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The Problem of Evil - Introduction John Stott has said that the fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith It is unquestionably true that there is no greater obstacle to faith than that of the reality of evil and suffering in the world Indeed even for the believing Christian there is no greater test of faith than this--that the God who loves him permits him to suffer at times in excruciating ways And the disillusionment is intensified in our day when unrealistic expectations of health and prosperity are fed by the teachings of a multitude of Christian teachers Why does a good God allow his creatures and even his children to suffer First its important to distinguish between two kinds of evil moral evil and natural evil Moral evil results from the actions of free creatures Murder rape and theft are examples Natural evil results from natural processes such as earthquakes and floods Of course sometimes the two are intermingled such as when flooding results in loss of human life due to poor planning or shoddy construction of buildings Its also important to identify two aspects of the problem of evil and suffering First there is the philosophical or apologetic aspect This is the problem of evil approached from the standpoint of the skeptic who challenges the possibility or probability that a God exists who would allow such suffering In meeting this apologetic challenge we must utilize the tools of reason and evidence in giving a reason for the hope within us I Pet 315 Second is the religious or emotional aspect of the problem of evil This is the problem of evil approached from the standpoint of the believer whose faith in God is severely tested by trial How can we love and worship God when He allows us to suffer in these ways In meeting the religiousemotional challenge we must appeal to the truth revealed by God
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