The Creator Revealed

Good Creation and Natural Evil

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: TCR

Program Code: TCR180009B

00:03 Welcome back to the Creator Revealed.
00:06 Today we've been talking about natural evil
00:10 and we're going to plumb the depths of that
00:13 just a little more with the special guest.
00:15 It's a pretty deep topic. Yes.
00:17 The guest that we're going to speak
00:19 with is Dr. Ronny Nalin.
00:21 Dr. Nalin is my colleague.
00:23 In fact, his office is right next to mine
00:25 at the Geoscience Research Institute.
00:28 His PhD is in geology.
00:30 But he has done a lot of thinking
00:33 about what we call the problem of evil
00:37 because as you know,
00:39 at the Geoscience Research Institute,
00:40 we are interested in this relationship
00:43 between science and faith.
00:46 So I'm delighted to have Dr. Nalin here with us.
00:50 And I want to start out by actually asking the question
00:56 that bothers me and I'm guessing
00:59 most other people which is,
01:01 okay, we know that according to the Bible,
01:05 death and suffering entered the world
01:07 because of man's sin.
01:10 But just because Adam sinned, why should animals suffer.
01:16 You know, I talked about my dog.
01:18 Why did my dog have to die because Adam chose to sin?
01:24 And that's a good question, Tim.
01:26 And it's a question that I think goes even beyond
01:31 the realm of the animals or other living beings.
01:35 It seems that there are imbalances
01:37 in the earth as a whole,
01:38 we experience events that are very troublesome
01:43 because they can bring that.
01:45 We could say that the whole system here on earth
01:49 brings pain and there are events
01:52 that are very hazardous
01:54 so it even goes beyond sickness or disease.
01:57 It is a dangerous world.
01:59 Why is it that our world should become dangerous
02:03 because of our mistakes?
02:05 And I think my way of reading these
02:07 is to see the system as an integrated system.
02:13 There are many different components
02:15 that are linked together.
02:16 And we are part of this system.
02:19 In fact, in Genesis it is said that,
02:22 "We were given dominion over this system."
02:25 And dominion means that we have a very intense relationship
02:29 with the rest of the creation.
02:31 So by our own choices,
02:33 we can affect the rest of the creation,
02:35 which is quite a humbling thought
02:37 if you think about it.
02:40 Think that you, your choices can have an effect
02:45 on what occurs in the world around us
02:47 and I think this is still true.
02:49 You know, in my area of study, which is in biology,
02:55 certainly this is something
02:56 that we spend a lot of time thinking about,
02:59 the impact that human beings have directly
03:03 on the rest of the creation is something
03:04 that we do have at least some limited control over.
03:08 And so when you referred to it being a dangerous world,
03:13 you're a geologist.
03:14 So what would be some examples of the danger out there?
03:17 I'm thinking of earthquakes but...
03:22 Yeah, I mean the classic ones are earthquakes,
03:25 volcanic activity,
03:27 and obviously also climate related events,
03:31 so hurricanes or floodings.
03:34 Floodings are actually one of the most dangerous.
03:38 So one could say, at this scale how can human decision
03:43 impact these kind of events?
03:45 And I would agree with those who are a little skeptical,
03:48 there are some aspects
03:50 that where we do have incredible effects.
03:55 For example, flooding can be the result of mismanagement
04:00 of water resources.
04:03 But when it comes to earthquakes,
04:05 for example, well, there are some earthquakes
04:07 that can be generated by activities of humans.
04:13 There's some link that has been established
04:15 with fracking and some earthquakes.
04:19 But in general, earthquakes are related
04:22 to the motion of plate.
04:24 So it's not like we can move the crust of the earth
04:28 or have an effect at that scale.
04:30 So the discussion then becomes at a greater level.
04:33 we start to think, why is it that God
04:37 allows for these things to occur?
04:39 Why did God allow...
04:41 Why do we call them acts of God when they happen?
04:45 Yeah, it means that in some ways,
04:48 God warrants the possibility for the system
04:52 to be in this way.
04:54 And so I do believe that we find also in the Bible
04:59 some facts that point in that direction by saying,
05:01 for example, that the sun rises on the evil
05:05 and the good or that God
05:07 sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous,
05:09 what does that mean?
05:10 It means that
05:11 God maintains the integrity of a sinful world.
05:15 So these things can happen.
05:17 And God in a sense, allows them to happen,
05:20 not that he is the source of them necessarily.
05:23 But why would he allow for a space
05:26 to exist where these things can happen,
05:28 and this for me can only be explained
05:31 if we put it in the context of this great cosmic conflict
05:35 between good and evil,
05:37 where God has to allow for sin to express itself.
05:42 Sin has to be expressed in a physical space.
05:46 If there is no physical space, if there's no possibility,
05:50 or humans to bring their choices
05:53 to their conclusions
05:55 are the consequences of their choices,
05:56 then you wouldn't see the meaning of what sin is
06:01 in the very end.
06:03 So what you're saying basically is if we didn't see
06:08 the natural consequences of sin actually play themselves out.
06:11 Why would we believe it was bad?
06:14 Why would it be evil?
06:16 You know, if sin had absolutely no consequences.
06:20 And we still have these difficulties
06:23 in our everyday life.
06:24 It's hard to understand what is good and what is evil.
06:28 It's very hard.
06:30 You know, one of the things that I really struggle with
06:33 is this business of blessings falling on the good
06:37 and on the evil.
06:39 But also that the consequences of evil
06:43 falling on the good people as well,
06:46 because it's so intrinsic to our nature
06:51 to say that is unjust.
06:53 Those who are righteous should not have to suffer.
06:58 But that is the nature of evil. Yeah.
07:01 So.
07:03 Yeah, I think that is also one of the reason
07:06 why I love the biblical narrative, why?
07:11 Because the Bible is trying to tell us,
07:13 God does not look and does not like evil.
07:17 God is for good.
07:19 And so what we experienced today is an anomaly.
07:22 So the biblical narrative
07:23 is not a narrative of progressive growth
07:26 and, you know, finding their way
07:30 through the hardness of life
07:32 and think God started things this way
07:35 because it was the only possible way.
07:37 So evil, well, it doesn't mean towards a good end,
07:41 so evil becomes the instrument that God uses to bring about
07:46 new possibilities and ultimately goodness,
07:49 that's not the biblical story.
07:51 The biblical story starts with something very good
07:55 and then all.
07:57 So for me the concept of a foe from a good creation
08:00 is very crucial because then I can side
08:03 on God's side and say, yes indeed
08:06 what I am seeing today, what I am experiencing today
08:09 is not part of God's original plan.
08:12 Is not how He designed the creation,
08:14 is not the way in which He wants us to live.
08:17 You know, when I think about it,
08:19 the way I think about it,
08:20 Ronny, is that when God created everything,
08:23 it was very good.
08:24 And he wanted to when he gave dominion to mankind,
08:29 it was to be exercised in covenantal love.
08:34 So when the fall happened, it wasn't just a moral fall,
08:38 it was a governmental fall,
08:40 because He passed it over to whom?
08:44 It was like a coup d'├ętat.
08:45 Yeah, He handed the keys basically to Satan.
08:48 So that's the ruler of the error
08:51 depends on the error.
08:52 You know what else, Ronny,
08:54 that what you were saying really brought to mind
08:57 our discussion in another episode of theistic evolution,
09:00 where people are saying, hey, this suffering,
09:04 this death, this struggle, that is the plan
09:08 and it's interesting how the Bible sort of points
09:14 in precisely the opposite direction...
09:17 That's the consequence. When it comes to that.
09:20 Yeah, some critics say well, you still have to explain
09:24 why God allows for all these evil to exist
09:27 after the fall,
09:28 couldn't He shorten this or couldn't He intervene
09:31 to mitigate some of these consequences.
09:33 So still there is an argument there.
09:35 But what I think is the crucial difference is that,
09:39 it is not the way that God has designed
09:43 for the creation to be.
09:46 That's the key difference.
09:47 God has not decided to make the world in this way.
09:52 The model that we adopt is a model
09:54 where that is not part of the picture.
09:57 It came in later.
09:59 Well, in addition to that, what I love about it
10:01 is that the plan of salvation was also in place
10:05 at the foundation of the world that was there.
10:09 So God doesn't prevent us from doing evil
10:12 so then we don't have freedom of choice.
10:15 God provides that freedom of choice.
10:18 We exercise it,
10:20 but God has chosen to redeem us anyway.
10:24 He has a plan. Yes.
10:25 And time didn't exist before He created the earth.
10:28 And when we think about it, the Bible says
10:31 that a day is like 1,000 years
10:33 or 1,000 years is like a day to the Lord.
10:36 So it may seem long for us, but to God,
10:40 it's just kind of, it's a very short time
10:43 but we have to see it work out so that we know Nahum...
10:50 What is it, Nahum 1:9 says that,
10:52 "Evil will never rise again."
10:54 By the time we see
10:56 what the consequences of evil are.
10:58 We've done the experiment. We've done the experiment.
11:00 We'll see the outcome.
11:01 There is this concept of conflict
11:04 that is very important for me.
11:06 This concept of resistance sort of a battle
11:11 and it's important
11:13 because we can choose to be on God's side.
11:16 And we feel He is on our side, He is not on the against us,
11:20 He is not going after us, He is not punishing us,
11:22 He is active in the creation or good
11:25 and, you know, what I like about this concept
11:27 that it has very practical implications.
11:30 Today, even in a fallen world we can choose
11:34 when it comes to natural evil, which side we want to be on.
11:38 In fact, even a geologist can work to mitigate hazards.
11:44 Natural hazards are not random. They are not mysterious.
11:49 These things occur for very specific reasons
11:52 in very specific places and we can study them,
11:55 we can try to understand them better,
11:57 and in so doing I think we are siding with God
12:01 in trying to be the instruments,
12:03 the hands that bring about some goodness
12:06 into this fallen world.
12:07 And certainly siding with God is the way that we want to go.
12:11 I want to thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Nalin.
12:15 And well, you know, the interesting thing to me
12:19 is even with all of this evil that we do see in the world,
12:25 even with all of that,
12:27 there is hope that the Bible gives
12:30 we are not alone.
12:32 We're not without hope.
12:34 We have this plan of salvation.
12:38 Yes, evil exists now.
12:41 But yes, we have a firm hope
12:43 in what God will do in the future.
12:47 Amen, and God's going to create a new heaven and a new earth,
12:50 where there will be no more pain or sorrow.
12:53 Join us next time.


Revised 2019-04-15