Does Evil Mean God Is Dead? – Greg Albrecht
Given the recent medical issues I face, and given the nature of this unbelievably confusing world to which we have been introduced these past few years, I am having a hard time thinking that God is God. Sometimes, considering the incredible evil I see and now the suffering I am personally experiencing, in my dark moments I find myself thinking that God is not doing anything – he is not intervening – he is not answering prayers. At best, he is allowing evil. But why would a loving God do that? You say God is not a monster god, and most of the time I believe that, but then I have my moments of doubt. Do you have any thoughts for me?
To summarize your thoughts – God is either dead or he is “wrong” (immoral, to use another term – or even evil himself) for allowing evil.
Another way of presenting the same conundrum – God is not God if he allows evil.
The history of mankind, from the creation stories of Genesis going forward, has God allowing humans to make decisions that are wrong and immoral. The nature of the world we inhabit, if God is the Creator, demands that we accept God’s relationship with humans as one in which humans are “allowed” to make choices. God could have made us all to be robots, artificial intelligence, if you like … and no sin, no evil, no wrong, no pain would ever have happened. But he did not.
The Authorized King James translates Isaiah 45:7 as saying God creates evil. The New International Version says “I form the light and I created darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster. I the LORD, do all these things.”
That is, God sets up an environment for humans, of time and space, he has set us in a human habitat of choice, a habitat which allows for the potential for good and evil, and thus one might say that he “creates” evil and darkness and disaster.” This does not make him morally culpable, but responsible for “allowing” bad behavior, dysfunction, immortality and brutality.
Consider the 20th century alone – Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Sadam Hussein, Putin, the current regimes in China, North Korea, Iran …. God has set in motion a world in which all these individuals and the consequences they have causes in the lives of tens of millions …
So that is the brutal fact we must engage as we ponder this dilemma – horrible things happen everyday in our world, right now as I type these words on my keyboard. God does not stop them. Perhaps he does stop some of them, but certainly not all, and it seems not most – maybe a few, but how are we to know that for sure? The central dilemma is that the revelation of God in Christ is that he is love, he is good, merciful, just and kind. If he is all powerful, which seems to be one of our definitions of God, then he is not powerful enough to stop evil.
But we are attempting to understand and prove God on the basis of our world, our premises, our perspectives and our logical assumptions. God’s power is such that he turns power, as we see it, on its head, and instead of remaining aloof and dictating all decisions, he comes into our world in the person of Jesus, in vulnerability and humility, full well knowing that human beings will crucify him, which surely is the greatest evil ever perpetrated. Humans torturing and crucifying the Creator, the Son of God, God in the flesh.
So now, I suggest, we start down another path, as the saying goes, let’s put our “Christ sandals” on and start to work through this dilemma from a Christ-centered way – which in the main I will leave with you, other than to say, for starters, that we must say that God is a completely different kind of God than many of us have assumed him to be. He is far more humble, vulnerable and self-sacrificial than most of us have ever heard coming from religious professionals. Turns out we have misunderstood the goodness and grace of God and tried to turn him into a god in our own image, which is the initial path of understanding most of us take as we try to unravel the evil in this world that God “allows.” He allowed us to kill him, and that is really, the Cross of Christ, the center of our faith. So who is the monster – us or God?