Boyd, Greg

Greg is a former professor of theology and the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church, an evangelical megachurch in St. Paul, MN. He is also an author and supporter of open theism. Greg has published more than fifteen books including Letters from a Skeptic, God of the Possible, Satan & the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy, and Myth of a Christian Nation. Here is his take on evil. “Evil is the number one objection to theism. When I was an atheist—and I was for some time before I became a believer—evil was my number one objection: how could a world created by an all good, all powerful God be so incredibly screwed up? Now as a theist, the core of my answer has to do with free will. Created agents that have their own, what I call a soul, and they really are free to determine what they do. It’s in the very nature of free will that we can choose good or choose evil. And we sometimes choose evil. But it seems to me that in the Christian tradition there is also a very different answer. It’s the one that I find in scripture; it’s the one that I find pervasive in the early church (up to Augustine). This is how it goes. Human beings aren’t the only free agents in the universe. According to the Bible, and according to most cultures throughout history, there are angelic beings and they also have free will. And just as humans can use their free will to do evil, these angelic beings can do likewise. They have independent ‘say so’ and some of that ‘say so’ can affect creation. From my perspective, the world as we now have it is filled with evil not only because human beings misuse their free will, but also because to some degree it has been adversely affected, polluted, by these angelic powers. Yes, Satan, the devil, and demons. I understand that many people don’t believe that there are principalities and powers and demons. And I realize that I am going out on a limb by introducing them up. On the other hand I don’t see that there is a plausible explanation to the problem of evil unless you appeal to the reality of Satan and his demons. I’m not saying that appealing to Satan explains all of the issues with regard to the problem of evil, but I do think that there is a fundamental dimension of the problem of evil that cannot be adequately addressed any other way. And that has to do with this what we’ve called natural evil. It seems to me that an all powerful, all good God could have conceivably created a world that is free of the natural evils that we have today, the malaria, AIDS, earthquakes, mud slides, and so on. Natural evil is a tremendous problem for the theist. Introducing Satan and demons is not my invention, a sort of ad hoc hypothesis. From the start, Christian tradition has believed in Satan and demons. In the New Testament some of the evil of the world is explained in terms of an adversarial relationship between God and Satan. It’s warfare.”


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Can Religion Be Explained Without God?

Most people believe that God exists and religion is God’™s revelation. But some claim that religion needs nothing supernatural; that religion, without God, can flourish because personal psychology and group sociology drive religion.

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