Three Solutions to the Problem of Evil

In one of my discussions this week we took a brief look at some of the reasons and solutions to evil.  Using Erickson’s Christian Theology as a base, he identifies three solutions to the problem of evil and how God’s greatness, goodness, and the presence of evil can all be active forces at work in the world today.  The three solutions outlined are; a rejection of Omnipotence in the form of Finitism (a finite God), a modification of the concept of God’s goodness, and the outright denial of evil.

  • Rejecting Omnipotence
    The first solution, rejecting Omnipotence, is something the 21st century culture has embraced with open arms.  Not only has society accepted a finite God, the eastern philosophy also known as dualism has taken a stronghold in western society Christianity.  This form of dualism present today was introduced by subtle infusion over an extended period of time to where today; even Christians accept dualism.  The worldview promoted in this respect is good verses evil, dark verses light, and ultimately God verses Satan.  The problem with this solution is that it philosophically fails when compared to scripture.  God and Satan are not on even ground, battling against each other for supremacy.  God created everything, including Satan, the fallen angel.  Angels are perhaps shown to be more powerful than humans (2 Peter 2:11; Psalm 103:20), but nowhere in scripture does it say they are equal with God.
  • Modification of God’s Goodness
    The second, a modification of God’s goodness, is sometimes seen by a hyper-Calvinist view (a view some argue is more Calvinist than Calvin himself was), where God is the ultimate cause of everything, including sin, and man has no freedom of the will to do anything other than what God has predisposed man to do.  God’s cause of good and/or evil that occurs is simply what God does.  This view brings forth its own questions; such as, if evil is good, then what is recognized as good, lending itself to ask, does evil even exist.  This view is also inconsistent with God’s own nature since we know that God, by nature, is good.
  • A Denial of Evil Itself
    The third, a denial of evil, is also a popular notion in the 21st century worldview. Known as the option for Christian Science, they believe that matter or material is just an illusion where evil does not really exist. Their conclusions, based upon the notion that (1) material existence is an illusion, (2) since all is God, all is good, (3) therefore evil is an illusion.  The issue with this view is somewhat obvious in the fact that evil has not ceased to exist just because this particular worldview exists, and there is no explanation to the “illusion” of evil.

In an oversimplification stated here, Erickson’s conclusions are that evil is a necessary accompaniment to human existence and that evil in general is the result of sin, Adam’s choice to sin, and God’s allowing this sin to take place.[1][2]

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 437-456.

[2] This is a greatly over simplified post on a very complex topic. The solutions provided are an overview of the scholarly examples currently being studied. C.S. Lewis also had some great arguments on the problem of evil and why it exists in the world today.

One response to “Three Solutions to the Problem of Evil”

  1. DarshanTolat MD Avatar
    DarshanTolat MD

    Earthellism, a philosophy that solves the problem of evil,
    is based on astrobiology. Earthellism provides the best soultion to the problem of evil by using the findings from the book “The Life and Death of Planet Earth” and placing the location of hell on the surgace of earth. In addition, understanding that human devils exist among human beings here resolves the issue of free will.


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