The Problem of Evil, God, and Larry King

For some reason, in the last couple of weeks, I have heard Larry King ask the same question about God. Here is how he phrased it on Twitter:

If God is omnipotent why do tragedies like earthquakes and hurricanes happen? No religious leader has ever been able to answer that for me.

I’m sure this statement is not actually true. He asks religious leaders this question all the time, I’ve yet to hear one who didn’t answer the question!

I think what Mr. King means is that he’s not been satisfied with any of the answers, which is completely different.

What Mr. King fails to realize is that faith leaves us with tension. It leaves us with unresolved issues. Faith is a fight. If everything made sense, if all questions were answered, then you wouldn’t need faith.

Most Evangelical Christian answers to the problem of evil and God are sorely lacking in depth. Most rely heavily on cliches: “God is still on the throne,” “God works in mysterious ways,” and “We don’t know how, but God gets glory out of all things.” They offer surface answers that don’t really cut it in the face of pain. They skip to the easy and happy way too quick.

None of the answers are satisfying to me either. I’ve rarely been impressed by any religious persons answer to this question.

Here are two giant things I know about the Problem of Evil and God:

A) The earliest written book of the Bible is the Book of Job. Job is all about the problem of Evil and God. And guess what? Even when God is directly asked the question, “Why am I suffering?” He refused to answer it. He’s not answering the question. That is, in fact, why we are still asking the question all these years later. God doesn’t answer it. If God didn’t answer it, all our answers are nothing more than human philosophy and speculation.

B) The central point of the Bible is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He came unto His own and they did not receive Him. Instead they beat, tortured, mocked, and then crucified Him. He bore in His own body our sin. He was wounded for our transgression. He was bruised for our iniquity. By His stripes we are healed. Evil, pain, and suffering are a major part of God’s plan of redemption. He entered into these things. He embraced the pain.

These two points, although not answering the question, give us a good indicator that whatever God’s attitude toward pain is, He’s not ignoring it. He’s not indifferent. If anything, He feels it more than we ever could.

That may not satisfy you. That may not “answer your question.” But then again, I don’t think God is trying to answer it. Perhaps God is wondering the same thing. “Why, since I’m good, do people go against me and ruin everything?”

Humans may not be the only ones baffled by this.

The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us why He allows evil and suffering to exist. But it does say that you should take care of the evil rampant in your own life. It does tell us to alleviate the sufferings of others. He promises His help and power for both.

Instead of pretending to have existential angst over the general problem of evil so you can deny God and faith for “rational” reasons, perhaps Larry King and we need to deal with our own evil and go from there.

4 thoughts on “The Problem of Evil, God, and Larry King”

  1. If God is omnipotent why do tragedies like earthquakes and hurricanes happen?

    The clear problem with Larry King’s question and his inability to find an answer to satisfy him, is that his question is based on a totally false assumption.

    He assumes that the primary concern of an omnipotent God would be to have a world totally free from any kind of catastrophe (both natural an manmade).
    Clearly, IF an omnipotent God wanted a catastrophe-free world, there would be nothing stopping Him from maintaining such a world.
    However, a REAL omnipotent God (as compared to the God of Larry King’s wish list) might just have a much larger agenda of more eternal consequence, and this short term planet may have a greater purpose than being a comfortable, trouble free home where we can live out our three score years and ten.

    Maybe rather than question God’s existence because He doesn’t act accordion to our expectations, it would be wiser to consider GOD’s expectations of mankind, so we can act according to THOSE.

  2. Well said. If there is no resurrection we are of all men most miserable. This isn’t the only life. If this were, then perhaps we could question God legitimately on this issue. But since there’s another one where God says He’ll set it all right for those who want Him to actually set it right, then we go on faith.

    God knows what He’s doing. He’s smarter than Larry King. Larry King should put faith in Him, not his own supposed rational complaint against God.

  3. I acknowledge the weakness of this analogy, but this earth and this life are a kind of boot camp.

    In the military and police forces potential recruits can be subjected to great discomfort in their initial weeks of training. Many drop out and don’t graduate. They realise they aren’t committed enough and not willing to pay the price required to fit into the service they wanted to join.

    God has a new heavens and earth planned for the future where only righteousness will be allowed to live. The purpose for the current earth and our present life is to find residents who are willing to be made fit for that new creation so that it won’t and can’t end up corrupted like this one did.

    That new creation WILL be free of the catastrophes that plague this one.

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