A great deal of debate by philosophers and theologians has taken place about the topic of evil.
Different viewpoints have been expressed determined by whether there is the belief that God exists. All agree that there are two basic types of evil namely, natural and moral. This post will address the issue of natural evil and the next moral evil.
Anyone who pays attention to the news media soon realizes that there are frequent natural catastrophes happening in the world, some major and some minor, all of them causing suffering and pain. Such catastrophic events have a long history. For example, ten million died in India in 1769 because of a famine. On million starved in Ireland in 1845. A 1887 flood in China caused a million deaths. We all know about the big earthquake which caused great damage to SanFrancisco in more recent times. In addition, of course, are the more personal catastrophes that can happen to us. Over time, as knowledge has increased, we have learned to control the environment around us to some extent, but it seems the big natural disasters are and will be beyond our reach. Certainly these kind of natural evil events will continue until the Creator brings about a change.
The universe is massive, but our immediate concern is our solar system of which we are a part. As the earth, revolves and orbits, hurdling through space, it follows natural laws. In doing so, seasons come and go with concomitant movement of air masses that can create hurricanes, tornadoes etc. which cause so much pain and suffering. Another example, paramount in our existence, is the force of gravity. It keeps our solar system in place but can also give rise to pain and suffering as in earthquakes, causing buildings to fall to the earth and destroy anything and anyone beneath. However, without gravity our earth and the rest of the solar system would have been flung into outer space and we would not exist.
The big question then is how is one to view these natural evil disasters? From an atheistic viewpoint, as best I can determine, the perspective is you do the best you can for yourself and for others and when you expire its over, forever. The first part is realistic and laudable, but the “forever” portion is questionable because there is no proof that God does not exist. More about this towards the end of this post.
The scriptures say, “God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). From God’s perspective, at that point in time, he was pleased with what he had done. However, there were some negative aspects that will someday be done away with.
Paul in the scriptures is quoted as saying, “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). He was quite aware of this given he almost drowned in a shipwreck and when he did reach land he was bitten by a snake.
John, a prisoner on the small island of Patmos, had a vision recorded in Revelation 21:1 which says, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away….” The creation of a new heaven and a new earth can only happen if there is a God to do it. He is the only one that can create a world without natural evil. This, will happen sometime in the future, beyond our lifetime, so it is important that we get to know him now and accept the salvation he provided for us by dying on the cross.
A philosopher that readers may want to become familiar with is Anthony Flew. Flew was a predominant atheist philosopher following the Second World War. In 2007 he published a book, ‘There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind’
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