Roman Catholic 25
Dec 11, 19
The Problem of Evil
Existence of evil is arguably the best objection to God we can have. Facing evil can often be the greatest test of our faith. People do not stop to question the existence of a completely good (and at the same time omnipotent) God because of the presence of evil in the world, he created. Interestingly, it is often manifested not in scepticism but as anger towards God for creating such a world. All this is because we misunderstood the nature of evil.
God created the Universe, all the creatures, and a creature in the image of himself – a human. Nature, no matter how much detriment it causes us, is unable to do evil. In order to be able we must differentiate. If something can’t have the idea of good and bad then it never does bad. We humans, are conscious beings gifted with free will. Evil can only come from our choices we can make thanks to our free will. The point of free will is that we can always choose to follow God so it is completely our decision. We can always make bad choices but they will have bad outcomes. It is not God’s creation but the outcome of our choosing. So is hell which is nothing but the outcome of a conscious rejection of God by us. It is not a place he created to torture humans but the evidence that we have the freedom to refuse.
The origin of evil is not God but people freely choosing sin. God is the source of all life and joy and sin is our turning away from that. We have free will, so we can choose evil. The author asks rhetorically: “Would we prefer he had not and had made us robots rather than human beings?” and I happen to not completely agree with this. God would never choose evil while we do. It means we lack something that would allow us to recognise evil but to never choose it. After all, if one knows the right thing to do, one has no choice but to do it. We lack the awareness that evil makes no sense and I just don’t understand why must we repeat this mistake all the time and perhaps learn just a little. With all this why do we cling to the conviction that free will is all good? Ironically this gives me some understanding for God’s limitless mercy. People don’t know what they do. Realising it can really make the ruthlessness seem pointless.
The reading also discusses very popular question: Why do bad things happen to good people? The answer is we should rather wonder why do we get the gift of goodness. We are not good people. Bad things don’t happen to good people. If a person feels like he/she is treated unjustly, bad, this person is not really good. There are bad emotions in this person. In our previous reading “The reasons to believe” in the argument from history, there was a fragment saying that world has a moral design. It reflects the will of God for his followers to flourish and for those who violate his laws to perish. It is designed in a way that good triumphs in the end. This is why a good person in the face of evil does not say that bad thing is happening to him/her. Jesus did not say that. The Saints don’t call themselves good. Suffering gives wisdom and the Saints embrace it as a challenge.
Eventually we must accept that God is incomprehensible and there is no reason we should get the answers and understand his reasons. Arguing with an omniscient being does us no good. Being ignorant, we must still trust those reasons because they are right.