JOHN PEARRELL: Evil in the world should not prevent belief in God

As scientific evidence accrues, the realization that we are not here by blind chance is becoming abundantly clear. Some renowned scientists have even observed that had Darwin been aware of the scientific information we have at our disposal today, his theory of evolution would never have been advanced.

The vocal atheist Richard Dawkins agrees that life on planet Earth is not the result of random chance. With this understanding, he publicly declared that, while he agrees that the universe as we know it must have a designer behind it, he chooses to believe that (and I quote now), "little green men seeded the Earth with life forms."

In his mind, unknown, unseen aliens are a better explanation for what we observe today than is a cosmic designer.

Since scientific evidence points more and more to God, I have noticed that the arguments against God have become negative arguments. That is, we can no longer claim that all the evidence for life points toward time plus random chance (all the evidence points to a designer of some sort, be it a God or little green aliens).

The main argument used now against God is there cannot be a God because of the evil that exists in the world

The problem of evil is not a new problem. In one of the oldest books we have, Job wrote, "Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7, NIV84).

So the problem of pain and suffering in our world has been around for a long time, perhaps just as long as the idea that if pain and suffering exist, God can't exist.

Job's wife takes this tact when she advises her husband, "Why do you still trust God? Why don't you curse him and die?" (Job 2:9, CEV). Like her modern counterparts, Mrs. Job is saying in effect, "Doesn't our pain prove God doesn't exist?"

Is the existence of evil a reasonable basis for non-belief? Let's examine that a little.

First of all, to argue for the existence of evil, one has to be able to tell evil from good; there has to be a standard of some sort whereby we distinguish between the two.

In short, the person who argues for evil, must do so from the standpoint of a universal moral law. In order to have a universal moral law, there has to be a universal lawgiver.

Therefore, the existence of evil, far from being an argument against God, really points to the necessity of God.

If you are a non-believer in a God because of the problem of evil in our world, let me ask you a question -- does that really make you feel better? Does not believing that there is a God really make the problem of evil any less painful?

To me, it would seem that a recognition of the evil that does exist in our world while clinging to a belief that there is no real purpose for it and no possibility of relief from it, far from making it more bearable, would in fact make it intolerable.

While, I too, find the problem of evil and suffering in our world a painful reality and difficult subject, I also believe that it is not without a purpose, and there is coming a day when God will rectify the problem. He entered into our pain, suffered the cruelty of the cross to redeem us from evil.

Yes, as a believer I must deal with the problem, but so must the atheist. Denying God does not make the problem go away nor does it make evil somehow less evil.

What it does do, however, is relegate the problem to random meaninglessness and remove any hope of good ultimately overcoming the evil.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org.