Why would God allow the evil of addiction?
The question of evil has haunted the hearts and minds of men for centuries. As recovering addicts, we can attest to the fact that addiction is a powerful form of evil that has caused many good men to stumble. It has caused heartache to loved ones who have to watch as the person the knew slowly slips away into oblivion. Real physical and emotional pain stems from the addiction to the partaker, and no matter how genuinely he wants to quit, the substance keeps such a tight grip on him that he can’t walk away.
It has been said that virtue in distress and vice in triumph makes atheists of mankind. So how can a good God allow such travesty as addiction to inflict mankind? The argument goes something like this: If God is all good and all knowing, evil should not exist. Because if he were all good, he wouldn’t have created evil, and if He were all knowing, he would have known evil would happen and would have stopped it. This argument however, makes some big assumptions that can not be overlooked when considering it’s truth.
The first assumption is that of a moral law. Philosophers and Sociologists have spent entire careers trying to disprove this empirically verifiable fact. In this world, we see everything in the light of good and evil. Though we try to chalk this up to societal thought based on our feelings, we see that certain things shine through as evil no matter where you go. The idea of erasing true objective morality based on the subjectivity of human thought is detestable. Even if it were society that decided that murder was wrong, then we must ask the question: why have they decided that murder is wrong? If we decide the rules ourselves, why do we constantly find ourselves breaking them?
If the world we lived in were truly amoral, as naturalistic atheism suggests, we would have no need for recovery. If addiction wasn’t considered among things classified as evil, there would exist no need to stop using. Stealing from Grandma, lying to friends, parents leaving children, all to keep a needle in your arm or a drink in your hand would be reasonable. We know this is not the case. People’s lives are ripped apart by addiction every day and we know without a doubt that that is a bad thing.
Evil exists. If you don’t believe that, ask an addict. Let us consider for a moment darkness. Darkness is not an entity in it’s own right, but is the absence of light. So too is evil the absence of good. When we assume there is evil, it is because we assume there is good. If we make both of these assumptions, we must come to realize that there is indeed a moral law on which to differentiate good from evil. When we assume there is an objective moral law, we must then assume there is an objective moral law giver.
This moral law giver must be the ultimate good. This is because the goodness or rightness of something must relate to His goodness or rightness. Evil by contrast, must be what the Law Giver stands against.
Just because there is a moral law, does that mean we have to jump to a law giver? We can make this jump because the moral law is metaphysical and therefore must come from a logos, a a personal mind. Good and evil are measured by people, to people. It is measured this way because we place value on the life of ourselves and others. Whatever created good and evil has given us this sense of intrinsic worth. Worth not given to us from society, or by any self made means, but given to us based on the love of a Creator. Being made in his likeness, we are the product not of a deistic world where the moral law just exists the same way numbers exists. We are personal beings because we were created by a personal being, and we bear his image. This means what’s good to us is good based on his personality and what is evil is evil based on what is not in his personality.
Evil exists as a byproduct of goodness. There are 4 possible ways the creation of the universe could have gone. He could have created nothing at all. He could have created where there was no such thing as good and evil. He could have created a world where there was only good. Finally, He could have created a world like this one, good must coexist with evil. This coexistence is a consequence of a free will choice He has given us. The ability to choose we have produces the only possible world in which true love is possible The goodness of the capacity for love far exceeds the pain caused by evils such as addiction. Especially when added to the fact that God has created path of escape from the pain and suffering of addiction. He has done this by enduring pain and suffering on our behalf on the cross. Through faith in His sacrifice, we can achieve true recovery from drugs and alcohol. Contrary to what what we may have believed, the reality of the pain and suffering of addiction does not disprove God, but instead it makes a strong case for turning to Him to free us from our chains.