Saturday, November 17, 2007

Whence the Tsunami?

Okay, I've been meaning to get back to the problem of evil. Let me jump right in to what I find one of the most interesting aspects--"natural evil." Natural evil is generally distinguished from moral evil, the suffering that results from the actions of free-will beings. Moral evil is easily explained within the biblical worldview, which says that mankind is fallen and reprobate. Other worldviews (like secular humanism and evolution) do not provide satisfactory explanations for the atrocities commited by Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and Pol Pot.

But what about the suffering and loss of life associated with earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, and tsunamis?

Well, first of all, let me point out that it is illegitimate for the atheist to raise this issue because--on his view--good and evil are not coherent categories. That is, unless there is an ultimate, transcendent standard against which to measure things, things simply are, and adjectives like bad and evil are mere personal opinions and not substantive value assessments.

But what I'm more interested in addressing is a false explanation (for the problem of natural evil) that often arises among well-meaning Christians. And that is to blame such things (as earthquakes and volcanoes) on the Fall. Here's an example from a Christian magazine article (referring to the deadly tsunami in Southeast Asia of December 26, 2004)...
Sadly, natural disasters are a part of our world. The reason is our world isn't the perfect one God created. Once Adam and Eve sinned, our planet became subject to disease, death, and disaster. The paradise the Creator originally intended became a world where the forces of nature kill and injure innocent people.
There are a number of things wrong with this belief, and I'll identify some of them in the next post.

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