“The “problem of evil” presupposes objective moral values, which requires a transcendent source. So using “evil” as an argument against God presupposes him. Without God, there can be no evil, only a material world governed by undesigned chance or blind fate. So the atheist worldview has the real “problem with evil”. If evil is purely subjective, then it really doesn’t exist. You cannot make an objective moral judgement on a materialistic universe, even in the face of the most tragic events like the starvation of little children or genocide.” (Author unknown).
In studying the Book of Habakkuk we need to begin by identifying three fundamental premises undergirding the entire book. What are these three fundamental premises or assertions?
First, Habakkuk teaches the truth that evil exists. What exactly is evil? Evil is defined “biblically” as anything wicked, bad, wrong, morally, wrong, wrongful, immoral, sinful, ungodly, unholy, foul, vile, base, ignoble, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous, depraved, degenerate, villainous, nefarious, sinister, vicious, malicious, malevolent, demonic, devilish, diabolic, diabolical, fiendish, dark and black-hearted. This is quite a list.
All of these synonyms for evil are defined as they pertain to in opposition to God and His holiness. To understand and even to define evil, there must be a corresponding contrast or standard of goodness and holiness in order for anything to be defined as lacking such goodness and holiness. Therefore, the existence of evil supports the existence of the holy God of the Bible even by those who reject the holy God of the Bible.
Dr. R. c. Sproul writes, “Those who would use the problem of evil to deny the existence of God have a problem. As many theologians and philosophers have taught, evil is a negative idea, a parasite on the good. Without a previously existing, eternal, and personal good (God), nothing could be defined as evil. As you consider the mysteries of providence and evil, remember that the Lord is far greater than we can imagine (Job 42) and will use wickedness to create a glorious future for His people
What kind of evil exists? There are notably four categories of evil.
The first category of evil is Natural Evil. This includes tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, disease, and the whole aging process. It is living life physically in a biblically and naturally fallen world. Genesis 3:1-20.
The second category of evil is Moral Evil. This is what we most often refer to when we address the subject of evil in general. Every relationship we have is tainted by moral evil. This fallen world is filled with moral evil. These includes murder, theft, sexual sin, lies. It is the continual violation of God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).
The third category of evil is Supernatural Evil. It involves the believer’s battle with the fallen world (I John 2:15-17), Demons and Satan, along with the remnant of our sinful nature. It is known as Spiritual Warfare. (2 Corinthians 10:1-6; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 6:10-20; James 4:7; I Peter 5:8).
Finally, there is Eternal Evil. This is Hell (Revelation 14:6-13; 19:17-21; 20:1-10; 20:11-15. See also Matthew 13:40-42; 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 3:17; 12:47-48).
How do we reconcile the existence of evil with the Bible’s insistence of the existence of the One, True, Holy God? This is what we will consider when next we meet.
Until then, may God’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!