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How Can You Believe in God When There is So Much Evil, Pain, and Suffering in the World?

C.S. Lewis found the problem of evil a stumbling block that initially prevented him from coming to faith. The problem can be stated this way: If God is all powerful, he could eliminate evil; if God is all good, he would eliminate evil; Evil is not eliminated; therefore, there is no such God. Lewis would put this problem to Christians and was unsatisfied by their responses, until he realized a problem with his own view. As an atheist, he did not believe that there was anything really evil (only pain in a world of pain). If there was real evil, he needed a standard (infinite) by which it could be judged. Thus, by considering the nature of evil (and good), he argued himself back to God.

Every worldview must face the problem of evil. Atheism and Pantheism, for example, have a greater problem than Christianity in that they have no basis for objective evil (or good). This lecture deals with various answers to the problem of evil. Is there a contradiction at the heart of Christianity? How can free will, natural law, and soul making show us a way to answer this problem? Once we have the shape of an answer to the intellectual problem of evil, how do we deal with the emotional problem? These central issues are developed in this session.

Study Questions:

  1. Why does every worldview have a problem of evil?
  2. Why do some worldviews have a more difficult problem than
  3. What is the deductive problem of evil?
  4. How can the charge of contradiction (in the theistic set) be
    answered once and for all?
  5. How can the inductive problem of evil (the amount of evil)
    be addressed?
  6. How do free will, natural law, and soul making factor into
    this issue?
  7. Once the shape of an intellectual answer is given, how can
    we deal with the emotional factors? How can Lewis’s A Grief
    Observed be a guide?


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