In my last post, I contend that a God who is infinitely more powerful than me would also be infinitely more knowledgeable than me. So if God is infinitely knowledgeable, why couldn’t he have morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil that I can’t think of? Just because I can’t think of any, doesn’t mean an infinitely knowledgeable God doesn’t have any. In the end, to believe that a truly good and all-powerful God exists in a world of evil and suffering requires humility.
Consider an illustration. Think of little children and their relationship to their parents. Three-year-olds cannot understand most of the reasons a parent may allow or disallow certain things. But they are capable of truly knowing and understanding their parents’ love for them in spite of this deficit. The difference between God and human beings is infinitely greater than the difference between a thirty-year-old parent and a three-year-old child. This ought to show us that while we may not understand all the reasons God allows or disallows certain things, through the cross of Jesus Christ we can know God’s love in a very real and deep way.
A truly good God would not want evil to exist.
An all-powerful God would not allow evil to exist.
Therefore, a God who is both good and powerful cannot exist.
So goes the logic.
But there is a hidden premise buried inside the argument. The premise is: God does not have any good reasons to allow suffering and evil to exist. But suppose someone has a very strong desire for something and is able to obtain that thing, but doesn’t act on it because he has reasons for not doing so that appear to outweigh the desirability of the thing. How do we know it doesn’t work this way with God? Might God have reasons for allowing suffering and evil to exist that in his mind outweigh the desirability of their non-existence?
The problem of evil and suffering used to be a personal struggle for me until I began to realize some of that struggle comes from intellectual arrogance. Those who argue against the existence of God based on evil and suffering seem to say, “If I can’t see any reasons God might have for permitting evil, then he doesn’t have any.”
But a God who is infinitely more powerful than me would also be infinitely more knowledgeable than me. I began to realize that if God is infinitely knowledgeable, why couldn’t he have morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil that I can’t think of?
This is why, in the end, to believe that a truly good and all-powerful God exists in a world of evil and suffering requires humility.
A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride… - Proverbs 14:3
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” - Psalm 14:1
Those who aren't familiar with the Christian gospel may not realize this, but the cross of Jesus Christ is a public statement about the sin of each individual human being. The bloodied and eviscerated body of Jesus Christ serves as a visual demonstration of the heinousness of my sin.
In reflecting on this, Milton Vincent writes, "If I wanted others to think highly of me, I would conceal the fact that a shameful slaughter of the perfect Son of God was required that I might be saved."
So when we stand at the foot of the cross, we are exposed. It screams for all to hear we have sins we wished no one would ever discover. In a way, the worst tidbits about my life have been brought out into the open through the cross.
This can be incredibly freeing. Why would anyone be shocked to hear about my struggles with sin? With a megaphone, the cross has already publicized this information. So there's no need to hide.
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." - James 5:16