“Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. (Romans 5:12). You would have a difficult time explaining evil in the world, if you did not first ask the person who wants to know of God’s existence; to make sure they understand, even if they do not believe in the fall of man.
In attacking or explaining the problem of evil, you have to have a strong convicted theodicy. The problem of evil exists because of the fall of man. Explaining all the natural and personal disasters without a belief in God and why evil exists is paramount to impossible.
There is a belief that moral and natural evil exists because there is a vacuum left where God does not exist. As a people in general this vacuum exists because more and more God is being eliminated from our lives and it is a natural progression for evil to fill this ever growing void. Moral evil is an intentional will of a person to break God’s law. An example would be the intentional taking of another person’s life. Natural evil is an evil that exists outside the realm of man’s free will. It is an act that does not involve a decision made by a person. An example would be all natural disasters, (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.), or diseases of mankind, (cancer, aids, etc.).
Collectively there are many theodicies for and against moral and natural evil. Some believe that mankind has created global warming which as caused red tide, more frequent hurricanes, more earthquakes, larger spontaneous fires, tsunamis, etc. This belief is now a moral evil instead of natural because man has brought it upon himself through conscious decisions about the environment. There is a theodicy that questions the existence of God because of all the evil in the world.
Sin exists in the world because of the fall of man. We are born into sin from Adam as our Fatherhead. Sin is inherent to mankind and we remain in this state to date. The theodicy that argues against God because of evil cannot be proven because of all the good there is in the world. Man’s inerrant tendency to be good and love one another far outweighs the evil in the world.
Augustinian or Seminal Head Theodicy: states God created a perfect world and that the humans caused evil through their own free will
Leibniz’s Theodicy: states that God created the best of all possible worlds, and that mankind is punished or rewarded from his actions. And that God is not responsible for evil.
Dualistic Theodicy: states that good and evil exist together at the same time and this theodicy claims God is responsible for sin.
A theodicy must be internally consistent because to be inconsistent would be a contradiction to the theodicy. To be internally consistent on the explanation of evil, then you must point to goodness, grace, faith, hope and love. If the belief is that there is evil in the world, then the counter argument to that is all the good that exists in the world. Nothing except Christ is wholly good, and nothing is wholly evil. It seems a simplistic theodicy, but it does uphold Christian beliefs.
All personal experiences of evil will affect a person’s relationship with God. It is how you deal with these experiences that will affect your relationship with God. There is probably not one human on the face of the earth that has not dealt with some form of evil. Some of us have had much more than others and some have had less. There are also many, many people including Christians who have doubted God at the time of their crisis with evil. How we come out of these crises is our true standing with the Lord. The more you go through and the more your trust in the Lord is put to the test, the stronger you will come out on the other end of these tests. I do not believe you can have any doubts about God without attacking the wholeness of God, for if one thing goes away, then eventually it will all go away.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him”. (Hebrews 11:6)
Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, (2001, Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic) pp. 678,679 pp.121-124 pp.413-415 pp. 1184-1187
Towns, Elmer L., Theology for Today, (professor I bought a used book and the entire front pages were ripped out. I have no publisher, date etc.) Pp.485-552