Posts Tagged ‘problem of evil’

Generation Z

The generation born from 1999 to 2015.  They are the successors of Gen X (born 1965-1980) and Gen Y, also known as Millennials (b. 1981-1998).  The dates are approximations and arbitrary as created by sociologists and scholars studying generational trends.  The Barna Group alongside the ministry Impact360 has conducted as study of Gen Z’ers called “Who Is Gen Z.”  A short introductory video of their study can be viewed:


Jonathan Morrow, director of Cultural Engagement at Impact360, wrote an article titled “Why Gen Z Is Not Prepared To Follow Jesus In A Post-Everything World” and revealed that only 4% of Gen Z has a Biblical Worldview while atheism is on the rise amongst this generation.

Gen Z and Atheism

One of the things that has come to light in the Barna study:

“Atheism Doubles Among Generation Z”

In Barna’s report they reveal:

Enter Generation Z: Born between 1999 and 2015, they are the first truly “post-Christian” generation. More than any other generation before them, Gen Z does not assert a religious identity. They might be drawn to things spiritual, but with a vastly different starting point from previous generations, many of whom received a basic education on the Bible and Christianity. And it shows: The percentage of Gen Z that identifies as atheist is double that of the U.S. adult population.

The percentage of Gen Z’ers to be atheist has more than double previous generations: 13% of Generation Z compared to 6% of adults:

comp gen z

Gen Z and The Problem of Evil

Why is Gen Z more likely to be atheistic?  Well, Barna asked and they answered:

Teens, along with young adults, are more likely than older Americans to say the problem of evil and suffering is a deal breaker for them. It appears that today’s youth, like so many throughout history, struggle to find a compelling argument for the existence of both evil and a good and loving God.

The problem of evil is an ancient objection dating all the way back to the Greek philosopher Epicurus who formulated the problem as such:

“Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot and does not want to.  If he wants to, but cannot, he is not all powerful.  If he can, and he does not want to, he is wicked.  But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how comes evil in the world?”

The Problem of Evil and Apologetics

Notice, this is an intellectual objection to the truth of Christianity.  Oddly, Christian philosophers, theologians, and apologists have answered this intellectual objection.  In fact, they have answered it so convincingly that even professional atheists have admitted that there is not logical problem of evil that has successfully demonstrated that God doesn’t exist.  The late atheist philosopher William Rowe, stated that “Some philosophers have contended that the existence of evil is logically inconsistent with the existence of a theistic God.  No one, I think, has succeeded in establishing such an extravagant claim.” Consider Paul Draper, agnostic philosopher of religion at Purdue: “I do not see how it is possible to construct a convincing logical argument from evil against theism.”

Christian scholars have gone on to differentiate between two types of intellectual problems of evil: the logical problem (as commented on by Rowe and Draper above) and the evidential problem of evil.  I won’t address the difference here (see the videos by Reasonable Faith below as well as the other resources), but just seeing the categorization by Christian scholars shows how extensively they have thought and contemplated the issue of evil.

Intellectual vs. Emotional Evil

While Rowe and Draper are referring to the intellectual problem of evil, evil and suffering has another sides: emotional.  This is an important distinction we need to make.  While one can (and has) provide answers to the intellectual problem of evil, it doesn’t mean that we won’t experience evil personally.  We still have to grapple and suffer through evil and pain.  Some of it quite horrific.  But the emotional experience of pain and suffering is not an argument, but a personal struggle.  It is a struggle that the Christian worldview can offer satisfying resources and comfort for someone who is suffering pain and evil.  Christianity can speak of the patience and mercy of God. It can mention the future perfection that awaits all who trust in Christ. It can offer the comfort that a redemptive God is working to cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It has a “good news” of hope for a broken world. The atheistic worldview denies these luxuries.

Apologetics and the Christian worldview has the intellectual and emotional resources for Gen Z.  It just needs to be communicated: which Christian apologetics does.  Not just intellectual answers, but deeply personal, psychological, and spiritual answers.



God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain ed. by Chad Meister and James K. Dew, Jr. – one of the best collected works covering all the angles on the question of evil that “offers convincing and compelling reassurance that though we are pressed on every side with great evil and suffering, the God of the universe is greater still.”

Why Does God Allow Evil? Compelling Answers to Life’s Toughest Questions by Clay Jones – a shorter work that answer some of the common questions in a very accessible but intellectual sound manner

The Problem of Evil: The Challenge to Essential Christian Beliefs by Jeremy A. Evans 

The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis – a classic examination of the intellectual problem of evil

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis – an examination of the emotional problem of evil

Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness–A Philosopher’s Lament by Douglas Groothuis – a new book by Christian philosopher Groothuis as he opens up personally about his wife’s struggle with dementia as he reflects on it as a philosopher and a husband



The Logical Problem of Evil:


The Evidential (Probabilistic) Problem of Evil:


Other videos:








Dr. Craig’s Reasonable Faith has produced two new animated videos along with his pervious videos on the existence of god (Cosmological, Moral, Fine-Tuning, Contingency, and Ontological).  These two videos deal with the problem of evil: both the logical version and probabilistic version. As always, great quality and solid content.  Definitely worth checking out:




Here are some articles and other resources dealing with the problem of evil:

The Problem of Evil” by William Lane Craig |

God and the Problem of Evil: Five Views ed. by Chad Meister and James K. Dew Jr. (IVP Academic, 2017)

God, Freedom, and Evil by Alvin Plantinga (Eerdman’s 1989)

Here are some other videos on the problem of evil:











In 2008 Broadman & Holman first released the Apologetics Study Bible.  Two years later they produced the Apologetics Study Bible for Students selling well over 100,000 copies. Features of this Study Bible included:


 “Twisted Scriptures” explanations, “Bones & Dirt” archaeology meets apologetics, “Tactics” against common anti-Christian arguments, and“Personal Stories” of how God has worked in real lives.  It did so well they are releasing a new updated edition.  I had the honor of writing three articles for the first release and they are rolling them over in the new updated edition.  They are:

1. “Why Does God Allow Evil?”

2. What About the Crusades?”

3. “Don’t Religious Beliefs Just Reflect Where One Was Raised?”

I guess you can say I wrote the Bible (just kidding), but I am releasing my articles for the next several weeks for preview.  If you know of any students, this would be an excellent resource for them.  The new edition includes updates such as:

  1. Articles have been updated.
  2. Authors went through each of their articles and improved them substantially.
  3. 12 new articles on “hot” topics like tattoos, euthanasia, transgenderism, Islamic Jihad, religious freedom, singleness, race, and more.
  4. Each of the special features (Bones & Dirt, Tactics, Twisted Scriptures, Stories, and Fast Facts) have been expanded with 5-10 more articles.

Here is the first article I wrote for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students (they apparently gave me the hard questions):

“Why Does God Allow Evil?”

“In December 2, 2015, a mass shooting by two terrorists killed fourteen people in California’s Inland Regional Center. Years earlier, in 2012, a gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut: he shot twenty first graders and six adults.

From shootings like these to natural disasters that level communities, we regularly hear about or even experience the effects of sin and evil in the world. This leads many to ask, “If God can prevent such massacres and destruction, why doesn’t he?” That people routinely ask this question implies the widely held conviction that an all-powerful and all-good God would choose to destroy all evil. How could he possibly allow evil to exist?

Many suppose that the existence of evil disproves God’s existence. But the human ability to recognize evil is actually a good reason to believe in a Creator. If there was no God, there would be no objective, universal standard by which to measure good and evil. Since, however, all humans agree that the two are distinct, there must be an independent, eternal standard by which we ground moral convictions.

Nonetheless, some philosophers claim that the existence of evil is logically incompatible with the existence of the all-good, all-powerful God described in Scripture. If God exists, the theory goes, evil cannot. If evil exists, God cannot. God and evil, like square circles, are logically contradictory and thus cannot coexist. But few philosophers think this argument successful. In fact, even philosophically-informed atheists acknowledge the weakness of this view. After all, it is logically possible that God, though all-powerful and all-knowing, has a good reason for allowing evil to exist. For instance, evil’s presence ensures the preservation of human free will. If we have genuine freedom, then we have the possibility of choosing to do evil rather than good. God is certainly powerful enough to prevent us from doing evil, but he would be taking away our free will by doing so. He cannot force us to always choose the good, because being made to choose the good would mean that we are not free.

There are other reasons God could allow evil to occur. For instance, coping with the effects of evil in the world often contributes to the development of virtues such as empathy, patience, and trust in Jesus as Savior. Without the ability to choose and exercise free will or the opportunity to develop virtue, our lives would be shallow and without love; we could not truly love one another or love God. We would essentially be robots lacking the ability to have a relationship with God, and loving relationship with us is the very thing God desires.

Though it is reasonable for God and evil to coexist, some say the presence of so much evil makes it difficult to believe in God. However, this is a subjective judgment. How much evil is too much? Who but God can say? We are all troubled by evil, but God has dealt evil a fatal blow through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

mary-and-jesusSome great articles are circulating around some apologetic sites you need to check out around the world wide web:

1. “Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene? Revisiting a Stubborn Conspiracy Theory” by Michael Kruger | Cannon Fodder, Nov 29, 2016

Michael Kruger exposes this “too good to get rid of conspiracy”: that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

In 2003, Dan Brown’s best-selling fictional book The Da Vinci Code raised (again) the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that this fact had been cleverly suppressed by the church for thousands of years. Apparently it took a fictional author to uncover the “real” truth.

Brown was not the first to make such a claim, of course, but his book gave it new life.  At least for a while.  But, after a chorus of scholars showed the claim to be (again) without merit, the chatter about Mary Magdalene died down a bit.

But this particular mole will not go away.  Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici wrote an article for the Huffington Post on this very topic entitled, “Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene is Fact, not Fiction.

Some things just don’t stay dead.

2. “Rapid Response: “Evil Disproves the Existence of God” by J. Warner Wallace

As part of his “rapid response” series, Wallace asks you to imagine if someone said, “If God is both all-loving and all-powerful, why does He allow evil things to happen? Doesn’t the mere presence of evil disprove the existence of God?” How would you respond to such a claim? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied.

3. “Getting Rid of the Myth of Religion” by Greg Koukl | Stand to Reason, Nov 30, 2016

Koukl describes the high price that is paid when one gets rid of the “myth” of religion.


The problem of evil is one of the foremost objections to belief in God in general and Christianity in particular.  Fortunately, Christian scholars, philosophers, and theologians have thought and responded to this objection quit well.  Here is a series of videos each dealing with the problem of evil.  All of them are under five (5) minutes each.