Why do some people seem to get what they want and others don’t? Do the “have nots” have the wrong god or is their relationship with god failing to win favors from that god? But even the “haves,” the lucky people, experience failure sooner or later. So, if there is a god, an all-knowing, all-powerful, always present, all-good god over a world that is material and bound in time, why is there so much failure and suffering?
This question has been around a long, long time and is known commonly as “the problem of evil.” You may recall that a world without god cannot raise this question because there is no standard by which to know if something is either a problem or evil. In contrast, how can a world with a god be so full of problems and evil?
There are actually two questions mixed up here. First there is the question of whether there is a god or not, regardless of what kind of god it might be. Second, what kind of god is it? Is it possible that god is not actually ALL good, or ALL powerful, or ALL knowing? Such a god would explain why there are problems and evil in this short, material world—but what are we to do now? What else is there to do but take control? Now we must not only be concerned with competition against other people for what we want but we may also have to struggle against god or accomplish what god cannot in order to be happy.
This explains our culture’s obsession with claiming a free will and making choices, lots and lots of choices all day long every day. But is this working? Are the people with the most power and money, which means the most control over the greatest number of choices the happiest people? Why not? What is the cause of problems, evil, and suffering? Will knowing the cause make us any more able to avoid it?
Want to hear more on this topic? Tune into this episode on The Word Without Walls podcast for further consideration.