What do Christians Believe About Good & Evil?
- "Goodness" difficult to define so relate to God
- Bad things in the world cause suffering
- Moral evil - people deliberately creul or dishonest or uncaring (human wickedness)
- Natural evil - floods, diseases, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes (no human fault)
- If evil in the world then ther must be a power of evil - the Devil
- Devil tries to persuade people to be evil
- No Devil people choose to be evil
1 of 7
What do Christians Believe About the Devil?
- Enemy of God, rules hell and tries to make people turn away from goodness
- Story in Apocrypha as not suitable for Bible
- Lucifer was 1 of the archangels, God told angels to bow down to 1st human but Lucifer refused so God threw him out of Heaven - he fell to Hell and became the Devil
- Few references but tempts Jesus for 40 days
- God more powerful than Devil so good stronger than evil
- God created people with free will so people can choose to be bad over good
- Do believe Devil is real but people choose to be evil with no power influencing them
- Buildings and people can be possessed by Devil so ceremonies to remove Devil
- Jesus drives out demons
- Performed these as it was expected at the time but now recognised as mental diseases
- Belief in Devil scared people to attend Church regularly in Middle Ages
2 of 7
What do Christians Believe About the Fall and Orig
- Bible begins with story of newly created world where everything was perfect
- Adam and Eve given free will but humans often choose to do wrong
- Evil came into world when Adam and Eve deliberately disobeyed God
- All humans where then separated from God
- They were given a perfect environment and the only rule not to eat from the "Tree of Knowledge"
- Only return to God through sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross - redemption
- The story known as "The Fall"
- People are born with a natural inclination to do wrong - "Original Sin"
- All humans are born contaminated by origninal sin
- Way of showing the weakness of human nature
3 of 7
How do Christians Respond to the Problem of Evil?
- Difficult to explain the existence of evil
- Result of the Fall - 1st people rebelled against God and spoilt world
- God is the beginning of everyting and everything he creates is good
- Suffering is a test to help people learn and become more mature
- Would be robots if never had to choose between right and wrong
- Suffering teaches us important lessons
- Not able to be good unless faced with difficulties
- Some people suffer with no chance of learning anything
- Suffering can make people bitter and angry not improve them
4 of 7
How do Christians Explain Suffering?
- Book of Job
- Satan asks God's permission to test Job to see how devoted to God he is. God is confident of his devotion so gives permission. Job loses his wife, children, animals, wealth and health but does not lose faith in God.
- 3 reasons for suffering suggested:
- Suffering is a test - see if he deserts God and when Job does not lose faith he is rewarded
- Suffering is a punishment for sin - Job must have greatly sinned so had to search life for unconfessed sins and repent. Job had always been faithful and good.
- Suffering is part of God's plan - God's plan is so far beyond human comprehension that we must admit ignorance and accept what they cannot understand
5 of 7
How can Christians Cope with Suffering?
- Only God can understand why we suffer
- God cares about people
- Jesus suffered a terrible death so God does not ignore suffering but knows what it is like and shares our pain
- Suffering pulls people closer to God as realise dependence on Him
- Best way to cope is to trust in God or pray about difficulties as know God is listening and trust God to address them. 4 types of prayers:
- Prayers of intercession - asking for God's help
- Prayers of thanksgiving - thank God
- Prayers of confession - asking for God's forgiveness
- Everyday prayers - talking to God everyday
- For prayers to be successful must be persistent
- Pray = important way of talking to God in difficult times - before arrest and trial Jesus prayed
- Sometimes it appears that prayers are not answered
- God has plan which people don't understand so people should accept that God knows best
6 of 7
How do Christians Tell Right from Wrong?
- Avoid evil and do good
- God is perfectly good so try to be like God
- Ways Christians discover the right way to behave:
- Instinctively know what's right and wrong
- Way God speaks to us
- Particularly if prayed to God for help making decisions
- Source of moral guidanc - apply it to own lives and situation
- Ten Commandments - many peple see as esstential truths right/wrong
- Parables - message thought about dicussed and put into practice
- Not always easy to find teachings relating to modern life
- Golden Rule means same today but slavery and animal sacifice difficult to understand
- Example of Jesus
- WWJD - Jesus acted the right way so try to copy him
- Jesus helped outcasts - working at shelter for homeless
- Attitude of Jesus - adopt same attitude
7 of 7