God and the problem of... good?

A lot has been said over the years about how the existence of suffering somehow disproves the existence of God. Countless souls have been darkened by terrible loss and pain, bitter because of the perceived evil in their lives. The problem is that we often take out our anger on God when something traumatic happens. Others have explained it from a more philosophical approach:

“If God is all-powerful and all-good, it would have created a universe with no suffering and no evil. But, evil and suffering exist. Therefore God does not exist, is not all-powerful or is not benevolent...It seems that if there is a god, it is not the all-good moral being that classical religions would have us believe” (Introduction To The Problem Of Evil, Crabtree,

Even though the existence of evil does call many things into question, it does not change the fact that God exists and is wholly just. What evil proves is the existence of mankind’s inability to do right all of the time – which, interestingly, leads us to conclude that man does not do evil all of the time, either. It is an inconsistency to argue that the existence of evil precludes the existence of God without ever offering an explanation of the existence of good.

The Problem of Good

The good of this world begs an accounting. Where did it come from? Why is it there? Why do we feel happiness, even after traumatic events? Why do we feel relief when a time of sadness or anger passes? “I also had once dismissed God over the problem of evil. The syllogism is a commonplace: ‘God is good. God is omniscient. There is evil. Therefore God does not exist.’ But the fly in my ointment was always – when it would break in upon me from time to time – the unbidden and fleeting experience of what I can only call the ‘good,’ or ‘beauty’ (for in that moment the two appear one)” (“The Problem of Good”, Seu, World Magazine, August, 14, 2004).

God and “goodness” are inseparable, friends!

We feel guilty when we do evil deeds (Romans 2:14-16). God never created evil, only the capacity for His creation to do it. I do not see how the wickedness of individuals who act on their own power, with their own devices, disregarding their consciences, possibly disproves the existence of God – especially considering how strongly He urges us not to be unrighteous (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

We feel good when justice is done. Rather than God creating us for only evil, He gives us the innate desire to see good fulfilled in the world.

Where does the moral code come from? Even atheists who argue that the existence of evil negates the existence of God do not want their property stolen, their wife kidnapped, or their neighbor to dump garbage in their front lawn!

C.S. Lewis writes, in The Problem Of Pain, “There was one question which I never dreamed of raising. I never noticed that the very strength and facility of the pessimists’ case at once poses us a problem. If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator? Men are fools, perhaps; but hardly so foolish as that.”

It seems that those who use this kind of logic are so preoccupied with evil that they do not see anything else. To them the world is so awful, so depressing, so vile, so downright pessimistic that all of its evils disprove the existence of God without a shadow of a doubt. But this morbid preoccupation with evil must have some effects on perception and prejudice, does it not? If all we look at is pain and suffering, then of course this is a rotten world. We cannot, however, allow ourselves to become so fascinated by evil that it overshadows everything else around us. If we look up for just one moment, we will see the beauty of the world, and witness God in all of it (Romans 1:20).