Why Does God Let Evil Exist?

“If God is all LOVING and all POWERFUL why doesn’t God just get rid of all evil in the world and make it a better place?” The skeptic may ask.

Let me offer my opinion:

Do discuss this we first must center in on evil and define it and it’s source. Evil is injustice, crime, suffering etc. But more important than the effects of evil is the source of evil. Evil is caused by the choices of man. It only exists because certain individuals choose to do it. God gave man the ability to choose between His way, or their own way. I do not mean to say that God wants us to be mindless, opinion-less, will-less creatures. But we come to points in everyday life where we must make a conscious decision that has to do with morals, at this moment we can pick our way or God’s way.
For example when the murderer murders, he has not chosen God’s will, for God said “thou shalt murder”, but he has chosen his own will because he has decided to murder. Evil in the form of crime happened because in this case the person did not follow God’s will. If every person were to always choose God’s will in matters of life no evil would ever exist! So the source of evil is in man’s free will.

For God to remove evil in the world would be to remove choice from man. This He simply will not do.

Why?
Because He wants man to choose Him. Does everyone? No, but out of love He must always leave the option for us to turn to Him.
If God were to grant the wish of this skeptic we would only be left with one decision – to obey God at all times, to love Him at all times etc. Think about it like this – if we were able to program a child’s brain at birth and you programmed your children to love you at all times, to honor and serve you at all times no matter what; would it be real love? No, it would be programmed love, unauthentic, and manipulated.
God has not done this, He gives us the choice to turn to Him or to turn away from Him.
The evil that we see on the news today is simply the long term results of turning away from God for centuries. The first decision to disobey God was simply eating a fruit that God said was off limits! It’s wild to think that such global evil today exists as the great great great grandchild of that first decision away from God. Yet here we are. I’m not saying that when someone chooses contrary to God’s will that they are instantly killing children, committing genocide, or starving countries for riches. Because there are many atheists or adherents to other faiths and gods that are not causing the evils that distress humanity. However from this (at times) harmless choice away from God stems the existence of evil.

So we see God, out of genuine love for us and a desire for genuine love from us must give free will. He is not pleased when we turn away from Him but it must be allowed so that we can also turn to Him. So who’s to blame for evil? Man. Why do terrible things happen today? Because we do not follow God’s will at all times. Why won’t God take away every evil thing and fix all suffering because He would be transgressing on His creation – our choice to turn away from Him as well as to Him.

The second thing that should be mentioned when talking about God and the existence of suffering and evil is the standard of suffering and evil. Without God how do we know what suffering is, how do we gauge what is unjust and what is just, how do we discern evil from acceptable acts of humanity? We must have an absolute standard. This standard is God’s character which is not kept secret from us but revealed in His word – the Bible. We find He despises injustice on every level – social, economical, and governmental. We find the definition of love in God’s very being and so we know what it is to love and how to love. But for the atheist to disprove the existence of God because of the existence of evil and suffering – how do they grade what’s acceptable? In a Godless world there is no standard to compare our behavior to in order to come to a conclusion or a realization of any kind of problem at all.

Therefore the existence of God in the midst of suffering gives us some sense that unjust suffering exists at all and that people suffer which ought not be.

This was a conversation I had with myself in an attempt to answer this age old question. What are your thoughts on the proposed question?

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Side-Stepping Maturity

Ever since I moved to Austin, Texas away from family, free rent, and free fridge I have experienced the adult life of paying bills, rent, groceries, and the unexpected hardships that came my way. I have had many things happen since August ’08 that were difficult and inconvenient to say the least. But because of these events my faith and endurance has grown exponentially.

My school is a 3 year program but I am a firm believer that if you stick with it till the end, you will have matured 5-6 years worth of adult life in just 3 years because of the difficulty of living expenses in Austin combined with out of pocket tuition payments.

What am I saying? I have matured because tough things have come my way, and without those hard times I would not be where I am now. It would be a tragedy if I missed those opportunities by giving up.

Here’s a simple but powerful story:

Ginni’s husband was injured at work and lost his job, he was the only source of income and was now rendered unable to work for a number of months. They did not know what to do about bills or payments, on top of all that they had their 3rd child on the way. Ginni’s pastor caught wind of her situation through her small group leader so when Ginni came up for prayer the following Sunday the Pastor was well informed. The Pastor said to Ginni “Ginni, I’m so sorry to hear about your husband, do you need help with bills or expenses? What can we do for you”. Ginni replied “Pray that I don’t waste this opportunity”.

Do we look at our hardships with this perspective? As opportunities? Because that’s what they are, chances to grow. If you bail out, complain, play the victim, and try to manipulate people in to helping you, you are missing the point. God is there for you and wants you to cling to Him.
A Christians goal is to become more like Christ (Eph 5:1-2) and as this happens they become more spiritually mature.

Hbr 5:13 – For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
Hbr 5:14 – But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

So how do we sidestep this maturing process?

  • By giving up
  • By not trusting in God
  • By relying on the flesh
  • By avoiding tough decisions
  • By thinking God’s will for your life is a smooth ride

James says in chapter 1:
1:2 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
1:3 – knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
1:4 – But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

“There’s no shortcut to maturity.”

When something tough comes out of the blue your faith is tested when you can’t fix it yourself, if you could then it wouldn’t be a big issue. We’re talking about those issues that you alone can’t fix – your car breaks and you can’t afford to fix it, your parents express their desire for a divorce, you get let go from your job because of the “economy”, or your income does not match your fixed expenses and you can’t afford bills/school/food. In these instances it becomes very clear that you need God. I’m not saying that only in these times do we need God but when us Americans hit these kinds of dead ends it becomes more obvious. May we recognize our continual need for God throughout our good and bad times.

“Don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is.”

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Religious Truth and Jesus

To piggy back on my last post which focuses on the problem of pluralism and the unavoidable contradictions between mainstream religions here I want to focus on identity of Jesus Christ when it comes to the world religions. He is, after all, the stumbling block and the rock of offense!

Departure From Truth

The Bible tells us that there will be an increase of deception and lies as the days draw closer to Christ’s return. This will come through confusion of the truth (Rom 1:25, Gal 3, 1Tim 6:5, 2Tim 4:4, 2Pet 2:1-3) and by false prophets (Mat 24:11, 2Tim3:13, 2Pet 2:1-3). It is crucial that we be able to recognize an untruth when we hear one and separate it from the Truth so that we are not misled as many surely will be (Mat 24:24). When approaching this subject Biblically we must recognize that Satan is ultimately behind this global departure from the Truth and that he will use the intentions of wicked and innocent men alike as long as his goals are accomplished.

2Corinthians 11:4 – For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted–you may well put up with it!

Anti-Christ

The message of Christ is precisely what Satan has labored so intensely to get rid of so that we would not embrace the saving truth of Jesus Christ. The true gospel message of Christ has been pushed aside by entire religious movements claiming new deities and methods of redemption, it has been corrupted by false doctrines from within the church such as Unitarianism and Universalism, and it has been discredited by atheistic theories such as Agnosticism, Buddhism, and Atheism.

Galatians 1:6-8 – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

1John 4:3 – and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Types of Truth

  • Absolute Truth- A truth or set of truths that is believed to remain true despite the circumstance, personal perception or personal opinion. Unalterable facts and inflexible reality.
  • Relative Truth   – What is considered truth is not consistently true but flexible depending on the circumstance or outcome.
  • Existential Truth – Truth is discovered personally and one must choose what is truth, what you choose to be true is true for you.

Types of Religious Truth

  • Pluralism – All major world religions lead to God and salvation. Thus, no one religion is inherently better or superior to any other major world religion. Pluralists acknowledge the differences among major religions but consider them minor and focus more on the “major” similarities such as love for God and love for others.
  • Inclusivism – One religion is best but salvation is possible in others. Inclusivists do not go as far as pluralists in that inclusivists do not claim that all religions are equal. They do believe, though, that truth and salvation can be found in other religions. Some Christian inclusivists claim that the salvation of Jesus is unknowingly applied to adherents of other religions who live good, moral lives.
  • Exclusivism – Salvation is found in only one religion which is uniquely and supremely true and all other religions are false. Christianity is an exclusive religion because of the many of the claims Christ made about Himself such as John 14:6.

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Is Jesus God?

Along side the Rapture, Spiritual Gifts and Mary, the question of “Is Jesus God” is one of the most debated theological issues so should I dare tackle it? You bet!

This subject surfaced yesterday in my Apologetics class where I was assigned to debate for Mormonism and my friend Josh was debating for Christianity. We got to discussing the issue of salvation and then the subject of Christ’s true identity came up. The teacher took over and we went over a number of points in the Bible that pointed to Jesus as being God. I want to share our findings and expound on them here.

Jesus forgave sins

If Bob offended Claire and you don’t know wither individual personally, can you approach Bob and say “I forgive you for what you did to Claire”? Of course not, the only person who can say “I forgive you” is Claire herself. Similarly how can Jesus tell sinners that they are forgiven of sin when they only sinned against a possible victim and against God? Because Jesus is God. Jesus is recorded saying “your sins are forgiven you” in two different instances in the Gospels.

No other person could forgive sins, High Priests could make offerings for sins but ultimately it was not them who was forgiving the person, it was God on behalf of their offering. When Jesus forgave sins even the Jews understood that this was only something God could do, and because they would not accept Him as God they labeled this blasphemy.

Mat 9:2 – Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
Mat 9:3 – And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

Luk 7:48 – Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Luk 7:49 – And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Jesus is God Revealed

A few times in the Old Testament some fortunate men have had God reveal Himself to them in some kind of human form, now we know that God is not a man so this seems strange. On top of that the scriptures say that no one has ever seen God (Exo 33:20, Jhn 1:18, 1Jhn 4:12) yet men are still recorded as seeing God (Gen 32:30, Exo 33:11,

  • Ezekiel saw a vision of a man on a throne above four heavenly creatures, his body was ablaze with fire, he was surrounded by rainbow like light, Ezekiel described him as the appearance of the glory of the Lord. (Ezekiel 1:25-28)
  • Daniel saw the Ancient of Days in a vision, He wore white garments, had hair like wool. (Dan 7:9)
    (^Thanks Peter for this addition)
  • Jacob wrestled with a Man who refused to tell him His name, Jacob assumed it was God. (Gen 32:30)
  • Moses and some others saw God on the mountain standing on a ground of sapphire. (Exo 24:10)
  • John saw Jesus in a vision as a man with hair white like wool, eyes of fire, feet like brass, and his countenance was like the shining of the sun. (Rev 1:11-18)

I believe that when men “saw God” they actually saw Christ who preexisted the birth of the human Jesus. In the scripture we find ground for this understanding of Christ’s part in the trinity, He is the image of God that we can see and perceive.
Hbr 1:3 – who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person
Phl 2:6 – who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
Col 2:9 – For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Jesus is Above Angels and Man

  • Jesus has angels or is in charge of select mighty angels. (2Thes 1:7)
  • God never called any angel His Son, but He did called Jesus Son. (Heb 1:5)
  • The Angels worshiped Jesus. (Heb 1:6)
  • No Angel ever sat at God’s right hand but Jesus does. (Heb 1:13)

The only living beings God is recorded as having made is Angels, Heavenly beasts, Humans, and Animals. Jesus Christ does not fit completely in any of the categories because He was part of creation and divine so He is not simply a human. He is given authority of angels yet is not an angel. The only other being who fits this description is God Himself.

Jesus Never Refuted His Divinity

The Apostles as well as John the Baptist and Paul were believed to be gods or divine people by different people but they were quick to correct their theology by saying they were not divine nor were they gods. Jesus on the other hand did not fight it when people thought He was God. The Jews understood some of His sayings as claiming that He was God and they wanted to stone Him yet Jesus did not correct them as He did with other theological errors they expressed. If Jesus was not God He did us a great injustice by not saying “I am not God”. We are left to perceive that by His inaction He agreed with peoples accusations of Him being God.

Jhn 10:33 – The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
Jhn 5:18 – Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

When Thomas touched the wounds of the resurrected Christ he said “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) ^Thanks Mathetes for this contribution

Jesus Fulfilled Prophecies about God

Many scriptures in the Old Testament speak of things God promised to do but had not done, until Jesus came along. It’s not a coincidence that Jesus fulfilled these prophecies or promises of God, because He is God. God did them while He was Jesus on this Earth.

Psa 107:29 – He calms the storm, So that its waves are still.
Who does that sound like? Can you think of anyone else but Jesus who is recorded as calming the storm in Biblical or secular history? Didn’t think so…

Isa 45:17 – But Israel shall be saved by the LORD With an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced Forever and ever.
Isa 51:5 – My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait upon Me, And on My arm they will trust.
Israel will not always be oppressed by the people of the Earth! They will rule and reign with Christ in the New Jerusalem. Jesus will also judge all nations.

Isa 59:16 – He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

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Are All Religions True?

“I think all religions are equally true and that there’s no right or wrong religion.”

“All religions really worship the same God.”

“All religions are just different paths to the same God.”

“Whatever you believe is right for you.”

“The basics of each religion are really the same, there’s a lot of similarities, so I think that’s what’s truly important.”

These are things you will hear from people all around the world today, especially here in Austin Texas (trust me, I’ve heard it all)! These opinions have gained popularity in the past 50 years with people who were either raised religious and left their formal beliefs or just enjoy the idea of a God/belief system. Yet they base their belief on one common opinion – all religions can be simultaneously true. Of course their are variations to this opinion but I want to address in this blog the problem of pluralism.

“Religious pluralism” – A term used to describe the acceptance of all religious paths as equally valid, promoting coexistence. A loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of various religions, and is used in a number of related ways. (wikipedia)

Christianity’s Exclusivity

“Religious exclusivism” – The doctrine that only one particular religion is true. In its normative form it is simply, the belief in ones own religion and non-belief in religions other than ones own. (wikipedia)

Exclusivism is the opposite of Pluralism, if you are a believer in Religious exclusivism you believe that all other religions are wrong and that your religion is true. Exclusivism excludes all other religions from truth, it’s exclusive. This subject really ticks some people off because they see it as arrogant, prideful, self righteous and even hateful! However truth is something that is independent of ones pride, opinion, or location. Truth is always true.

It’s hard to escape the exclusive claims about faith in Christ that the Bible states, here are some to not forget:

  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
  • “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ “. John 14:6
  • “Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” John 8:19
  • “If we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8
  • “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” Act 4:11
  • “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
  • “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” Luke 10:16
  • “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” John 12:48

So it is apparent that if you are a Christian that you must recognize the importance of Christ – that you cannot be with God in heaven without knowing Christ here. The message of the Gospel and the Words of Christ carry exclusive claims and exclusive truths, Jesus is the only way to God, heaven, and forgiveness.

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Who is Satan?

Satan is the enemy of God, Christians, and Christianity as a whole yet many Christians do not understand who Satan is, they fear him as the boogie man and feel they cannot escape his hand. Satan has used ignorance to his advantage in this area. I encourage you to read through this list and check the scriptures as you compare it to your current view of Satan, let the Word wash and cleanse you of any misconceptions or religious assumptions.

Origin of

Satan was created by God -Ezekiel 28:13

Satan was perfect before he sinned -Ezekiel 28:15

Many ask in vain why did God create evil, well the answer is that God never made anything evil. God made humans and angels with the free will capacity to choose right or wrong. The evil that exists now was caused by Lucifer choosing against God (and no longer being called by his angelic name) and man’s choice to do evil. Satan was good at first but then became evil on his own doing.
Because Satan was created by God; he is still under the authority and power of God. We have been given spiritual authority over Satan as well but it’s not of our own right, but by the powerful name of Jesus that Satan and his angels must flee. No matter the darkness God is always bigger and if He’s on your side you have nothing to fear.

Fall of

Satan planned to overthrow God -Isaiah 14:13-14,

Satan sinned on his own -Ezekiel 28:15-18, 1John 3:8

Satan was sent out of heaven -Isaiah 14:12, 15, Luke 10:18, Revelation 12:9

Satan engaged in battle in heaven -Revelation 12:7-9

Satan’s sin was pride -1Timothy 3:6

So at first Satan was good, in fact he was the highest ranked angel and because of this powerful position he became prideful. He took for granted his blessings and did not remember his proper position under God. Satan wanted to do his own will instead of God’s and he wanted to be above god. Satanism as well as Atheism follows the same route – you are your own god and sovereign authority.
Because of Lucifers sin there was no place in heaven God created hell for him and his rebellious angels to dwell in. This is similar to how Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden of Eden because of their sin. Imperfection cannot dwell with God, this is why we cannot go to heaven on our own account, we must have the righteousness of Christ on us before we enter heaven.

Image of

Satan was covered with beautiful stones -Ezekiel 28:13

Satan had timbrels and pipes made for him -Ezekiel 28:13

Satan fought as a dragon in heaven -Revelation 12:7

Satan can appear as an angel of light -2Corinthians 11:14

Satan used a serpent to deceive Eve -2Corinthians 11:3

When talking about the image of Satan first, remove from your mind any skinny red suited being with a tail and a pitchfork. Second, remember Satan is a spiritual being which are not subject to the same rules as us physical humans. Satan is seen represented or taking different forms throughout the Bible story so it is not too far fetched to believe that rebellious spiritual being have some ability to control or morph their form at will. Angels however, being obedient to God have not changed their form but are able to enter in to the physical world and interact with it tangibly. Many people have claimed divine revelation from angels, or have spoken with Mary/others who appear as beautifully shining beings. This should worry anyone who has studied the Bible because Satan knows how to appeal to our senses and grab our attention.

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Battlefield Earth

Sorry L. Ron Hubbard, this isn’t a review of your most excellent science fiction movie… (sarcasm!) it’s about how Earth is a battlefield and we are the prized possession.

Ground Zero

We were all born in to a world under siege, a ground zero for the most ancient and primary of enemies. The moves of these two forces  sculpt our society, our future and fill our past.

Who are the two forces at war? Heaven and Hell.
What are they fighting for? Our heart and our eternity.

The Prize and Strategy

God wants mankind to come to and be with Him. Satan does not want mankind to be with God. You could also say God wants us to worship Him and Satan simply does not want us to worship God.

I did not say “God wants us to worship Himself and Satan wants us to worship himself“. Satan doesn’t care what you do with your life so long as you don’t worship or have a relationship with God. I do not say that there aren’t people who don’t worship Satan, because there certainly are however Theistic Satanism is one of the many paths by which Satan keeps people from God.

Satan’s will is accomplished through uncountable avenues. There are infinite ways to not be with God but there is only one way to be with God – Christ. And the true Christ is who Satan wants to keep us away from, this is the force behind all of the attacks against Christ and Christianity. I think Satan is even happy with a lot of people who attend Churches in America because he has kept them from accepting the true Christ, but placed them in an atmosphere where they think they are fine when in reality they are not actually saved. I also strongly believe Satan does not care if you are a Hindu, Buddhist, Agnostic, Muslim, Atheist, or a New Ager; as long as you don’t know Christ, Satan is happy. What he does care about is if you are a true Christian. This is the one thing Satan wants to prevent – you knowing God here on Earth and spending eternity with Him afterward.

Why Does Satan Care?

So why does Satan care so much about man kind that he would involve himself in such detail? What does he get out of it anyway? Well my opinion tells me that because of Satan’s defeat and excommunication from heaven encourages him to try and pull down as much of mankind as possible, which is the apple of God’s eye. If he can’t have God anymore than he thinks neither should we!
Satan was the rebellious leader in Heaven who rallied and deceived 1/3 of heavens angels in to an attempt to overthrow the throne of Heaven!

Isaiah 14:13
For you (Satan) have said in your heart: ‘
I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.

Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

However, Lucifer and his angels did not prevail against their own creator, they were all kicked out of Heaven and out of fellowship with God which twisted their good nature and filled them with evil intent to all they did whereas before worship and honoring God filled their every action. I do not know the mind of Satan (which is probably a good thing), but I suppose he thinks he can spoil God’s newest and unique creation with his efforts of evil against man kind. And in doing so get back at God for hurting his angelic ego. If Satan can no longer be in God’s presence perhaps he figures neither can we and so efforts to depopulate Heaven and populate hell.

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