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The problem of Evil

Discussion in 'Ask a Calvinist' started by AguayOscar, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. AguayOscar

    AguayOscar Newbie

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    How do we (Calvinists) explain the problem of evil? Did God appoint sin to happen? If so, how different is "appointing" from "tempting"? If He appointed sin wouldn't He be responsible for it?

    Thank you for your time.
     
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  2. AguayOscar

    AguayOscar Newbie

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    Since this section is called "Ask a Calvinist" I thought it wasn't necessary to say that I don't want any anti-calvinist to respond. I'm studying at an Arminian Bible College and I'm aware of all the "free will" arguments and that you guys pretty much hate the Doctrines of Grace. I really don't need to hear it over again.

    Only calvinist views.

    Thanks.
     
  3. stenerson

    stenerson Newbie

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    For the most part I understand God's "appointing" or "decreeing" as having to do with His permissive will.. He in a sense takes credit for it because He can of course prevent evil.. He could of created Bruce and Jane instead of Adam and Eve knowing that Bruce and Jane would not have fallen.. He decreed the fall for His good and perfect purposes and for His glory (and to glorify His Son)....This is why in scripture for example He can bring an evil nation to execute judgement upon Israel, and then say He will bring judgement upon that evil nation for their actions.
    Scripture is quite clear that God tempts no one, nor does He create evil..
    On the contrary, what God is most busy doing is limiting and restraining evil..
     
  4. Apologetic_Warrior

    Apologetic_Warrior Pilgrim

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    :wave: Great questions, and the kind of questions all peoples have asked and pondered since the beginning of time.

    Generally the problem of evil is considered to be a philosophical problem for all Christians and is a popular topic in Christian apologetics. POE is often brought up by non-Christians in attempts to point out contradiction between the way the world is and the attributes of goodness and power of God. Apologists especially Reformed Presuppositionalists point out that evil presupposes good, because evil is a distortion or perversion of good, so the existence of evil turns out to be another proof that God exists.

    In theology the term used for the POE is "theodicy". POE or theodicy can be traced historically even down to the writings of the early Church. For example, there is an "Augustinian theodicy" an "Irenaean theodicy", and most importantly a "Biblical theodicy".

    In theology, in anthropology and differing theologies and philosophies of the will, it is often thought that the (biblical) doctrines of predestination and election are at odds with libertarian philosophies of the human will, or libertarian free will. For this reason, rarely do non-Reformed Christians care to bring up or discuss the doctrines of predestination and election (even though they are biblical), and when the are brought up (and minimalized), the answers tend to be man-centered or should I say free will centered such that God is more of a spectator, even figuratively bounding His hands and like a good gentleman bowing to libertarian free will which is proposed to be autonomous or free from external influences or self governing. It has been claimed by non-Reformed theologians that God from eternity looked down the corridors of time and elected or chose the elect, based on THEIR CHOICES, so that God's involvement in predestination and election amounts merely to foreknowledge of CREATURELY CHOICES. Sadly they think this gets them off the hook, or is enough to satisfy or answer problems in theodicy, but it is not. Because you see, whether you are Reformed or not, we agree that God certainly ALLOWED evil to come into existence. In fact God allowed Satan to inhabit the earth, where God chose to create. In fact God allowed Satan to be in the garden, and allowed Satan to test man. Years ago, I cannot remember where or I would give credit, but I remember an illustration of these truths, perhaps from a non-believer, but they took those truths mentioned and by way of comparison, something like this: For God to allow Satan to be in the garden is like a parent allowing a loaded gun within the reach of their own child. Just think, if Satan had not been in the garden, would man have failed in obeying God, or could he considering his nature? And the clincher is, no matter your theology, every orthodox Christian affirming the omniscience of God, cannot escape the fact of God actively KNOWING and allowing, even enabling the fall to happen by creating the variables and setting the situation. In courts of law of men, the term accomplice crops up. So the point here is, even assuming libertarian free will, in theology, the POE, turns out to be just as much of a problem, if not more. Finally as an example from Scripture, the evils inflicted on Job, were not the result of his choices. In fact, Satan asked God for permission to sift Job like wheat, Satan is responsible for those evils even if through secondary means, with permission from God, not as punishment for wrongdoing by Job, but to bring glory to God despite evils, showing the victory of God over evil.

    Now I'll attempt to give a brief Calvinist response, what men intend for evil, God intends for good (Joseph and his brothers). This is especially evident in the plan of salvation from eternity or the Covenant of Redemption, where the Father and Son and Spirit in agreement concerning the earthly involvement of the Son in the salvation of all those throughout history chosen by God from eternity before the foundation of the world. The bloody crucifixion of Christ was predestined to be carried out by evil men. All Christians believe the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Christ, including the prophecies evils inflicted on Him. Libertarian free will is at odds with the certainty of prophecy regarding the actions of evil men. All Christians should agree, without evil, there would be no sin, and without sin, no need for the Covenants as they are between God and man. As it turns out, evil and suffering bring about true praise and glory to God.

    Please forgive the brevity and generality of my response, an in-depth analysis with Scripture proofs and such would require a good deal of time and research that I simply do not have. For an outstanding response to theodicy from Calvinists, I recommend a paper written by the "father of presuppositionalism" Dr. Cornelius Van Til, that I put up on my blog: Evil and Theodicy and I recommend the following paper written by Dr. Greg Bahnsen: The Problem of Evil.

    Finally, you might search for a lecture by Ronald Nash another Calvinist, dealing with the problem of evil. Quite often Nash comes off as somewhat arrogant, but not in that lecture, he takes POE very seriously, and realizes and points out that it is not just an intellectual problem, it is also an emotional problem, or a problem to the heart.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  5. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    My explanation is that God uses it for good purposes and that the existence of evil does not reflect on God's nature anymore then salt constituting an ingredient in a cake reflects the nature of a baker.

    He did ordain it and He knew it would occur.

    No, not anymore than letting your kids do something and screw up tot each them a lesson.

    For more details, I have debated this at length here.
     
  6. Skala

    Skala I'm a Saint. Not because of me, but because of Him

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    Some random thoughts from me in no particular order:

    1) On the contrary, the "problem" of evil seems more prevalent in a non-Calvinist framework. Why does evil happen if God is not in control of all things?

    Is God powerless to stop it? If so, then he's not God. If he's able to stop it, but doesn't, does He have a purpose for allowing it?

    If he has a purpose for it, isn't that the same thing the Calvinist is saying? Having an eternal purpose for evil is the same, ultimately, as "appointing" or "decreeing" it.

    If he doesn't have a purpose for it, and is able to stop it but doesn't, doesn't that make Him arbitrary? Why would God allow arbitrary evil and suffering that He 1) could stop, but doesn't, and 2) has no purpose for?

    2) The Bible is clear that God creates all things "for its purpose..even the wicked". This is proof enough that evil and evil people are ultimately part of God's grand design.

    This is much more comforting than the (only logical and consistent conclusion of the) Arminian position that God is either powerless to stop evil, or arbitrarily allows it.

    As a Bible believing Christian, I take comfort in God's sovereignty. I don't see how an Arminian could find comfort knowing that his god allows evil arbitrarily (ie, has no purpose for it) or is powerless to stop it.

    The God of the Bible is a God that is in control of all things. I mean, how many times must the Bible say this for Christians to believe it?
     
  7. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    Without the new birth, you can't read the writing on the wall.
     
  8. AguayOscar

    AguayOscar Newbie

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    Thank you guys, I really appreciate it!
     
  9. AMR

    AMR Presbyterian (PCA) - Bona Fide Reformed

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    You may be edified by this:

    http://www.christianforums.com/blogs/u244978-e12086/
     
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