Sunday, February 25, 2024

Problem of Evil (PoE) solution, objections, and responses concerning slavery, “natural evil”, and objective morality from a debate with an atheist. I hope this is helpful.

The Biblical Christian answer to the PoE is simple: “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

(Atheist dialog denoted with”>”)

Simply, what we perceive as evil is ultimately part of a good purpose.

The good purpose is that God (particularly Jesus Christ) is glorified and shares that glory with His people.

We know the reason. We know the objective. You may not agree with or accept it, but we have the answer to the PoE. For the Biblical Christian, it’s not a problem at all.

**Objections and responses**

>So, in the Christian worldview, there's objective good and objective evil. God is said to be all good, perfectly moral.

**Objection and response 1**

>I note that the Bible talks about how you can own slaves for life, and beat them.

>So that seems like a problem. Unless you're going to tell me that slavery is objectively moral within Christianity or something. But I don't think anyone wants to bite that bullet.

Plain reading of Scripture implies that being enslaved to a human to any degree (forced, indentured, or even voluntary) is not an ideal circumstance and should be avoided, but is a fact of human socio-economic existence.

God never endorses the practice of slavery. He only addresses moral treatment of slaves and consequences of violating it.  In fact, the consequences are so punitive, it actually seems to discourage taking slaves!

In fact, God prohibited chattel slavery through kidnapping:

Exodus 21:16

“Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.”

It is popular to contextualize slavery as a moral issue today, but there is no guarantee that society will not ever adopt it as an acceptable socio-economic practice again.

In fact, simple observation reveals modern society is rife with voluntary debt-slavery today. That is, I’m enslaved to work until I die because of my great debt - short of gaining my freedom by winning a lottery! Even then, I am not free from governmentally imposed tax-slavery!

We are all enslaved to something to one degree or another. 

**Objection and response 2**

>I also note, just looking around, that god doesn't stop evils caused by man, when he could easily do that. I've been told this is because of free will. Okay. Seems weird. I mean if we are supposed to value free will, and god is perfectly moral, and he doesn't interfere, then... Neither should we?

>If god is perfectly moral, and he thinks the correct thing to do is to let the rapist rape, don't interfere because free will is incredibly important and should not be interfered with, then

>Isn't that what people should do too? Don't interfere. Don't stop the rapist.

>But that doesn't seem great.

But He does “interfere”. He’s given us the moral law to temporally restrain and punish evil. He also “interferes” with the promise that temporal evil, short of gracious intervention, has eternal consequences. 

That’s why I support the death penalty for unrepentant and recidivistic murder and rape, btw, because I trust that promise.

**Objection and response 3**

>Further, I note that there seem to be really, really, really bad things that happen that no person is the cause of. Like a landslide destroying a school, killing all the children and teachers inside, some very slowly and painfully.

>No person caused this, its god's plan. God intentionally set this up to happen.

>I duno, if a person were to set off some charges on the side of a mountain in order to cause a land slide, to intentionally destroy a school and kill everyone inside, I would imagine that if morality is objective, this should be called evil. Yes?

>But for some reason if god does it, that's not evil? Its the exact same action, being taken intentionally.

“Natural evil”, just like any other perceived evil, is 100% under God’s sovereign control. You keep implicitly making a category error. If God *murdered* people, then He would be inconsistent. That is not the case, however. 

All humanity is under the curse of death as a component of judgement tied to original sin. We will all die. God is justified to apply the *death penalty* as He pleases irrespective of any circumstance, but each and every death is accounted for within His ultimately good purpose.

The Gospel offers hope to those that fear any evil:

“*All things* work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

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