Reason for God, IV

The second objection to Christianity that Keller addresses is the ever-popular question, How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?

In this post, I will not even get one toe into the depths of this timeless, difficult question posed to Christ-followers. Actually, Keller argues that this question is more of an issue for already-Christians, rather than non-yets. But it is still a very popular objection to faith in Christ.

Many philosophers of our day have agreed that just as goodness in the world does not prove God's existence, they have also agreed that evil and suffering can not disprove God. The assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil and therefore a supposed good God could not exist hides another premise that if suffering appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.

If you ask around, you could easily find someone who has gone through a period of suffering and come out better on the other end. Keller shares some stories of this vein, and also points to the life of Joseph in the Bible who became a powerful and influential leader in Egypt, second in command, only after enduring some - to the casual observer - "pointless" suffering.

Keller then argues that suffering may be, if anything, evidence for a God. Former atheist, turned Christian, C.S. Lewis stated that suffering provided a better argument for God's existence than against. "How had I got this idea of just and unjust? What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?"

Keller says that the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection depends on death and destruction of the weak, so on what basis can an atheist judge the natural world to be unjust or evil? Now, to their defense, I think the problem of suffering question is posed to question how our God could actually be good rather than why is there suffering period, but it is a reasonable question, nonetheless.

Keller then moves on to discuss how through Jesus, Christians discover that God put himself "on the hook" of human suffering. Consequently, Christianity does provide resources for making sense of evil and suffering. Keller also addresses the idea that Christian beliefs just provide consolation in the midst of suffering, but actually our faith holds to a restoration that will right everything that has been wrong and "everything sad will become untrue."


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