Category Archives: The problem of evil

Defending Your Faith 101: Do we have a proper perspective of eternity?

This life becomes a distant vapor in comparison to eternity—life is not a short timeline that has an end, but it is a ray that goes on into eternity, not stopping at death’s door.

Can you remember when you were in so much pain or discomfort from an injury, an illness, or a medical procedure around age one or two? Probably not because it was so long ago, relative to our earthly life, and we don’t have the ability to retrieve that kind of memory. If we experience a lifetime of pain and suffering could it become a lost memory in our eternal life too?

Do we have a proper perspective of eternity?

Having a proper perspective of eternity means trusting that God will, in His perfect timing, put an end to the evil and suffering we experience in this life. God is righteous, holy, and just and therefore must punish sin. We would not want it to go unpunished just like you would not want an intruder who raped, pillaged, and murdered your family to go unpunished.

God cannot allow Satan and his demons to accomplish their evil for long, and they will face final judgment (Revelation 20). Hell was not made for humans, but for Satan and his minions. However, those who reject God, and His free offer of salvation through His Son Jesus, will follow Satan and do so through freewill choice.

We see atrocities being committed in our world today and we wonder ‘how long dear Lord’ will the evil continue. For now however, the weeds and the grain must live together until the fullness of time (Matthew 13:36-43). God is patient, not wanting any to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance and faith in Jesus, receiving the promise of eternal life (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9) .

We can take comfort knowing that our God is the only one who provides grace (receiving something we don’t deserve—eternal life), not just mercy (not getting what we do deserve—eternal death). We have the ability to choose life with God and be born again through His Son Jesus. When we are born again we are brought ‘back’ into God’s family and the right relationship He wanted to have with us, lost at the Fall. 

Paul tells us: At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 

-Titus 3:3-7

We have an opportunity to be part of God’s team and help win battles here in this life—Jesus will take care of the final war. To do this we must have the right tools that include:

  1. Becoming proficient prayer warriors
  2. Committing to increasing our knowledge of Scripture and how to use it in battle
  3. Dedicating time to training in the defense of the faith; preparing to answer all questions asked of us
  4. Developing a passion for recruiting and training teammates that will help us in this journey, and who will stand alongside us in the battles

It is important to know that at times our training will lead us into testing and it will do one of two things: It will grow us closer to God, or it may lead us into temptation. Temptation is not from God but from the world; testing is from God and our perseverance through the test is what will refine us (James 1:2-5, 12-18 and the book of Job). Part of Jesus’ prayer model includes this phrase: “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (see Matthew 6:9-13), because Jesus knew that His disciples would be tested.

When we feel as though God is not answering us when we are going through a trial always remember that the teacher is silent during the test. God has given us so much to train with in preparation for our tests (Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus’ life example), and He will never give us more than He knows we can handle. If we have trained properly we will have that trust and quiet confidence through the storms.

Last thought on the problem of evil: What do we say when skeptics attack us for atrocities committed in the name of religion and Christianity throughout history and even today?

Simple answer: Real Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, do not commit acts of evil. If we have the Holy Spirit living within us no action of evil can take over. Acts of evil are committed by followers of Satan, or those who have been deceived into thinking they are doing something for “God.” James tells us that you will know Christians by their fruit because it blossoms from their faith (James 2:14-26). The fruit of Christianity is found when we model the teachings and life of Jesus.

Jesus knows our hearts and He knows our suffering because He has been here and suffered more than anyone. His hand is out for us and He wants to walk with us through our deepest pains and rejoice with us through our happiest times, all we have to do is remember to take His hand and walk through it with Him. He knows us intimately and what is best for us in the short run as well as in the long run, and most of all what is best for us eternally!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

-Philippians 4:6-7

Going Deeper:

The following are three different presentations on the problem of evil and suffering by three “World Class” Christian Apologists. They range from 4 minutes, to 38 minutes, to 1:50 minutes. View all three, along with the last three weeks’ worth of videos to get the big picture on the number one question asked of Christians today: Why is there evil and suffering?

“How Eternity Changes the Problem of Evil,” by J. Warner Wallace (short clip)


 For another perspective listen to the late Dr. Nabeel Qureshi from one of his talks at RZIM:

Why Suffering? Finding Meaning in Our Difficult World, by Ravi Zacharias (longer and deeper presentation)

Reflection:

  1. Spend some time reading and studying John chapter 14 for comfort in times of suffering and loss. Jot down some notes from this chapter that you would like to remember.
  2. How do you answer the question: What about the atrocities committed by Christians over the centuries?
  3. Prayer focus: Protection from evil, and strength to battle through times of testing

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!  Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

TeriDugan@truthfaithandreason.com

1 Peter 3:15

 

Defending Your Faith 101: Sources of Evil and Suffering

“We need to know God’s plan so that we can make sense of tsunamis, fires, cancers, strokes, rapes, tortures, and the fact that, except for the Lord’s return, the only thing that will prevent us from watching everyone we know die will be our own death. If we don’t understand that our good God can… Continue Reading

A Case for Faith vs. Doubt, Part 4: What are the causes of Evil and Suffering?

I have spent a lot of time researching worldviews to answer the most important questions we have about life and one of the most sought after is the question of evil and suffering. After looking far and wide there is only one, the Christian worldview, that holds the most reasonable answers. From the Christian worldview… Continue Reading