A Scientific Explanation for Evil

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My apologies for not knowing the origin of this piece. It’s something I came across years ago and have been fascinated by ever since. I know it’s a tad long but it’s SO worth the read! Enjoy =)

“Let me explain the problem science has with religion.”

The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’
‘Yes sir,’ the student says.
‘So you believe in God?’
‘Absolutely ‘
‘Is God good?’
‘Sure! God’s good.’
‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’
‘Yes’
‘Are you good or evil?’
‘The Bible says I’m evil.’
The professor grins knowingly. ‘Aha! The Bible! He considers for a moment. ‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’
‘Yes sir, I would.’
‘So you’re good…!’
‘I wouldn’t say that.’
‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’
The student does not answer, so the professor continues. ‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?’
The student remains silent. ‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. ‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’
‘Er..yes,’ the student says.
‘Is Satan good?’
The student doesn’t hesitate on this one.. ‘No.’
‘Then where does Satan come from?’
The student falters. ‘From God’
‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’
‘Yes, sir.’
‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’
‘Yes’
‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’
Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’
The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes.’
‘So who created them ?’
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’
The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, professor, I do.’
The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’
‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’
‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’
‘No, sir, I have not.’
‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’
‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’
‘Yet you still believe in him?’
‘Yes’
‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist… What do you say to that, son?’
‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my faith.’
‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat? ‘
‘ Yes.
‘And is there such a thing as cold?’
‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’
‘No sir, there isn’t.’
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. ‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’
‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’
‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’
The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’
‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains.. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it. Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’
‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’
‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided. ‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’ The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter. ‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so.. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir. So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’
‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’ Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’
To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’
The professor sat down.

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About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

15 responses to “A Scientific Explanation for Evil

  • tenacious follower

    This was an awesome read and the ending was a great surprise! Wonderful. 🙂

  • Karen Pickering

    Beautifully written. – Thank you.

  • Tom Savage

    fake story. the “professor” is written to appear to be smart in the beginning then portrayed as an utter imbecile as the so called ‘student’ flabbergasts him.

    http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

    • Leah Ness

      Thank you very much for bringing this article to my attention. I had my doubts in the beginning about whether or not Einstein was the actual student but chose to re-post the story in the same form I found it. However, the claim that the student was Einstein is not what fascinated me about the story, but rather the logical manner in which the argument is presented. As to the professor seeming intelligent in the beginning and an imbecile at the end, many peoples’ well constructed arguments have fallen apart when challenged in an unexpected way. I’ve removed the reference to Einstein being the student, but the story itself still holds true to me. Thanks for reading and commenting as well as for the fact check =)

      • Tom Savage

        well constructed arguments can fall apart when faced with well reasoned counter arguments, but that is not the case in this story. in this story, the professor becomes stupid when answering the questions of the mystery student, starting with the heat/cold argument.

        a real professor using a well reasoned argument might have pointed out for example, that ‘heat’ and ‘cold’ are just abstract quantifiers representing states of molecular energy.
        a similar kind of argument can be used to describe darkness and light.

        the real clincher comes later when our hapless ‘professor’ is maneuvered into admitting that there is ‘faith’ involved in science. it’s an unrealistic story that comes across as a craftily written propaganda piece.

      • Leah Ness

        It is true that the story is written from the Christian perspective and is, therefore, biased in favor of Christianity. Much like many scientific papers, and to a degree the Einstein article, are biased against Christianity. The fact remains, though, that neither you nor I were present at the creation of the world, whether it and everything in it were made by an all powerful, all loving God, or a freak accident of chance. Though most scientists will claim there isn’t enough evidence to prove the existence of God, neither is there enough evidence to prove conclusively the Theory of Evolution, which is why it is only a theory. In the end, it all boils down to faith, either in God or in a speck of dust in an otherwise empty vacuum that inexplicably exploded. Neither happening can be proved or disproved. I chose to believe in God, while you are more than entitled to your own opinion. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on the story =)

  • Amber “Cap'n Stormy Swashbuckler” Petchey

    “It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one”… erm…

    “no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work” …. oh dear…
    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2008/04/080421-lizard-evolution.html
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/130201_flu

    “science says you have no brain”… well, about that…
    http://www.webmd.com/brain/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri-of-the-head
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurosurgery

    Summary: this story is cute, but flawed.

  • Amber “Cap'n Stormy Swashbuckler” Petchey

    Also, “theory” of evolution – just like the “theory” of gravity. 😉

    • Leah Ness

      Thanks for reading and commenting, as well as for the research. I know there will always be a disagreement between people who try to use science to prove God’s existence and people who try to use it to disprove Him. The story itself naturally has some flaws because it was written by a human trying in their own strength to prove a point. But God can’t be proved, neither can He be disproved. The thing is though, He’s God. He doesn’t need to us to believe in Him for Him to be Who He is. As I said to another commenter, it all boils down to faith and what/who you choose to believe in. In the end, God will be the One on the throne. Thanks again for the comments and for stopping by =)

  • Ben

    “Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart.”

    Yeah. Well, then who is it declaring that someone really has” God’s love present in his heart”? It can’t be faith, as faith and religion are the predominantely reasons for war and disgusting cultural habits.

    Sorry, has to be said.

    • Leah Ness

      Oh no, please don’t say sorry, it’s a good question. It’s very true that many despicable acts have been committed in the name of faith and religion. But Christianity was never meant to be a religion, it is supposed to be a relationship. I love Jesus with all my heart and I do a lot of things that ‘good Christians’ are supposed to do (read my Bible, pray, serve at church, etc), but I do not consider myself religious by any means. People who are religious are missing the point. As for who gets to decide whether a person has God’s love in their heart, well, unfortunately we will all be judged by our peers to some extent, that’s unavoidable because we are all flawed humans (myself very much included though I’m working on it every day). On the practical side, ‘evil’ action will be judged and punished according to the law of the land. Ultimately though, God will make the final decision and in the end it will be between that person and Him. Thanks for reading and for the thought provoking question =)

  • setyourpathsstraight

    Reblogged this on set your paths straight and commented:
    Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen…. Hebrews 11:1

    I came across this article tonight written by Leah Ness. Such a fine exposition of logic in an irreligious world…print it off, make copies and give it to every one you can think of….and help them start thinking too. Thanks Leah. This is a keeper.

    • Leah Ness

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it and that you’re passing it on. I can’t take credit for writing it though; I read it years ago and unfortunately don’t know who should get the writing credit. I agree with you that it is a keeper =) Thanks for reading and for the kind and encouraging comment!

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