If you want to save your time, the conclusion is, “Evil is not good, but it is good to have evil.”

John MacArthur writes:

“It is helpful, I think, to understand that sin is not itself a thing created. Sin is neither substance, being, spirit, nor matter. So it is technically not proper to think of sin as something that was created. Sin is simply alack of moral perfection in a fallen creature.”

The problem with this reasoning is that it can be easily reversed (i.e. righteousness is neither substance, being spirit, nor matter so it is not created and is simply a lack of sin in an upright creature.) Being that two contradicting things cannot be true, neither the preceding positive nor negative statement can be true either. Further, it is not a rationale offered in Scripture.

We get into “problems” when we delve into the hidden things of God. A friend told me that Romans 1 says that we can extrapolate things about God’s nature by looking at the creation.

Surely, in Romans 1, man is without excuse because he can ascertain that God is out there and that righteousness can be expected from man. However, nature does not permit us to draw every conclusion there is about God. If this were true, we wouldn’t need revealed truth. So, the origins of evil can very well be one of those things.

Further, we have in Scripture an abundance of indications that God uses evil for good. It appears to be an essential ingredient, so none would disagree that God’s name can be magnified more so if it were not for the sovereign purposes God has for evil in the world for its short time of existence. This is why R.C. Sproul says, “Evil is not good, but it is good to have evil.”

Lastly, I think all of this problem is with us and not with God. We are making an incorrect assertion and applying it onto God. This assertion, that something that is created reflects upon the creator, would not hold water in any other situation. So, I find the “existence of evil” as a trivial argument against an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent God. Because, it’s existence logically cannot impugn that God any more than yuckyness of baking soda impugns the character of the baker.

For all of church history, from Irenaeus to the present day, orthodox Christians have tried tackling Epicurus’ “Problem of Evil.” I just never viewed it as a problem. I think the danger comes into buying into the religion of Epicurus, because the Scripture never confronts the notion nor is it bothered by it.