emotional pain and physical suffering. During these times, there is a tendency for people to wonder if God is real and to question if He cares about their pain. 

The existence of evil is one of the main objections to the Christian God. A commentator on Reddit asked, “Does it make sense to believe that an all-powerful, infinitely loving and merciful deity is out there who refuses to stop genocide, cancer, child sexual abuse, and starvation?” Another person wrote, “What causes a little girl to get a tumor in her brain? And don’t give me the god-works-in-mysterious-ways copout.” George Barna, the Christian pollster, conducted a nationwide survey asking the question, “If you could ask God one question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask? The most popular response—it was proposed by 17% of the respondents—was “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” 

Atheists and the problem of evil

Atheists often use the problem of evil to argue there is no God. In his essay “God and Evil,” H.J. McCloskey wrote, “Evil is a problem, for the theist, in that a contradiction is involved in the fact of evil on the one hand and belief in the omnipotence and omniscience of God on the other.” David Hume phrased the problem this way: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but 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?”

Various thinkers have tried to resolve this dilemma by denying different characteristics of the God of the Bible.  After his son died of a rare and painful disease, Rabbi Harold Kushner, in his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, denies the validity of God’s omnipotence. While God knows about your pain and wants to help you through your pain, Kushner came to believe that God is unable to alleviate your pain. He portrays God as a “kind-hearted wimp.” Others have denied the omni-benevolence of God. Alan Carter proposes the possibility of an evil God and suggests that God is not as good as we think He is and that He is just playing a trick on us. 

Another way to dodge the problem of evil is to deny that evil exists. This is the approach of some forms of Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, some New Age religions, and mind-science sects like Christian Science. Rather than saying that God is not all-powerful, or all-knowing, or all-good, this approach says that evil is not real because it is just a problem of perception. Good and evil and right and wrong exist in the mind and do not have objective reality. 

A final way to reconcile the nature of God with the existence of evil is to demonstrate that it is possible for God to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good and for evil to exist at the same time. This is the Christian understanding of the dilemma.

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About the Author:  Dr. Daniel King is a missionary evangelist who has traveled to over seventy nations in his quest for souls. His goal is to lead 1,000,000 people to Jesus every year through massive Gospel Festivals, distribution of literature, and leadership training. Because of his experience and research on evangelism, he is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in mass evangelism. As an evangelist, he has a deep interest in using apologetics to convince skeptics that God is real.

Proof God is Real