For many people the fact that there is evil and suffering in the world proves that there isn’t a God.
OK, so how do Christians try and prove that evil and suffering doesn’t disprove the idea of God.
ADAM & EVE AND THE GARDEN OF EDEN
One way of explaining how evil & suffering came into the world is through the story of Adam & Eve in the first book of the Old Testament (Genesis). Most people would today say that this story is not to be taken literally but more as a myth showing how evil and suffering came into the world. Adam & Eve are placed by God into the Garden of Eden , a paradise where they have all kinds of trees to eat from, including the tree of life. God gives them one simple instruction not to eat from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. The snake who represents evil persuades Eve to eat from the tree. Once this has happened they are no longer conscious of God’s care and love and they try to hide from him to cover up the fact they have disobeyed him. God finds out and banishes them from Eden – this is known as the ‘Fall’ – the fall into sin.
It is ‘the original sin’ of mankind. Therefore man & woman brought suffering upon themselves by disobeying God. The story was written to show that evil came into the world through man’s sin. Man and woman were created free to love and obey God or not. They chose not to obey God and so the relationship between God and humans was damaged and as a result, evil came into the world.
Why else do Christians say there is evil in the world?
Christians come up with the following reasons why there is evil & suffering in the world.
It is not down to us to question God, only he understands and who are we to question him?
Their faith is being tested by God.
Evil is down to the activities of Satan (The Devil) in the world.
We are being punished because of original sin – the sin of Adam & Eve going against God.
Sin and suffering are inevitable if we are free to choose our own destinies (freewill). Some people will make the wrong choices and evil will be the result.
Through suffering people grow and develop spiritually.
If Jesus was able to suffer for us on the cross, then we should be able to attempt to cope with our own sufferings. God shared in our suffering through the suffering of his own son Jesus.