Voddie Baucham Jr on asking the right question about evil


In his chapter in “The supremacy of Christ in a postmodern worldVoddie Buacham Jr gives a brilliant apologetic response to the question of God’s goodness and the existence of evil (follow the link above to find the original audio recording from the Desiring God conference 2006):

Many of the students who want to engage me in conversation are first-semester philosophy students. (As an aside: there ought to be a rule. You should not be able to talk about philosophy unless you’ve had more than a semester of philosophy. If you haven’t had any, that’s fine—you can talk all you want. But if you’ve had only a semester, you are messed up. You’d be better off just not taking a philosophy course at all!) These amateur philosopher-students love to catch me alone and ask me standard questions such as, “I just wanted to ask you if you believe in a God that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, and if so, how do you reconcile those beliefs with the issue of theodicy?” to which I respond, “You just took a semester of philosophy, right?”
“Well, yes. How did you know?”
“Because if you hadn’t, you’d have just said, ‘If God’s so powerful and so good, how come bad stuff happens?’ But I’m not going to answer the question until you ask it correctly.”
“I worked on that all week! What do you mean, ‘ask it correctly’?” “You’re not asking the question properly.”
“What do you mean ask the question properly? It’s my question. You can’t tell me how to ask my question.”
To which I patiently respond, “I will answer your question when you ask it properly.”
When they are ready, I tell them how to ask that question properly:

Look me in my eyes and ask me this: “How on earth can a holy and righteous God know what I did and thought and said yesterday and not kill me in my sleep last night?” Ask it that way, and we can talk. But until you ask it that way, you do not understand the issue. Until you ask the question that way, you believe the problem is out there somewhere. Until you ask the question that way, you believe that there are some individuals who, in and of themselves, deserve something other than the wrath of Almighty God. When you ask me the question that way—when you say, “Why is it that we are here today? Why has he not consumed and devoured each and every one of us? Why? Why, 0 God, does your judgment and your wrath tarry?”—then you truly understand the issue.

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