The Problem of Evil
“The cartoon that is our life is far funnier than reality” – David Sader. This quote has not much relevance to the story, The Problem of Evil by Peter Kreeft but it felt significant and poetic and it had to be shared.
“The problem of evil is the most serious problem in the world and the one serious objection to the existence of God”, a quote by Peter Kreeft. If God is so good, why is the world so bad? Drugs, Hitler and cancer are a few examples of what makes the world bad and yet people say God is good, but how if he lets things like Hitler and wars and unjustly death happen. The problem of evil that Kreeft talks about has four parts and the only cure to them is to forgive, to choose not to resent.
The first problem of evil is that evil is not a thing. All things are either the creators or the creatures created by the creator but everything God created is good. The argument against this is that if God is the creator of everything and evil is a thing, then God is the creator of evil. But evil is not a thing therefore he did not create it. Humans did, they created it by making a bad choice. Evil is not a thing but a wrong choice. Kreeft says evil is no more a positive thing than blindness is, but it is just as real. Evil is not a thing but it isn’t an illusion either.
The second problem is that the origin of evil is not the creator but the creature’s freely choosing sin and selfishness. Freely choosing is the key word in that. If we take away all the bad we would have heaven on earth. Saints endure the suffering and even embrace it like lovers embrace heroic challenges. But heroes don’t win, they usually lose everything but they do it because they are heroes, it is what makes them that way. God gave us a share in his power to choose freely and we are choosing wrong and that is where evil came from. If you rebel against God you’ll lose life and joy. Resent and rebellion equals a hardened heart.
The third is how to resolve the problem in practice. Not just in theory or thought but in life. Our part is to repent, to believe and to work with God. Kreeft says “The solution in practice is as strong and clear as the sun: it is the Son.”
Finally, the last problem is a philosophical problem. Why do bad things happen to good people? The real question is why do good things happen to bad people? If you think you’re perfect and the things in your life makes it bad then you are doing something wrong. But if your life is a bad one but the things in it make your life good, then you’re doing it right. The best people are the ones who are most reluctant to call themselves good people. Kreeft said “sinners think they are saints, but the saints know they are sinners. The best man who ever lived once said, No one is good but God is alone.”
People ask why does God let the bad things happen to good people but you should not as that, you should ask why does he let good things happen to bad people. The only solution to the problems of evil is to choose not to resent, choose to not do the evil things. God does not create the bad, he is the creator of us and we are the creators of evil. And the only way to stop it is to use the freedom we have to not choose the wrong choice.