The Problem of Evil
Most of us are aware that a hurricane recently devastated the Bahamas with multiple people killed, hundreds still missing, and vast devastation of property.
In the wake of such natural disasters, thoughtful people start considering the whys and wherefores of it all. Skeptics and atheists point to such disasters as proof positive that the world is not under the control of a sovereign, benevolent, all-knowing, all-powerful Being. After all, they argue, if God were good, he certainly would not send or allow such destruction. And if God were all-powerful, he certainly could have prevented the disaster altogether. So, they reason, God must not exist, or perhaps he just doesn’t care, or maybe he is not powerful or good. Those, of course, are wrong conclusions. When we see disasters like this, it should remind us that life is short and we could lose it at any time. The proper response is to repent and get right with God before it’s too late.
Today’s passage, Luke 13:1-5, touches on this topic—disaster, who is responsible for it, and what do we learn from it. Or we could describe it as the problem of evil—why do bad things happen?
In our study of Luke, we’ve been going section by section, focusing on the text itself. Today, I want to do something a little different. I want to consider the main topic brought up in these verses. What is that topic? Disaster, suffering—the problem of evil.
This is a very serious topic. Many people today consider the evil in the world as a reason not to believe in God and the Bible. They cannot reconcile the existence of God with the existence of so much suffering, pain, and death.
Others simply have the wrong view of evil. They think that evil befalls only evil people. The worse people are, the more bad things happen to them. Good people simply don’t experience bad things. That is a false view as well.
Let’s consider the text first, then we’ll look into the topic of evil and consider how to respond to it.