The problem of evil - one of the most persistent objections to God’s existence and one of the most debated topics within the Church - continues to be explored. How can a loving, omnipotent God allow so much evil and suffering in the world? Throughout the ages, theologians and philosophers have attempted to provide answers to these questions. At the founding of Roberta Winter Institute (RWI) in 2001, Dr. Ralph D. Winter passionately committed himself to the cause of “bring[ing] glory to God by ending our apparently neoplatonist truce with Satan in the realm of all his ingenious and destructive work” and “rectify[ing] our understanding of a God who is not the author of the destructive violence in nature and who has long sought our help in bringing His kingdom and His will on earth” (2008:177). Dr. Winter was not only concerned with the theological response, but also a practical one: Who is the author of disease pathogen, God or Satan? Are we called to eradicate diseases?
This current issue is based on the Ralph D. Winter Annual Lectureship held on campus in April, 2013, which focused on “The Problem of Evil.” The keynote speaker was Gregory A. Boyd, a prominent Christian scholar who has proliferated a number of books dealing with topics concerning the problems of evil and spiritual warfare, including God at War (1997), a book that was much appreciated by Dr. Winter. This year’s lectureship was co-sponsored by RWI. The RWI, on its website, “seeks to mobilize believers to discover and address the origins of disease, thereby destroying the works of the devil and glorifying God.” You will be able to enjoy, in video format, some key sections of the lectureship presentation by Boyd and panel discussion with Charles Kraft, Brad Cole, and Brian Lowther. At the same time, this issue seeks to expand perspectives on the topic, to include studies from other biblical scholars, medical professionals, cross-cultural practitioners, WCIU faculty and students:
“What is the Ancient Near Eastern Combat Myth and What Difference Does it Make?” by Joel Hamme.
“Where Darwin Scores Higher than Intelligent Design,” by Ralph D. Winter (reprinted with permission from IJFM)
“The Big Picture of Scripture,” by Beth Snodderly (originally published in The Goal of International Development, WCIU Press, 2011).
“Scary God or Scary People?” by Brad Cole (used with permission from the author).
“Plagues, Priests and Demons: A Critical Book Review,” by Steven Youngren.
“From Historical Drift to Necessary Return: A Book Review (从历史的漂移到必然的回归——书评),” by Norman Soo.
You can download the full issue here or click one of the links above to read each article individually.
I invite you to join the dialogue, discussion, and debate through commenting on the articles and blog postings, and sharing insights to your own social networks.
Ralph D. Winter. 2008. “Roberta Winter Institute.” In Frontiers in Mission, 177-80. Pasadena, CA: WCIU Press.