If God can do anything, why didn’t He stop some of the great evils of our day from happening
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|If God exists, why is there evil in the world? What is evil? Where did evil come from? Why doesn’t God intervene and stop all evil? How can physical evils such as earthquakes, tornadoes and cancer be explained? Is there a good reason for the existence of hell on which even some atheists would agree? What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 8, Cat. No. EVL
Keywords: All Powerful God, Free choice, Miracles, free will
- Ankerberg: One of the big questions that people have regarding the problem of evil is this: “If God is God, He can do anything He wants to do. So, why wouldn’t He stop some of the great evils of our day from happening? The Bible says He will someday, but right now He has a good reason for permitting evil to occur. What are those reasons? Listen:
- Ankerberg: All right. Now, what we’re talking about is, God has thought this whole thing through and for the good of freedom, has come up with a “package,” if you want, that has certain dangers with it. And let’s take some of the objections to what we just brought out and let’s answer them.
- Some people say, “Okay, if God is all loving and God is all powerful, all right, with some of these things that are happening, shoot! God could miraculously intervene and stop the lightning from coming out of the sky, stop the tornado and the hurricane, stop your kid from falling off the cliff. He could miraculously intervene. Why doesn’t God just kind of do this on a 50/50 basis?
- Geisler: Because He can’t do what’s contradictory. If He stopped the lightning, He would also be stopping the creation of nitric acid. Because as the lightning goes through the oxygen and the nitrogen, it combines into NO3 which is liquid fertilizer, and did you ever notice how your grass grows better after a thunder and lightning storm? So, there are all of these things in the balance of nature. It’s very easy for us as a finite being to criticize the plan, but my answer to the atheist is, “You try and make a better world. You come up, you design for me a world with all of its infinite intricacy that is better than this one. Design a better body than a human body where all of the things have to be taken into consideration to make it work.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, I find science, which we hold in such high esteem, is based on the regularity of natural law and what they’re advocating is, “Listen, God intervene, do miraculous acts”–you could just wipe out science at that point.
- Geisler: Sure. If you, let’s say, suspended the law of gravity in order to save someone miraculously from falling off a cliff, and then everybody in the world who is drinking water, the water went up their nose and choked them all and they died of choking–you see the incredible amount of consequences that come once you start disrupting. Furthermore, if you disrupt nature regularly, then it’s no longer a miracle because what happens regularly is a natural law. You have to have a natural law as a basis for miracles. God does do miracles, but He does them only occasionally and rarely because if they were done more regularly, one, we wouldn’t learn anything from our actions because they would always be miraculously intercepted; two, it wouldn’t be a backdrop for the type of physical world in which we live, which is a necessary moral proving ground; and three, it wouldn’t be possible for the truly miraculously to happen because that has to be a rare event.
- Ankerberg: Not only that, but then you’d have to have another God on top of God because God would be caught in moral dilemmas in trying to choose who gets a miracle and who doesn’t.
- Geisler: Yeah.
- Ankerberg: Explain that one.
- Geisler: Well, it’s the same thing we’re always doing. You know, the farmers pray for rain while we’re praying for no rain for a picnic–which, God can’t do both. It’s got to either rain or not rain. So, since God can’t do what is contradictory, since it’s a moral proving ground, since a moral pain is a moral lesson to achieve His ultimate moral goal, if you consider all those factors, this is the best kind of world to produce the best world. Again, this is not the best of all possible worlds. It is the best of all possible ways to get to the best of all possible worlds.
- Ankerberg: People say, “Could God, I mean, surely God, with all His power, with all His smarts, could have made a better world than the one we’re living in.” But you’re saying this is the best possible way to get to that world and we’ve got to unpack all of that. But for the guy that is in physical suffering right now, or had an accident or “sweating” with cancer, or whatever–what word of encouragement do you have to go to God and to trust Him for the future?
- Geisler: First of all, there is a God there who knows everything. He knows exactly why you’re suffering. Secondly, it’s only temporary. Thirdly, His own Son came and went through suffering that is far worse than what you’re going through for you so that you don’t have to suffer forever. That’s really good news.