Notable Quotes on the Problem of Evil

Posted August 15, 2017 by Amy Wang

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The following are some notable quotes on the Problem of Evil from Christian thinkers like C.S. Lewis, Norman Geisler, Clay Jones, William Dembski, Peter Kreeft, and R.C. Sproul Jr.

The Moral Standard Points to a Moral Lawgiver

"[When I was an atheist] my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line" —C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 45; Geisler, 13)

Pain as a Tool

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world" — C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis, Problem of Pain, 81; Geisler, 76)

“The truth is that God delivers some people from their sickness and others through their sickness. Both are the hand of God.” —Norman Geisler (Geisler, 86)

“This present world is not the best of all possible worlds, but it is the best of all possible ways to the best of all achievable worlds.” —Norman Geisler (Geisler, 68)

Origin of Evil

"Has God the Creator denied to the creature some freedom that might benefit it? Adam and Eve thought the answer to this was yes...In short, the problem of evil starts when creatures think God is evil for "cramping their style." —William Dembski (Dembski, The End of Christianity, 27-28; Jones, 211)

Free Choice

"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell, chose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell" — C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, 69; Geisler, 67)

“God is willing to save all, but all are not willing to be saved.” - C.S. Lewis

"The Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will... would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo" — C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, 46; Geisler, 99)

“No healthy person would want to marry even the most lifelike robot because everyone realizes that the most realistic robot imaginable is no more than three steps above inflatable.” —Clay Jones (Jones, 122)

“In short, God has to create free creatures who could sin before He could produce free creatures who can’t sin.” — Norman Geisler (Geisler, 62)

"So lower-level freedom (in this world) involves the freedom to sin— the power of contrary choice. In heaven, we trade in this lower freedom for a higher freedom, the way one who is dating trades in the ability to choose many life-partners for the joy and fulfillment of having only one— the one to which we are bound in love (by our free choice) until death." — Norman Geisler (Geisler, 63)


“Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, that only happened once, and He volunteered.” — R.C. Sproul Jr. (Jones, 77)

Responsibility for Evil

"How do we get God off the hook for allowing evil? God is not off the hook; God is the hook. That's the point of a crucifix. The Cross is God's part of the practical solution to evil. Our part, according to the same Gospel, is to repent, to believe, and to work with God in fighting evil by the power of love." — Peter Kreeft (Kreeft, "The Problem of Evil")

"There is a problem with evil all right. But it isn't God's problem--He is only good and doesn't do any evil. It's humankind's problem because we are the ones who do evil." —Clay Jones (Jones, 73)

Hell is Avoidable

"The soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will never miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened" — C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, 69; Geisler, 109).

Bible Verses Related to the Problem of Evil

The following are some bible verses related to the problem of evil, which highlight God's sovereignty, man's choice, and possible purposes for suffering.

  • Some Possible Purposes for Suffering:
    • Greater eternal glory: 2Corinthians 4:17, Romans 8:18
    • Sanctification: Romans 5:3-4, James 1:2-4, 2Corinthians 12:7, John 15:2, Ezekiel 14:21-23, Hebrews 5:8-9
    • Discipline, chastening: Hebrews 12:5-7,Hebrews 12:11,1Corinthians 11:31-32
    • Testing: Luke 8:5-15, Job 2:10, 1Peter 1:6-7,
    • Comfort to others: 2Corinthians 1:4-7
    • Fellowship with Jesus in suffering: Philippians 3:8, Philippians 3:10-11,
    • Suffering for God: Matthew 5:11-12, Matthew 10:23-25, Romans 8:35-37, Romans 8:17
    • Suffering for others: Colossians 1:24
    • Display of God's power: John 9:1-3, Romans 9:17
    • Preserving the Wheat:Matthew 13:24-40
  • God's Attributes
    • Sovereignty: Genesis 50:20, Acts 4:27-29, Isaiah 46:9-10, Job 38:1-7, Proverbs 16:33, Daniel 4:35, Ephesians 1:11, Acts 17:26, Matthew 10:29
    • God's ways past finding out: Romans 11:33, Deuteronomy 29:29, Isaiah 55:8-9
    • Knowledge of what people would do: Matthew 11:20-24
    • Right to be generous as He pleases: Matthew 20:15
    • Patience: 2Peter 3:9-10, Romans 2:4, Romans 9:22-23, Romans 10:21
    • Intervention to prevent evil:
      • God does intervene to prevent certain evils: Numbers 22:12-14, Genesis 20:2-5
      • But sin can prevent His intervention: Isaiah 59:1-2, Psalm 81:11-14, Ezekiel 39:23-24, Deuteronomy 28:25,65-66
    • Justice:
      • Old Testament Justice: Nahum 1:3, Leviticus 24:19-21, Obadiah 1:15
      • New Testament Justice: Hebrews 9:27, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Revelation 6:10
      • Concerns about unfairness to the upright: Habakkuk 1:1-4, Habakkuk 1:13, Psalm 73:3-5, Genesis 18:23-33
      • Hell: Revelation 21:8
      • Evil as leaven: Galatians 5:9, 1Corinthians 5:6, 1Corinthians 5:8, Luke 12:1
      • Temporal Judgment: Jeremiah 50:23, Isaiah 10:15
      • Judgment based on knowledge: Luke 12:47-48, Matthew 11:21-24, Hebrews 2:3
      • Better for Judas not to be born: Matthew 26:24
  • Human Choice/Free Will
    • Humans not willing: Luke 13:34
    • Evil and depravity: John 3:19, Jeremiah 17:9, James 2:10, Romans 3:10-12, Isaiah 64:6
    • Ability to avoid evil: 1Corinthians 10:13, James 1:13-15
    • Without excuse: Romans 1:20, Romans 10:17-18, Acts 17:26-27
    • Given space to repent: Jeremiah 18:8, Revelation 2:20-21


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