J Countryman Books
“ . . . there is no one who does good, not even one.”
R o m a n s 3 : 1 2
This is perhaps the most common question Christian celebrities are asked to answer on shows such as Larry King Live.
Ironically, while only Christian theism has a satisfying answer, Christian leaders often look like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights whenever they face this question head-on. At first blush, it might seem as though there are as many responses as there are religions; in reality however, there are only three:
• Pantheism denies the existence of good and evil because in this view, god is all, and all is god.
• Philosophical naturalism (the worldview undergirding atheism) supposes that everything is a function of random processes, thus there is no such thing as good and evil.
• Theism alone has a relevant response—and only Christian theism can answer the question satisfactorily.
First, Christian theism acknowledges that God created the potential for evil because God created humans with freedom of choice. We choose to love or hate to do good or evil. The record of history bears eloquent testimony to the fact that humans of their own free will have actualized the reality of evil through such choices.
Furthermore, without choice, love is meaningless. God is neither a cosmic rapist who forces His love on people, nor a cosmic puppeteer who forces people to love Him. Instead, God, the personification of love, grants us the freedom of choice. Without such freedom, we would be little more than preprogrammed robots.
Finally, the fact that God created the potential for evil by granting us the freedom of choice will ultimately lead to the best of all possible worlds—a world in which “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). Those who choose Christ will be redeemed from evil by His goodness and will forever be able not to sin.
For further study, see Dr. Norman L. Geisler, The Roots of Evil (August 2002).