Good and Evil

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The Problem of Evil

God is believed to be perfect good and perfectly loving. He is:

  • Eternal
  • Omnipresent
  • Creator
  • Benevolent
  • Involved in the world
  • Omnipotent
  • Omniscient
  • Holy
  • A judge

If this is true then Christians are facade with the problem of where evil comes from:

  • If God is perfectly good and loving then he would not allow suffering to happen.
  • If he is omnipotent, then he would be able to stop suffering.

This issue is known as the problem of evil.

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Types of Evil

Natural evil - bad things that occur in the world naturally, e.g. Hurricanes and volcanoes.

Moral evil - bad things that are caused by human beings choosing to do what is wrong, e.g. Murder and crime.

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Why is there Evil?

Christian responses:
1. The devil is responsible.
2. Humans have free will - they're responsible.
3. God allows suffering to test us and make us trust in God.
4. If we didn't suffer we would be like spoilt children.
5. Suffering is a mystery but we must trust in God.
6. Suffering is a punishment for disobeying God.

Problems with the response:
1. God created the devil.
2. Some evil is natural.
3. That seems quiet cruel.
4. God could have created us as perfectly good and not spoilt.
5. Why should we trust someone who allows us to be hurt?
6. God should forgive us, not punish us.

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The Devil is responsible

One answer that Christians believe is why there is evil is the Devil.

The traditional views on the Devil:

  • Red with horns, a forked tail and a pitchfork
  • Lives in hell
  • Some Chrisitans believe that Lucifer was angel, who wanted to be greater Than God and rebelled against him.

Other views:

  • Not all Chrisitans believe that the Devil is a real person.
  • It is a poetic way of describing the conflict that happens within each person when they want something that is wrong.
    .
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The Fall, Original Sin and Redemption

Another answer is that there is evil and suffering because of the Fall - whenAdma and Eve first sinned.

Original sin:

  • In Genesis the Devil tempts Eve to disobey God by eating the fruit he had forbidden.
  • She then tempts Adam to do the same.
  • This is original sin. It caused human beings to be aware of good and evil rather than simple being innocent.
  • This original sin is passed onto every single human being.
  • It meant that Hod punished human beings by making them work hard and suffer for their basic needs.
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Other Explanations

1. It is a test to help us learn and become more mature. Without suffering we would never learn to be truly loving or generous.

Problems:

  • Often people suffer and cannot learn from it e.g. Babies
  • This seems like a heartless response to atrocities such as the holocaust.

2. God gave us free will to choose to do bad things. Without free will we could not choose to be good or to love him. We would be like robots.

Problems:

  • this does not explain natural evil

3. Suffering is a mystery but we trust in God.

Problems:

  • Suffering often turns people away from Gid, not towards him.
  • How can we trust a God who allows suffering?
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How Christians cope with suffering?

  • Christians will trust in God and Jesus and be confident that they will support them through their suffering.
  • Remember that Jesus also suffered, so he can help us through our suffering.
  • We must love our neighbour and help them through their suffering. Others will show us love and help us when we suffer.
  • God is wise, therefore we must accept whatever suffering he allows and learn whatever lessons he is trying to teach us.
  • Pray. God may not answer every prayer in the way we would like, but he listens and he cares for us, so he will do the best for us.
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The Story of Job

Job was a good, religious man who lived a happy and wealthy life with a big family. The Devil tested Job because he thought the only reason he was so devoted to God wa because he had an easy life. The Devil took away all his wealth, killed his children and made him ill. Despite this, Job was still loyal to God, and in the end, God rewarded him with a new family and even more wealth than he had before.

This story teaches Christains that trusting in God can bring happiness. It also shows them that other people have suffered and stayed loyal to God, and makes them see that God has reasons for allowing suffering, even if we cannot understand.

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How do Christians make moral decisions?

1. The Bible

  • The Bible gives Cjristians about how to live their lives. In some places,

It gives direct rules about what they should so. Other parts of it have to be interpreted. For example, when it says 'love your neighbour,' this could be interpreted to mean that Christians should give money to charity.

  • It is the holy book of Chritianity
  • It includes the Ten Commanments e.g. 'Worship no God but me', 'do not murder'
  • It also includes the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus explains some important beliefs about how to worship God and how to treat other people e.g. 'Love your neighbour as yourself'.

Problems:

  • Parts of the Bible are outdated, e.g. It allows slavery and animal sacrifice.
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The Devil is responsible 2

Problems with the belief in the Devil:

  • if God created the Devil then he must have created evil as well.
  • if God cannot stop the Devil, the he is not omnipotent.

The Devil in the bible:

  • The Serpent tempts Eve
  • The Devil makes Job suffer to try and stop him believing in God.
  • The Devil tempts Jesus
  • He is called 'the prince of his world' because he has some power over it.
  • Peter 5:8 'your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring looking for someone to devour.'
  • John 8:44 'he is a liar and the father of lies.'

Problems with the belief in the Devil:

  • if God created the Devil then he must have created evil as well.
  • if God cannot stop the Devil, the he is not omnipotent.
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The Fall, Original sin and Redemption 2

Redemption:

  • God did not want to be separated from humans forever.
  • He created a way for God and humans to be reconciled - brought back together.
  • He sent his son, Jesus, to be punished for our sins.
  • Christians believe that if we accept what Jesus did for us and repent of out sins then we will be redeemed - our sin will be forgiven and we will be able to live with God in heaven.

Problems:

  • Why did God allow Adma and Eve to sin?
  • Why should others be punished for their mistake?
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Other Explanations 2

3. Suffering is a mystery but we trust in God.

Problems:

  • Suffering often turns people away from Gid, not towards him.
  • How can we trust a God who allows suffering?
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The Devil Is responsible 3

The Devil in the bible:

  • The Serpent tempts Eve
  • The Devil makes Job suffer to try and stop him believing in God.
  • The Devil tempts Jesus
  • He is called 'the prince of his world' because he has some power over it.
  • Peter 5:8 'your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring looking for someone to devour.'
  • John 8:44 'he is a liar and the father of lies.'

Problems with the belief in the Devil:

  • if God created the Devil then he must have created evil as well.
  • if God cannot stop the Devil, the he is not omnipotent.
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The Fall, Original sin and Redemption 3

Redemption:

  • God did not want to be separated from humans forever.
  • He created a way for God and humans to be reconciled - brought back together.
  • He sent his son, Jesus, to be punished for our sins.
  • Christians believe that if we accept what Jesus did for us and repent of out sins then we will be redeemed - our sin will be forgiven and we will be able to live with God in heaven.

Problems:

  • Why did God allow Adma and Eve to sin?
  • Why should others be punished for their mistake?
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How do Christians make moral decisions? 2

3. Faith in Christ

  • Christians believe that Jesus was God's son and therefore we should follow his exampl.
  • They might look at things Jesus did and try to behave I a similar way, e.g. Help the poor and needy. Some ask what would Jesus do? Before acting.

Problems:

  • Jesus lived in a very different society from ours and so it can be difficult to work out what his attitude will be towards, for example, animal testing.
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How do Christians make moral decisions?3

2. Conscience

  • Tells us instinctively the difference between right and wrong.
  • Makes us feel guilty if we do the wrong thing.
  • Some Chrisitans believe that God gave us our conscience, therefore we should obey it.

Problems:

  • Some people believe that the conscience is created by our parents or society and so is not always right.
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