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Does evil prove the existence of God? Apologist Frank Turek answers

Does evil prove the existence of God? Apologist Frank Turek answers

Frank Turek, author and president of the apologetics website Cross Examined, gave a speech on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at the reTHINK Apologetics Student Conference, held at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen, Texas. | reTHINK Apologetics via screengrab

The existence of evil, while sometimes put forth as evidence against the existence of God, is actually evidence for the existence of God, said Christian apologist Frank Turek.

Turek, author and president of the apologetics website Cross Examined, gave a speech last Saturday at the reTHINK Apologetics Student Conference, held at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen, Texas. 

Turek focused on the existence of evil and suffering, putting forth an argument that some atheist intellectuals have made, which is that evil proves there is no God, for “if there is a good God, why is there evil?”

He replied to his own question by declaring that “evil actually shows God does exist,” because to believe in evil “pre-supposes an objective good and objective good requires God.”

“In other words, evil doesn’t exist on its own. Evil only exists as a lack in a good thing. Evil is like cancer: If you take all the cancer out of a body, you’ve got a better body,” said Turek.

“What happens if you take all the body of the cancer? You got nothing, it doesn’t exist on its own. Evil is like rust in a car. If you take all the rust out of a car, you got a better car. If you take all the car out of the rust, you just got a rough spot on the pavement. There’s nothing there.”

Turek added that “if you’re going to say something’s evil, you’re presupposing something’s good. But something good can only exist in an objective way if God exists.”

“If there is no God, everything is just a matter of opinion, it’s just your opinion against, say, Hitler’s opinion. Or your opinion against some kid who’s bullying your opinion,” he said.

“If there is no God, you can’t say bullying is wrong, you can’t say murder is wrong, you can’t say rape is wrong, you can’t say slavery is wrong, you can’t say anything is really wrong. It's just your opinion that’s wrong.”

Turek then quoted famed Christian author C.S. Lewis, who once wrote: “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

Turek also discussed suffering and how he believed suffering can be spiritually beneficial, saying that “in our fallen state, knowing God and growing in God often requires pain.”

When discussing the issue, Turek surveyed the audience to see how many became Christian because of “pain and suffering,” with several members of the audience raising their hands.

When asking how many of the audience “have gotten closer to Jesus through pain and suffering,” the vast majority of the audience raised their hands.

Alan Shlemon of the apologetics group Stand to Reason, giving remarks at the reTHINK Apologetics Student Conference at Cottonwood Creek Church of Allen, Texas on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. | Screengrab: rethinkapologetics.com

“You need difficulty, because difficulty, suffering creates character,” said Turek, who then briefly addressed the prosperity gospel view advanced by the Word of Faith movement.

“[Word of Faith says,] if you’re not healthy and wealthy it’s because you just don’t have enough faith. That can be refuted by one simple observation: Jesus and the Apostles weren’t healthy and wealthy, don’t tell me they didn’t have enough faith!”

Turek was one of several speakers at the ReTHINK Conference at Cottonwood Creek Church, with others touching on different topics regarding Christian faith and morality.

Last Friday, the first day of the conference, featured remarks by Alan Shlemon, author and speaker with the apologetics group Stand to Reason.

Shlemon laid out the three steps that Christians should use to help guard against false religious ideas, which included reading the Bible, getting advice from older believers, and examining “the consensus of historic Christianity.”

“Chances are, you don’t know the Bible entirely, you don’t have perfect theology, you don’t understand the Christian worldview completely, and guess what? That’s OK. I don’t either. Nobody does,” Shlemon said.

“But what that means is you can and should seek wise counsel. People who might be more biblically mature than you or walked with Jesus longer.”      

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