Answering Atheism (One)

It is written:

“Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?Why do You hide in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)

The question of God’s Presence in the midst of evil, pain, and suffering is one of the most difficult for believers to address. From beginning to end, the Bible addresses the scope of evil, pain, and suffering. While He does not provide answers to all of our questions, God provides some important information in HIs Word for dealing with the subject while giving us the wounds of the His own Son as a reminder that we are not alone in our darkness and that there is hope for this grief-stricken world.

Atheists, however, try to use the problem of evil, pain and suffering against the God which they claim not to believe in. A modern day example could be found in the works of atheist Sam Harris, in his book Letters To A Christian Nation. In this work, Harris brings to the forefront of the atheism debate the basis of his argument against God. Harris builds an interesting case, one that is similar to the one which Epicurus stated years earlier:

“God either wishes to take away evils and is unable; or he is able and unwilling; or he is neither willing nor able, or he is both willing and able. If he is willing and unable, he is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of god; if he is able and unwilling, he is envious, which is equally at variance with god; if he is neither willing nor able, he is both envious and feeble, and therefore, not god; if he is both willing and able, which is alone suitable to god, from what source then are evils? or why does he not remove them?” (Lactantius, “A Treatise on the Anger of God,” in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, VII, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donalson (Grand Rapids: William E. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951), p. 271.)

What shall we say to this?

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