God and the Problem of Evil

A familiar argument against the existence of an omnipotent and benevolent God is the age-old argument from the existence of evil. (For a representative statement of this position, delivered with characteristic smugness, look no further than the comments section of this post by Bob Murphy.)

The Old Testament’s own answer to this problem (Job 38) has had to endure centuries of mockery, but I have yet to see anyone seriously refute it. If the Christian view of God is correct, then his intelligence is something utterly beyond human comprehension. It is thus only common sense to say that man is in no position to judge his Creator. Nor is there anything “lame” in such a position, which is not only coherent but supported by an abundance of analogies. In the words of one notorious skeptic,

It seems to me to be perfectly imaginable that there may exist orders of intelligence as far superior to that of man as that of man is above the intelligence of a dog; or that of a dog is above that of, say, an earthworm; or that of an earthworm is above that of, say, a bacillus. Here there are plain differences, not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively. [H.L. Mencken, Minority Report (1956), §409.]

Even within the limits of human reason, how many ideas that strike the vulgar mind as nonsensical have been vindicated by brilliant mathematicians? To many people, it seems positively mad to suggest that the summation of an infinite number of positive values can have a finite answer. Yet this is demonstrably true. And so, too, are many other freakish propositions devised by rabid mathematicians—yet how many people who are not qualified to judge Gödel’s incompleteness theorems nonetheless think themselves perfectly qualified to judge the Deity’s ordering of the cosmos!

4 comments on “God and the Problem of Evil

  1. “[Y]et how many people who are not qualified to judge Gödel’s incompleteness theorems nonetheless think themselves perfectly qualified to judge the Deity’s ordering of the cosmos!”

    Excellent point and one that will go into my apologetic arsenal.

    Thank you.

  2. Good post. For me, God’s answer in Job was somewhat unexpected. I thought it was building up to Him saying, “The reason I did these things was to teach a lesson of endurance for future generations, because I knew you could handle it,” or something. But nope, as you point out, that’s not what He said. :)

    Unfortunately the smug cynics will not like your answer.

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