Jay Adams on reconciling God and evil.
Simply this: God controls all things, even the existence and activity of evil.
We must remove the word “allows” when speaking of God and evil. He doesn’t merely allow evil to occur. If so, there would be another power, or force, in the universe as great as (or nearly so) as God. It is a force wanting to express itself in various evil ways, but must seek permission from God to do so. So when evil occurs, God has given way to this force and allows it to have its way .
But God is in control of all things. What does that really mean? Think about it—who is the force that determines if and when evil occurs-for His own purposes? There is no second god-like force; He is the sole force in the universe. All evil is according to His determinate purposes—always for some good purpose. God doesn’t allow evil; He has planned all good and evil. Actually, all the “evil” we talk about today is actually a good that we shall someday see to be such. God doesn’t allow it—He foreordains it.
(Via Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog)
Another quote from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis:
What can you ever really know of other people’s souls—of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands. If there is a God, you are, in a sense, alone with Him. You cannot put Him off with speculations about your next door neighbours or memories of what you have read in books. What will all that chatter and hearsay count (will you even be able to remember it?) when the anaesthetic fog which we call ‘nature’ or ‘the real world’ fades away and the Presence in which you have always stood becomes palpable, immediate, and unavoidable?(pp. 216-217).
I look forward to the “anaesthetic fog” lifting.
In Mere Christianity, Lewis warns about over simplifying Christianity (something some people who call themselves Christians sometimes do) and the straw man that Atheists often build from this.
Very well then, atheism is too simple. And I will tell you another view that is also too simple. It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right—leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption. Both these are boys’ philosophies.
C. S. Lewis’ 1938 Sci-Fi novel Out of the Silent Planet chronicles the voyage of three men, two of whom are partnering for their own reasons and a lone philologist on a walking tour who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and won’t be missed if he disappears. Weston and Devine drug Ransom (the philologist) and take him to the planet of Malacandra (which turns out to be Mars). Weston and Devine have been there before, and were asked them to bring back another person with them as (they believe) a sacrificial offering. Their belief that the Malacandrians are unsophisticated savages and that humanity represents the most highly advanced civilization in existence makes them willing to sacrifice Ransom for the greater benefit to come from Malacandra.
C. S. Lewis traces his conversion story through his autobiography “Surprised by Joy” from his early childhood through to his conversion to Christ as an adult. As the story unfolds, he traces the “aesthetic experience” of “joy” as an experience that “was valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer.”
Early in his life, he speaks of a “religious experience”, which is followed by his becoming an “effective believer”, by which he means he “heard the doctrines of Christianity…” and “had no skepticism”. This resulted in a fear for his soul to the effect that he “began seriously to pray and read [his] bible and to attempt to obey [his] conscience.” At this stage, Lewis’s faith is a simple faith, which does not understand how to comprehend and consider the world. Furthermore, it seems it bore a fear of God, but not an explicit understanding of his own sin and in this sense, he did not feel a sense of personal responsibility before God, which comes much later.