Saturday, January 20, 2007

Did God Create Evil?

A university professor, at a well-known institution of higher learning,challenged his students with this question.

"Did God create everything that exists?"

A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!"

"God created everything?" The professor asked.

"He certainly did," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil. And, since evil exists and, according to the principal that our works define who we are, then we can assume God is evil."

The student became quiet and did not answer the professor's hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question Professor?"

"Of course", replied the Professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?"

The other students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat.Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The Professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."Finally the young man asked the Professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the Professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said.We see it every day. It is in the daily examples of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

With that, the Professor sat down.

The young man's name was Albert Einstein.

Interesting~ :)


stephen said...

I'm not so sure about that. Many would say that Pharaoh in the OT was evil in not letting the Jews free. Yet it says God hardened Pharaoh's heart. I wouldn't call this God being absent from evil, I would say this is an example of him being in it and in active control of it. I'm not trying to argue, just something to think about, yes?

Andy said...

Yes, a very thought provoking read.

Davy said...

RC Sproul explained in his book Chosen by God, that God's "hardening Pharaoh's heart" was a passive action, letting up on Pharaoh's leash of his conscience. Do we not believe that God is actively working Providence to prevent this world from decaying by sin? All he has to do is let up on that common grace, and Pharaoh's heart gets hardened. Also, I'm pretty sure that the whole narrative in Exodus alternates between saying that Pharaoh hardened his heart, and God hardened his heart, so it's this increasing kind of feedback loop.

We say that power corrupts, but the truth is that power simply gives a sinful human more ability to work his sinfulness. A great musician once wrote:

You take a mortal man
An' put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people's head a'roll

I believe it was in The Confessions where Augustine explained that babies seem innocent simply because they have so little power.

*huff* *puff* Have I covered all the bases?

Anonymous said...

"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:31

I think that pretty much says it all. While God is not the only creative Being in the universe, he is the only one who created all things out of nothing. Being made in his image, man is also "creative". I don't see why other beings could not have the capacity to be creative either. Do the angels worship God creatively, or as automatons?

Everything that God created, he himself has declared to be good. I think that implies more than just "good craftsmanship". I think it includes the moral aspect of goodness that is part of God's nature. What man, and/or angels, have "created" using the stuff that God made is another matter.

The professor is "begging the question" by asking, "Did God create all things?" The answer to that question is simply, "No, he did not." The professor was seeking to make "logic" a higher authority than God's Word. We always get in trouble when we do that.

One last thought, I just wanted to say that I was impressed with the insights of those who commented on this story so far.

Uncle Bill