Posts Tagged ‘Einstein’

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Does the Problem of Evil Disprove God?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

It has been noted by some historians that later in his life Albert Einstein expressed the view, based upon his observations of the universe, that there must be a God Who initially set the universe into motion.  However, those same historians go on to point out that Einstein ended up backing away from a Judeo-Christian concept of God and settled for more of a deistic view of God, similar to a watchmaker who creates the watch, winds it up to get it going, but then walks away, never to be heard from again.  Apparently, one of the biggest reasons that drove Einstein to this conclusion was the problem of evil that he observed in the world.  He could not reconcile in his thinking a “good” God Who would allow evil to exist in His creation.  Similarly, historians who have studied the life of Charles Darwin have pointed out that his quest to find a purely naturalistic explanation for everything, without any reference to a Creator, all began with the death of his beloved daughter, Annie.  These, of course, are only two examples out of countless others who have come to the conclusion that since our world is so full of evil and suffering, there either isn’t a God, or if there is, it cannot be the God of the Bible.  But is that the case?  Does it logically follow that the existence of evil either “disproves” God or is inconsistent with the idea of God’s existence?

On more than one occasion, I’ve had someone say to me, “I can’t believe in God because I see a world that is full of evil and suffering.”  I often respond to them by saying, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds to me as if you’re really saying that when you look around the world, you see a world that is not the way it’s supposed to be- that things are not as they should be.” Of course, such a comment only makes sense if there really IS a way things are supposed to be, referring to some original plan or purpose.  To put it another way, how does one know what evil is unless they know what good is? And how do they know what good is unless there is some objective standard outside of us,  by which to differentiate between the two?  According to C.S. Lewis, this same observation regarding evil was instrumental in leading him out of his atheism.  As he puts it, “(As an atheist) my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.  But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?  A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

So, as it turns out, rather than disproving God, the question of the problem of evil actually requires God’s existence in order to make any sense.  Without Him, our observations and objections to “the problem of evil” become meaningless and irrelevant.

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  • In today's world, there is a great deal of confusion when it comes to matters of truth, meaning, morality, our origin, and our destiny. The purpose of Renewed Thoughts is to bring clarity to such issues by examining them in light of a Biblical worldview, using the tools of science, philosophy, and critical thinking.