|Series Theme: Problem of Evil & Suffering|
Title: 1. What is Evil
series that considers the problem of evil and suffering
There is a problem though - we all have history - and because of what has happened to us personally, many people are hurt by life and find it very difficult to cope with any alternative to the view they have adopted.
Our only request is that as you read you have an open mind that is willing to think through the issues here.
The Fact of Evil
…… and so the list could go on and on and on. Things go wrong, people are nasty, people are killed, maimed, hurt, distressed. Why?
2. Where is God?
We'll assume, to start with, that there IS a God, an all-powerful God.
3. What IS Evil?
The Bible gives the fullest picture of what makes up what we call "Creation".
are living creatures, living organisms and inanimate objects . We could
categorise them as follows:
If you do not believe in the Bible it may be that you have a problem with "Spirit beings".
We'll simply note that an increasing number of people - e.g. New Age - believe in a "spirit world", a dimension of existence more than simply the material things we can touch and feel.
Now please note in this classification, and this is important to note, there is no amorphous substance called "evil"!
God didn't make something called "evil". We can't blame God for making this substance that causes us harm!
When we assess something as evil, we usually mean something that causes us harm.
We generally have a belief that anything that harms us, is "evil", so anything or anyone causing us wrong hurt, harm, pain, or death, we classify as "evil". (NOT the doctor or dentist who causes pain to rectify and heal!)
In the above categories we'll now consider where harm seems to come from.
4. Where does Harm Come From?
Now the Bible appears to indicate that these last three groups did not seem to cause harm when God first made the world . In fact the Bible says that when God first made the world it was "very good".
If we lived alone on most of the world today, with no other human being in existence, we would still say that, creation is very good.
The tremendous variety of provision for both food and general enjoyment is amazing, sufficient to provide for the entire human population (i.e. no need for famines).
Sickness occurs world wide, yet researchers have suggested that if the whole human race lived according to the guidelines given by God to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament of the Bible, most of the diseases we know about would be avoided.
5. The Spectrum of Wrong Behaviour
When we think like this, we also tend to think that 'we' are not like that, we are not evil.
At the top end of the spectrum could be murder or rape, but even verbal abuse, or even neglect (of an elderly person) can cause harm.
There will not be one of us who can look back over our lives and say we have never been guilty of causing harm in some form to another.
However much we may try to make light of this and excuse it by saying, "Well I was justified in acting like that," it is still 'wrong'.
6. I am evil?
Yet the truth is that lurking within us is the potential to cause harm to another whether by word or deed.
When we can be honest with ourselves we can see that there are times, when in anger, we abuse another. Every one of us without exception is tainted with this potential we call evil (and we need help).
7. Not me!
We can see it in others but are afraid to face it in ourselves. The truth is that evil in the world starts in me!
This is why the Christian message is the most realistic of the answers given to the problems of the world, because it starts with the reality of how we really are.
If we can face this one first of all, we're ready to go on to consider the next big question - why doesn't God do something - and for that you'll have to read the next page in this series.