Life is a maze. There is an amazing phenomena of nature called an “Ant Mill.” where ants walk in circles until something incredible happens. Most ants navigate by using eyesight and some other senses, but when many get disorientated they follow the ant in front of them, it’s a survival instinct. But if that lead ant does not know where it is going– it follows the ant in front of it, and they march in circles until they die of exhaustion and starvation. It is one of the strangest sights in nature. We are in this secular age like these ants, following after the next fad or new spiritual guru on TV, walking in spiritual darkness…finding not spiritual salvation but spiritual starvation instead.
How can we find our way without a leader? Are the leaders we do have blind? How can we know without a reference point beyond ourselves?
David Hume, Epicurus and J.L. Mackie and Dawkins would have disagreed that evil is our fault. They lay the problem at the throne of God himself. They are the most famous articulators of the famous logical problem of evil.
1. If God is all Powerful. Omnipotent –he could stop all evil globally.
2.If God is all knowing, Omniscient, he would know when and how to stop it.
3. If God is all Good –Omni Beneficent, then he would want to eliminate evil
4. But evil exists and grows…
4. Therefore, God does not exist
But does atheism really provide a better answer? If we eliminate God what are we left with? I found that atheism cheapens life. Man is as Shakespear said “Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Degrass Tyson, said it well….we are insignificant” according then. How according to atheism can you even have an objective evil to object to?
According to Richard Dawkins, we all all advanced DNA, and all we can do is dance to its music!
However, according to the majority of philosophers in my profession, all the theist must do is show how it is possible for a good God to exist and evil to exist too. Great philosophers like Aquinas, Augustine and most recently, world class Philosophers like Richard Swinburne and Alvin Plantinga argued well that that the freewill defense shows that even for God it is logically impossible to create free people who must always choose good as much as it is impossible to create square circles or married bachelors. Evil is a necessary by byproduct of the power of love and choice. We must be able to choose to love or hate. If we do not have that power then we are not free. Since God choose to create free people, he cannot thus make them choose to love him and others. If he did then they would not be free. Also there is another way to address this. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Suma Theologica quoting Augustine that, “Since God is the Highest Good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His Omnipotence and Goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.” –Saint Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion
Today on our podcast, I interview my friend, Jamie Dew on this universal issue of evil.
Jamie Dew, is Dean of the College at Southeastern where he teaches Philosophy and the History of Ideas. He earned his PhD in Theological Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastored in NC for 10 years. Currently, he is working on a second PhD in Philosophy from the University of Birmingham in England pertaining to what it means to be a human being.
He is the author of Science and Theology: An Assessment of Alister McGrath’s Critical Realist Perspective (Wipf & Stock, 2010), co-author of How Do We Know?: An Introduction to Epistemology (IVP, 2013), and co-editor of God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain (IVP, 2013). He also has several books in the works!
More importantly he is married to the sweet and beautiful Tara Dew and together, they have two sets of twins!
Also mentioned in this past case was Rabbi Kushner’s book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.