You know what? I don't very often agree with ardent fundamentalist and Biblical Creation apologist Ken Ham, but I do like the way he laid the matter out recently on his blog. In a post titled Wearing Biblical Glasses, Ham wrote:
We all wear glasses! In fact, there are only two kinds of glasses in an ultimate sense. We either wear God’s glasses or man’s glasses. As explained in the “Starting Points” room at the Creation Museum, there are only two starting points for our worldviews: one either starts with God’s Word or man’s word. Ultimately, there are only two religions in the world: one is based on God’s Word (the Bible), and the other is based on man’s word.
Where he and I part company is that he wears Biblical glasses and I wear human glasses, subscribing to critical, logical thinking combined with the scientific method as the best way to understand the universe.
Back in my fundamentalist Christian days, when I thought the way Ken Ham does, I would not have tried to reason about the universe as so many theologians (and would-be theologians) attempt to do. There would have been no reason to do that. Biblical glasses, or the position of religious faith, would have been antithetical to that.
I believe that is the point of Ham's Creation Museum and its "Starting Points." Unless you are wearing Biblical Glasses, much of what follows will make little sense. And if you indeed are wearing those glasses, anything "ungodly" science might have to say on the subject is totally irrelevant. If God said it, it must be true. The scientists are going only as far as human reason can take them, and the Bible believer will tell them that isn't very far.
God created the universe ex nihilo, fashioning the heavens and the earth, creating life on earth, including animals and humans, in six days and then resting on the seventh. That's what the Book says: accept it by faith.
I know, I know. Modern Christian theologians are assuring us that science and theology do not really conflict. But that is a position that is arrived at by introducing human reason into the picture. I call liberal theology a halfway house, and I think it is. It isn't fully faith and it isn't fully reason. It is a mixture of both, and for that reason is like oil and water: stop shaking the flask and the two will then separate quite nicely into the separate ingredients that they are.
Leaving that subject now, I have argued here at my blog that the problem of evil is an insurmountable obstacle to a reasonable view of an omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent Theistic God. A good God would not knowingly allow evil, and an all-powerful God would be able to prevent such evil. That is the reasonable human way of looking at the matter.
Again, some aren't content to stick with their Biblical glasses - showing, I believe, a distinct lack of faith - but instead have attempted to install a human reason bifocal into their glasses. And the vision those glasses produce is quite distorted and nonsensical.
As for the Biblical answer to why God permits evil, it is simple and straightforward: Just because. Accept it by faith and don't question it.
If you read the book of Job you see that the book's protagonist attempts with help from family and friends to reason their way through the problem of evil. Basically it's the same things we hear from today's rationalizers. I guess, to quote Qoheleth, "there is nothing new under son."
God goes into some long detail explaining his credentials and explaining just how inappropriate it is for humans to question him: "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?" (Job 40:2). For three chapters (Job 38-40) God drones on about how great he is and sums it up with: "He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride" (Job 41:34.) Okay, there it is: The king can do as he damn well pleases with his subjects.
When you get into the New Testament you find the same answer. The Apostle Paul gave one of the most mind-blowing theological essays imaginable in his missive to the Romans.
When he gets around to addressing God dealings with his creatures, he bluntly tells us:
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:14,15).
Okay. Blessed be the faith that allows so many to accept what makes no sense at all from a purely human standpoint!
But Paul isn't finished. He goes on:
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? (Romans 9:19-22.)
Well, there you go. According to Biblical theology, God does what he wants for his own purpose, just as the Calvinists tell us, and we have no right to question it. Accept it by faith.
Or you can try on my human glasses if you'd like.