The existence of famine, war, disease, and other distasteful aspects of humanity pose a tough, insistent question as to why God chose to create evil. As an infinitely powerful creator, surely a morally perfect God can and should create a world where evil does not exist in the first place. To propose otherwise seems to paint God as a malevolent being who apparently takes joy in watching the chaos. Bernard Leikind (2010) is a physicist who published an article that paints a representation of the mystery of evil as seen by most non-believers. In his article, Leikind uses the Old Testament biblical figure Job to support a malevolent God who just as easily gives as he takes away. He references Job 38:1-4 (NIV):
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
This certainly does not reflect a caring and compassionate God as he seems to lord his shifting favor over Job. Leikand (2010), a self-professed Humanist, ends his article with this thought, “Here is what I believe: Each of us is responsible for the private and public meanings of our own lives…we can’t rely on supernatural powers to help us.” Atheists use this concept in the form of several academic arguments to combat belief. This particular argument is called the “This is not the best possible world” argument.
Another popular argument strongly tied to the mystery of evil revolves around a former Christian, Bart D. Ehrman (2008). Although Ehrman is certainly not the creator of this doubt in the existence of God, he is a relatively recent convert to agnosticism and is highly quoted by those seeking answers posed by the mystery of evil. In his book, God’s Problem, Ehrman discusses his exodus from the Christian faith and confesses that he cannot reconcile a God who allows for the harsh reality of starving children or catastrophic events such as the Holocaust or world wars to occur. As an agnostic, Ehrman represents the agnostic perspective. To address the mystery of evil, it is important to address this viewpoint as agnosticism does not effectively handle the question of the mystery of evil. There is an understandably stout yearning in almost all humans, despite their beliefs, to hope that pain and misery has definitive purpose, especially a purpose that makes sense in the context of our own existence. The desire to place suffering with purpose has repeatedly lead cultures to seek out and worship gods (or the God) in return for safekeeping in times of calamity.
This strong desire, in the face of such travesty, is often given as evidence as to why the supernatural exists, or rather is created by humans. The desire to seek out God for protection should not and cannot be misconstrued with...