Why Does Evil Exist?

Does evil exist due to Adam’s Original Sin as described in the Book of Genesis? This Christian explanation for the existence of evil is correct…IF…Yahweh, the ancient Hebrew deity, exists. Yahweh’s presumed existence is the underlying premise for the teaching of Original Sin. The existence of a generic Creator, a creator other than Yahweh, in no way confirms the Christian explanation that evil entered the world by man’s free will choice to eat some of Yahweh’s forbidden fruit.

Christians can give very good arguments for the existence of an intelligent, generic Creator, but I have yet to see a good argument for the existence of Yahweh. The evidence for a generic Creator is sufficiently good that atheists cannot prove the non-existence of a Creator, although, the majority of cosmologists do NOT believe that a Creator is necessary to explain the origin of the universe in the Big Bang. The scientific consensus on the existence of a generic Creator remains undecided.

But doesn’t the evidence strongly suggest that if there is an intelligent Creator, he/she/they/it are indifferent (or impotent) to suffering? What if the generic Creator created the world based on the principle that living creatures would desire a sense of maximal well-being and would desire to avoid a sense of a loss of well-being? Therefore, “good” would be anything that promotes a sense of well-being and “evil” would be anything that reduces a sense of well-being. To me, that makes much more sense than the idea that the massive suffering in the world, at this very moment, and for millions of years, is all due to illegal fruit eating!

The Judeo-Christian Creation story doesn’t seem congruent with the concept of a perfect, all-powerful, all-possessing Deity. Why would such a being want to create to begin with? And why would he feel the need to create little “mini-hims” with a free will? Why would a perfect being need to feel loved by another being with a free will??? Doesn’t it make more sense that this ancient story is a human invention, invented by people lacking any scientific knowledge about the world, in an attempt to understand their very scary, dangerous world?

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15 thoughts on “Why Does Evil Exist?

  1. Gary,

    Jesus says that He is Yahweh, the “I AM” (See John 1:1-14, 8:58). Jesus’ claim is shown to be true by His resurrection. So, if He is risen from the dead, He is who He says He is. Back to arguing against the resurrection you go. However, that the Christian can prove Yahweh exists is done by showing Jesus is who He says He is via the resurrection.

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    1. Hi Jim. Nice to hear from you, my friend.

      I believe that there are four principle measures for evaluating the reality of Yahweh, a deity who claims to be the creator of the universe, all-knowing, and all-powerful.:

      1. Do Yahweh’s pronouncements as recorded in the Bible reflect a correct understanding of science, geology, and cosmology?
      2. Are Yahweh’s prophecies accurate?
      3. Does Yahweh’s alleged creation (life on earth) reflect the claims of Yahweh about himself (that he is just, good, etc..)?
      4. Is there good evidence that Yahweh came to earth in the form of a first century peasant preacher; died; rose from the dead; appeared in a super-hero-like body to some of his followers; and later levitated into the clouds to never be seen again?

      I would say that the answer to all these questions is a resounding, No!

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  2. Jim,

    I hope you have read a couple of my last posts about the fact that the majority of NT scholars no longer believe that eyewitnesses wrote the four Gospels nor the Book of Acts. Without confirmed eyewitness testimony, the 2,000 year old claim of the reanimation of a dead Jewish preacher by an ancient middle-eastern deity gets really, really improbable.

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    1. Gary,

      I have read your musings concerning what you claim a “majority” of NT scholars allegedly believe. However, even if a majority believes a certain way doesn’t entail their claim is correct. For example, if a majority decided agnosticism is correct, that only tells us what a majority believes. It doesn’t answer whether or not one should discard belief in God. Or, to put it in Biblical terms, just because most of Israel worshipped Baal at one time doesn’t demonstrate that Yahweh didn’t exist. It very well could be that the majority is incorrect.

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      1. Very true, Jim. It is always possible that the majority of people in a society is wrong. There are plenty examples of that in history (such as the recent US presidential election!), but I’m not talking about people in general, I am talking about experts in a particular field of science or research who uses the scientific method to evaluate truth claims. The experts can be wrong, of course, and they have been at times, but the frequency of times that the experts are wrong is far less than the frequency of times that the majority of the public is wrong. We as an educated, industrialized, advanced society have come to trust expert opinion. There is no way each of us can be experts in every field.

        The experts say that eyewitnesses most likely did not write the Gospels. Could they be wrong? Of course. But most of the time the majority of experts are NOT wrong. I say until new evidence changes the experts’ minds, we accept their opinion: the Gospels were most likely not written by eyewitnesses.

        And if the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts, the probability of the veracity of their fantastical supernatural claims drops dramatically.

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  3. Let me add that a majority of people in the world likely do not believe Jesus was raised from the dead, but that is hardly a defeater of the evidence we have from the NT documents.

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      1. Yes, I understand you were talking about your “experts,” but my point still stands. The idea of providing experts is to use them in such a way as to make one’s case. For instance, Michael Licona, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, and many, many others make use of experts to show the probability that Jesus did rise from the dead as recorded in the NT is pretty high. My point is this, you will trot out your experts which tickle your ears just as anyone else does, but at the end of the day you will come no closer to satisfying that nagging in your heart which tells you to love Yahweh your God with all your heart. Natural law can’t tell you who Jesus is, but it can tell you that there is a God who is holy and just and who has made His demands upon you as expressed in the Decalogue. Once you see your need for a savior, at that time the Holy Spirit Himself will give you repentance and what natural law could not show you, the revelation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ will show you. Keep reading, keep struggling. I know the Word of our Lord will not return void. It may take you years, but one day I hope to call you my brother in the faith, once again.

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        1. I find it interesting that you criticize Gary for using his expert sources, yet you attempt to use a collection of stories that was written many thousands of years ago to make your case? SMH

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        2. Good morning, Jim.

          What you say could be very true. It is very possible that Truth is not found by using our educated brains to evaluate the evidence for the claims of the Christian religion. It is very possible that Truth is only GIVEN by divine revelation, by the capricious decision of an ancient middle-eastern deity to finally reveal his identity to me, ending his game of Hide and Seek.

          My educated brain tells me to look at the evidence. My educated brain tells me that a belief system based on the claim that I am guilty of eternal torment for the forbidden-fruit eating crime of my ancient ancestors is ignorant, superstitious nonsense.

          I believe that it is YOU, my friend, who is being deceived. You might as well be worshipping the idols of ancient Assyria and Babylon. Educated people should no longer believe this stuff.

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          1. Gary,

            The dichotomy you raise between faith and the so-called “educated brain” is false. I suspect your interlocutor is not me but some Christians who reject the use of reason. I certainly do not eschew evaluating evidence when it comes to the Bible and its truth claims. The problem is natural reason can only take us so far when thinking about God and who He is. For that matter, our reason is limited in capacity when it comes to evaluating the world around us. Even the experts, for example, wind up disagreeing as to how we come to have knowledge of the world and whether or not the world of experience corresponds with the world, or is merely a phenomena created by our central nervous systems. The point here is you hold quite a bit of faith in both your experts and in your “educated brain.” Which reminds me, unless one has faith like a child, they will not inherit the kingdom of God. That sort of faith is a gift from God. You will not reason your way to such faith, only away from it. But, if it is I who have been deceived, then I gladly remain in my delusion, since in it I have great peace knowing that all my sins are forgiven by Jesus Christ. What I know about my Lord, delusion or not, is unassailable by the philosophies of men.

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  4. Jim, “The problem is natural reason can only take us so far when thinking about God and who He is”

    Without good evidence for the existence of your god (not a generic Creator, but your specific god, Yahweh) this statement is based on nothing more than wishful thinking, which Christians call faith. I don’t believe in basing one’s life on wishful thinking, but on evidence.

    “Even the experts, for example, wind up disagreeing as to how we come to have knowledge of the world and whether or not the world of experience corresponds with the world, or is merely a phenomena created by our central nervous systems.”

    The only “experts” who think this way are philosophers, a field of study more and more discredited in the modern world. Philosophy is dying. The scientific method gives us a much better understanding of the world, in my humble opinion, and the opinion of many other educated people.

    “Which reminds me, unless one has faith like a child, they will not inherit the kingdom of God. That sort of faith is a gift from God. You will not reason your way to such faith, only away from it.”

    This is another statement based on wishful thinking, not on evidence for the existence of Yahweh and his alleged “truths”.

    If your belief system was kept personal, I wouldn’t have such a big issue with it. But it is not. The central theme of your belief system is that this fear-based ideology must be spread to all. (and as a side note, If you are spreading a message based on fear—believe our belief system or you’re going to get it—, it is NOT “good news”). The same belief system that comforts you, has been, and still is being used to bully, terrify, and discriminate against others. Without good evidence for your deity, Yahweh, it is my opinion that your conservative Christian belief system is a danger to the well-being of humankind. It must be exposed as the false, ancient superstition that the evidence so strongly indicates that it is, my friend.

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  5. Dear Jim,

    To the point: You must admit that in order for your beliefs to be true, Yahweh must be a real being. If he doesn’t exist, your belief system is simply man-made nonsense. So give me proof of Yahweh. Not a generic Creator, but evidence of the existence of the Yahweh of the OT.

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