The Argument From Evil

HolocaustFor many people, the problem of evil is one of the most powerful arguments against theism. The existence of evil seems to be evidence against an all-good and all-powerful God.

But what if there is another way to look at evil?

I recently read the book Night by Elie Wiesel.  It describes his experience in a concentration camp during the Second World War.  Of course there is much reflection about where God was during the Holocaust.

It is difficult to imagine the depths of evil that humanity could sink to. And that got me thinking.

There is a certain amount of evil that we can understand. We can imagine some violence as a result of greed and anger. We can imagine taking something by force. We can imagine demanding our own way.

There are certain things that humans do that we see elsewhere in the animal world. There is a natural tendency to do whatever it takes to get our own way.

But when we look at the Holocaust, there were things that were done that are on a different level. It was not just the confiscation of Jewish property. There was a careful plan to wipe out an entire people. Not only would they eliminate the Jews, they would do it in the cruelest manner possible.

I have read the stories of medical experiments that were performed on prisoners. This was done for no other reason than to embrace the most depraved impulses possible. Things were done that have no parallel elsewhere in the animal world.

This is where many apologists would go to questions of absolute good and evil and the moral argument for God. But I’m thinking of something different.

There are certain acts of evil that almost look beyond human nature. To me it points to a power that pushes people beyond their natural selfishness into another level of evil.

I’m not saying this is perfect evidence for a personal devil. At most it points an evil influence beyond nature that influences humanity.

And if evil points to a power beyond us that leads to the cruelest crimes, could there be another power that leads to the greatest acts of love?

This of course has the danger of looking like dualism. It is not meant to be proof of the Christian worldview. At most evil can point to reality beyond the nature world and thus a first step toward further reflection about the existence of God.

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