Having discussed Natasha Crain's unfalsifiable evidence for God in my previous three posts (i.e. science doesn't have all of the answers, therefore God), we're moving into Chapter 2 of Keeping Your Kids on God's Side. It's duly titled "How could a good God allow evil and suffering?" How, indeed. While the problem of evil poses no real problem for the atheist who understands and accepts the harshness of reality at times, it is certainly a problem for the Christian. Why would God allow the gratuitous evil that pervades our daily lives? As Natasha recognizes, "If God is all-good, He would eliminate evil. If God is all-powerful, He could eliminate evil. But evil exists. How, then, can the existence of evil be reconciled with the existence of God?" Short answer: it can't. Nevertheless, Christians will undoubtedly come to God's rescue and work their way backwards to defend his every move. Here goes.
To introduce the subject of evil, Natasha offers a brief description of the "fall of man" that takes place in the Garden of Eden as relayed in the book of Genesis. She acknowledges that skeptics will not accept this explanation for evil since they do not accept the veracity of the Bible. True, and neither should Christians, especially considering the mythological origins of the the creation story and more importantly, the impossibility that the entire genetic ancestry of humanity emerged from two individuals. If there is no Adam and Eve, then there is no original sin. Problem solved, right? No, that would be too easy. Rather, Natasha continues her explanation of evil by comparing it to the rotting of a tree. Just as a formerly healthy tree may be corrupted by rot, we, too, can be corrupted by our own free will. In other words, God is only capable of creating good things. However, he did provide us with a free will because he so graciously did not want to force us to love him. It is this free will that allows for the possibility of evil. Let's think about this supposed "free will" for a moment.
So, obviously, there's a little problem with the Christian idea of free will, as the video aptly points out. But it may not be the biggest problem. The Bible clearly tells us that it is not humans' free will that allows for evil actions, but rather it is God who creates evil.
Isaiah 45:7 (KJV) 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
Still not convinced? Let's see what the Bible says about free will.
Romans 8:28-30 (ESV) 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Wait. Does that say what I think it says, "and those whom he predestined..."? What free will? Also,
Ephesians 1:11-12 (ESV) 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
It certainly seems, based on the Biblical text, that God has predetermined some of us to be followers of him while the rest of us are subject to eternal damnation. (Hey, no fair!) So, God did create evil and there's no free will after all. Consequently, God does not get a free pass on this one.
The last section of the chapter covers natural evil. Natasha points out that, "While skeptics might admit that God need not be responsible for the free will actions of humans, they are quick to point out that humans don't choose devastating natural disasters." No, humans certainly don't choose natural disasters, but according to the verse above (Isaiah 45:7), God does. Natasha tells us that "God must have morally sufficient reasons for permitting the natural evil we do see." Well, that's reassuring.
I'm so glad that I don't have to play this game anymore. I no longer have to defend the undefensible and wonder why God would be so consistently inconsistent. The world makes so much more sense now.