Me ~ Did you like the movie "God's Not Dead"?
John ~ Yeah, it was a very good movie, it was exceptional all around: the acting, the script, the acting. It was the Good News presented in modern context. There was excellent apologetic reasoning, good witnessing about the power of the Holy Spirit - healing, and discussion among believers who were unevenly yoked in marriage and or a relationship. It touched on so many current subjects important to today's Christians and especially spoke to those who have doubts (as most of the class) or were new to it as we saw with the Chinese student for example. He was a virgin and swept up by it which was absolutely beautiful.
Me ~ In the movie, there was touched upon the often asked question "why do bad things happen or why does evil exist in the world, how would you answer that?"
John ~ I would answer the same way the young man in the movie did. He could have embellished but he gave a straight forward answer which is that there exists absolutes of good and evil.
Me ~ Does that mean that we cannot know good without evil? We cannot in fact know ourselves without bad things happening as it was demonstrated by the Professor's character in his relation with his mother. The Professor's problem was that by denying the bad thing that happened in his life, he lost sight of himself. Am I right?
John ~ Yes and No. I don't accept the dualist idea that evil must exist. Evil is the absence of substance.Evil is the result of bad choices based on ignorance. It is not something that gives wisdom. Satan 'serpent' told Eve that it would. That is not true. Evil is a consequence of choice. C.S. Lewis wrote that we inherently know what we ought to do, this was embedded in our divine nature. However, in this fallen world, we have to remember that evil came into the Garden because of bad choice.
Me ~ So, you are saying that evil did not have to happen. Are you saying that God knew the odds that evil was a possibility, that it would happen?
John ~ Yes. Otherwise, we would live in a deterministic universe where nothing is left to chance. In that universe, there can be no free will. Therefore, there was always a chance that evil would appear.
Me ~ We can't make the right the choice unless evil is an option, right?
John ~ Choice and ignorance make evil possible. It is a natural result of free will . For example, if I forced my wife to marry, is she my wife, does she love me? Probably not. Most people don't want to be married to someone who does not love them. In the same way, God wants us to love him out of choice, free will, not a coercion. Part of the reason why God seems hard to find, is that it has to take some level of effort on our part. It takes effort to purse the relationships just as women would enjoy a man pursuing them out of interest. It demonstrates how much interest. Are you really interested in me or pretending? In human relationships we have this pursuit required to demonstrate the level of interest and sincerity. In the same way, God wants us to pursue him. By sending his son, he demonstrated his love through sacrifice. Now, it is our turn to demonstrate our love, if we are interested.
There is another aspect to the problem of evil which is an obstacle for people. If He created it or allowed it, is He not the ultimate source of evil. This one trips up a lot of people. It basically... why do bad things happen to good people. First, we have to get rid of false assumptions that God can create evil. A perfectly good God can't do such a thing. The second thing is that we have to leave behind the idea that there are good people. The third thing is that, everything we think of as bad is not necessarily bad and not everything we think of as good is necessarily good. What God sees is often the reverse.Often times God uses evil to accomplish good ends and defeat evil at the same time.
Therefore, God can use evil but that does not mean that he created it. We created it through choice and God knew that would likely happen because He created us with free will. Which means evil had to come from somewhere else. That somewhere else was individual choice. And it still is today. To answer the second assumption, often times what we think is bad in our lives is actually a force for good in developing our character. The easy street in life that we think is good can be bad for us because it does not result in character development. In the end, character development is what God is most concerned about in our lives. That goes as far as to answer the third assumption ...what is bad can be used for good.
Sometimes, bad things do happen such as earthquakes and accidents that result in the death of loved ones. It is important to remember that none of these things would be affecting our lives had not humanity fallen from its perfect relationship with God at the very beginning. So evil, is a natural consequence of human choice. If God were to stop evil from ever happening, humanity could not exist. God uses evil for good. What is that good? The good, is that there will be created beings that will become His eternal family.
However,because of the first bad choice (Adam and Eve both guilty), sin entered the world. Because of that, death and evil are tied because of sin. Thus, death is the only way to overcome evil in this world. Which means, embedded in evil is its own doom, its own expiration. Jesus Christ came into the world to tell us that there is salvation; that death is not the end. People that choose to be saved will inherit the Kingdom, which is the right choice, and they will have eternal life. God's plan all along which is the best result. All things work together for good. So, God is not dead, He is truly alive and because of Him, so are we!