Ehrman and Wright on the Problem of Evil

Tomorrow (6/8/08) I will be preaching a message entitled “The Edge of Evil” as a part of a series on The Book of Esther called “The Endgame.” In the Book of Esther there are no miracles, no dreams or visions, no one prays, and most striking of all is that there is no mention of God; yet this is a book canonized in the Biblical Scriptures – a book we believe is inspired by God and is basically the story of God redeeming the world. Biblical Christians believe God knows what is happening in our world and that He is intimately involved in it. But if God is involved in the world, why is there so much evil within it? You could ask the question like this – if God is the author of the world – why is the story going like this?

These are great questions with no easy answers. I dealt with this problem in a sermon on Easter morning entitled “Does God exist, know why, or even care?” That sermon was basically an apologetic that showed that just because evil exists we cannot rule out the existence of God. Tomorrow’s sermon “The Edge of Evil” will deal mainly with the problem of gratuitous evil – if God exists, why is there so much evil?

In no way would I consider my thoughts on the matter definitive or even unique. I recently recovered from a four month headache called Intro. to Philosophy by Dr. Robert Stewart of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary – it was the most difficult class I have ever taken but at the same time one of the most beneficial classes I have ever taken. I would consider it to be a formative event in my Christian walk. Dr. Stewart – thanks for the class and the headache, it was worth it; your teachings have peppered my most recent sermons. But I said all of that to say this, there are some much better reads on this subject than me – and I would like to recommend one that is very fresh.

Bart Ehrman and N.T. Wright recently entered an online debate on the problem of evil on It is a great read and very informative. Here is the link to the opening page. The interface is a bit awkward in that the entry on the home page is actually the last entry. On the right side of the page you will see a log of entries as they occurred – in that log you can access the first entry by Ehrman which opens the debate. Ehrman’s opening statement is actually a testimony of how the problem of evil was a major factor in his journey from being a devout Christian to becoming a staunch agnostic.



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