God looked at everything He had made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:31) Five times in Genesis 1, God looks at that which He has created, and pronounces it "good". Then on the sixth day He creates Man, and says that His creation is now "very good". God's pronouncement of His creation, which would be everything around us and includes ourselves, as "very good" is hard to reconcile with that which we see on a daily basis -- a reality in which we experience much pain and cruelty from man and nature. These negative experiences we call "evil".
Evil, in this sense, is a very broad term, and needs to be defined. In general terms, "evil" is that which works against the life-giving power of God, and seeks to thwart God's will. In the Bible, the term "evil" is used to describe anything that brings sorrow, distress, calamity, and moral wrong-doing. In more modern times, "evil" has been associated with warfare, especially chemical and nuclear warfare, as well as problems associated with over-population, racism, ecological destruction, and worldwide disease. Indeed, evil is so much a part of our lives, the very term seems to have lost meaning. It is not uncommon in public debates to hear one side associate the other with evil, casually placing their opponents on the side of Satan and destruction.
So, what did God mean when He said that His creation was "very good"? Did He simply mean that He was finished, and that evil was an intentional part of His design? Or did evil come afterward, suggesting that it was beyond His control? This is a vexing question to those of faith, especially in the Judeo-Christian faith, who believe in an all-powerful, loving God. If God is good and lo...
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...gardless of my worth to God, I know I will fall. If I choose to do wrong, I know that the responsibility is mine. If I catch a disease, I would not blame God, or ask why he chose me to suffer. If I am to accept all the possible good aspects of being a thinking, reasoning human being with freedom of will, I have to accept the fact that I live in an existence where evil can happen.
Dobson, James C. (1993). When God Doesn't Make Sense. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Green, Joel B., & Longman, Tremper (Eds.). (1996). Holy Bible -- The Everday Study Edition. Dallas: Word Publishing.
Hick, John H. (1990). Philosophy of Religion. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Kushner, Harold S. (1981). When Bad Things Happen To Good People. New York: Avon books.
McFague, Sallie. (1987). Models of God. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
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