I am often bemused by those who appeal to the so-called “problem of evil” in questioning the existence of God. While there are, I think, a number of perfectly rational reasons for intelligent individuals to doubt the existence of the supernatural or a Creator God, the problem of evil is most definitely not one of them. Indeed, an appeal to it is nothing more than a demonstration of complete theological ignorance.
Without evil, Man is not fallen. Without evil, there is no bondage to sin. Without evil, there is no reason for Jesus Christ to sacrifice himself for us. Without evil, there is no purpose to the Crucifixion, no significance to the Resurrection, and no need for our salvation. Without evil, there is no basis for the very foundation of the Christian faith.
It is because there is evil in the world that Man has need of Jesus Christ. It is because Man is by nature slave to sin that we have need of the one who can set us free. And it is because we owed a debt that was beyond our capacity to pay that Christians are grateful for the epic sacrifice that we commemorate today.
And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.
And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.