The Problem of Good

I am presently reading a few N.T. Wright books in preparation for an online course he is leading. One of these is his new book “Simply Good News” which I am really enjoying. It is an easy read that I highly recommend for anyone. In fact, if you were at Tapestry this past Easter Sunday the message you heard me deliver was heavily influenced by this book.

Anyhow I just read the following section discussing the flip side of the problem of evil in regard to God. Wright wrote:

The problem [of evil] is well known, and we’ve met it already. It’s not simply that, as in the Woody Allen quote, God seems to be a bit of an underachiever (as though he were the CEO of a company that’s not doing as well as its shareholders expected). It is that in this world of beauty and power, of sunsets and starlight, there are multiple layers of violence, bloodshed, and apparently wanton destruction. There are small creatures, rather a lot of them, who live as parasites inside other larger creatures and whose sole raison d’etre appears to be to eat them alive from within. I won’t go on: the problem, as I say, is well known.

In fact, the problem can also work the other way. Theologians have written about the problem of evil, but atheists less regularly about the problem of good. If everything, including my brain and emotions, is the result of random collisions of atoms, why do we find ourselves in such awe and delight at so many things in the world? Can it really all be explained as a legacy of our evolutionary biology? That seems to take reductionism to ridiculous lengths.


I like that. There are things that I have gone through and been through with others that I love and respect that have lead to me asking “Where are you God?” Yet there are so many more moments of beauty and truth that lead to me saying “Wow God!” The “problem” of good speaks of a Creator and reminds me that we are not on our own. I remember this as I am sitting at Emy J’s watching it rain and preparing for Sunday.

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