Jesus and the problem of evil

John G. Stackhouse Jr on how when faced with evil, we should run to Jesus.



It is well with my soul


John G. Stackhouse Jr on how when faced with evil, we should run to Jesus.

John G. Stackhouse Jr tells Simon Smart how, when faced with the problem of evil, he finds the most helpful thing is to run to Christ. 

This is a short segment from a longer interview. To watch the full interview, click here.


JOHN G. STACKHOUSE JR: When I was looking at the problem of evil as my second research program as a younger professor, I found that most of the literature on the subject, even from Christians, was about God and evil – this general, Western, Abrahamic God and the problem of evil. And you can sort of sort out those things to a certain place and with whatever amount of satisfaction you find those arguments to bring you, but I didn’t find it personally very helpful looking at the latest disaster in the news or the latest disappointment in my own life, to then pull out those arguments again and reassure myself that God’s really good, and God’s really got things under control. And I found that Martin Luther, in the 16th century, had powerful advice for us. He said, “Look, God isn’t fully explicable, God’s ways are sometimes quite frightening, and you have to run away from that God and run to Christ.” Which sounds like heresy, it sounds like there’s two Gods – pick the one you like. But orthodox Christianity – and Luther was an orthodox traditional Christian – says that in fact they’re the same God. They look really different: here’s this frowning, thundering, mysterious God; here’s this sweet, kind, gentle Jesus. But if you actually look at Jesus carefully in the gospels, and you see him in the context of the whole Bible, you can be reassured that this kind God is the same God who’s running the world in this mysterious way. And that, to me, that’s huge, that’s really the secret of life.