Notepad Apologetics, Short Lesson #3: The Problem of Suffering and Evil

Rick Mattson Apologetics Leave a Comment

This series of posts is designed to move you quickly to the crux of the matter in apologetics issues.

Prior post: Is Christianity a Historic Oppressor?

The problem of suffering and evil alongside a good, all-powerful God who could presumably eliminate suffering and evil — but apparently doesn’t — is an ancient and complex issue.

Of many responses that could be given, here is one (summarized):

  1. Main image: broken world. In conversation, everything can be built around this image. So:
  2. Human beings exercised their free will to rebel against God, causing brokenness in their own hearts and the whole creation.
  3. But God doesn’t remain high and dry. He gets his hands dirty by participating in the mess, dying on a cross, offering healing and reconciliation to all who would receive him.
  4. Now our job is to take his message of love and salvation to the ends of the earth. We are his agents, sent in his name, to repair a broken world.
  5. I often close my comments on this topic with university students by saying this:

“We tend to sit in the ivory tower and complain that God is not doing his job to alleviate suffering. But God is in his heaven wondering why we are not doing our job of alleviating suffering through the Holy Spirit that He’s given us. We’re supposed to ‘go in his name.’ He probably will not just snap his fingers and fix the world. He wants to involve us in the process. Will you join his team, receive his supernatural power, and be part of the solution?”

* * *

The broken world image is associated with what’s called the “free will defense” in apologetics, and is developed more fully in Faith is Like Skydiving, ch 7.

Next Post: Must we prove God to believe in God?

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