PainThe logical problem of evil (aka the deductive problem) namely that the existence of God is logically incompatible with the existence of evil, has (to the general agreement of modern philosophers) been deflected by Plantinga's free will defense. (See his book God, Freedom & Evil; be ready for heavy philosophical content.) But the emotional problem of evil (aka the inductive problem) will always remain during our lives here on our fallen Earth. When we are faced with obvious evil in the world, or the death of a loved one, our natural response is to question, to ask why, and perhaps to doubt God. Not because we are thinking of some rational objection, but rather because it hurts.

Some people will respond by denying that evil exists. But what is perhaps easy to say is quite difficult to live, or as C S Lewis put it: "Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later." There is a name for the person who denies good and evil: a sociopath. Clearly the proper response to evil is not denial.

Other people will respond to evil by removing God from the equation. While we may point out here that without God, saying something is "evil" is nonsensical, let's ignore that argument for the moment (though I think it is valid and sound) and think about if there is any gain we might receive by "removing" God.

Removing God does not make evil less evil, nor pain less painful. In fact, removing God also removes ultimate hope. Without God, our world seems permanently and irredeemably evil. Without God, there is no ultimate relief from pain, only pain. And there is nothing we can do to solve the problem.

Without God we cry out, not to a loving Father who remains with us and comforts us as we hurt and Himself came to Earth as a human being to suffer and die for us, but instead without God we cry out into the empty void of nothingness that neither hears our cry nor cares for our pain. Removing God results in no gain and much loss.

This of course does not prove that God exists, far from it. But it does indicate what we are giving up if we abandon God.

The crossDr Gary Habermas is a renowned scholar of the resurrection. His minimal facts argument is a persuasive argument that the resurrection actually happened, and thus because Jesus was raised, those who put their trust in Him will be raised, and therefore we should remain hopeful even in the most dire of circumstances. But Habermas does not approach this subject merely as a cold, detached scholar. In his article When Truth Confronts our Worst Suffering, he explains how, in his own hour of deepest despair, the cross of Christ and His resurrection gave him (and will also give us) the greatest hope.

As Paul says so succinctly: "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." (1 Thes 4:13-14)

When a person who knows and trusts in the Lord dies, a Christian grieves, but not as one who has no hope. God is just and merciful, and we know that "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye" we shall see one another again. We put our trust in God, who assures us that the day shall come when "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." (Rev 21:4)

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:50-57)

Dedicated to mils, a constant inspiration in my faith. In prayer and hope.

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