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My notes on R.C. Sproul’s – What Is Evil & Where Did It Come From?

This video is an hour long, but you can speed it up and watch in half the time. I think Dr. Sproul did a great job speaking about this age old question.

This is my summary:

  1. Evil is not a thing, like some force or poison or ooze.
  2. Evil is an action.
  3. Just as Augustine said, evil is a privation of good.
  4. Evil is doing what is contrary to God’s commands.
  5. Concupiscence (an innocent inclination to sin) is a contradiction, and does not explain the origin of evil.
  6. Evil is not simply imperfection. Evil is not necessary to being a creature. Adam was not created fallen. Biblically, Christians are also promised not just physical or mental perfection in heaven, but spiritual (metaphysical) perfection.
  7. Karl Barth said original sin was the “impossible possibility,” which is just a way of saying “I don’t know” where evil came from.
  8. The best answer this side of eternity is probably “I don’t know.”
  9. Scripture itself calls iniquity a “mystery.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
  10. Some have argued the presence of evil proves there is no God, since an all knowing all powerful good God wouldn’t tolerate such evil, when actually, the fact that we demand justice and recognize evil points to an ideal moral good (God).
  11. If we agree God exists, then the current present evil we experience, while not good in itself, yet it is still apparently good that it exists right now, otherwise it wouldn’t. Nothing prevents God from accomplishing everything he wants even if that means allowing evil and using it for good purposes that would otherwise not exist.
  12. God means evil for good. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Genesis 50:20) “And an evil spirit sent by the Lord terrified him.” (1 Samuel 16:14)
  13. Nothing is more clear in Scripture about God meaning evil for good than the sending of his son to die on the cross. “to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” (Acts 4:28) “It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” Isaiah 53:10.

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