Every once in a while I get the email with the atheist philosopher who is humiliated by his Christian student when he tries to show that since there is evil in the world there must be no God. The Christian student says that evil is the absence of God and presents a pretty traditional answer that many Christians have given. At the end of the post we are told that this Christian student was Albert Einstein.
First of all, Einstein was not a Christian. Einstein believed in an impersonal god but not the Christian God. Trying to add credibility to an argument by adding some well-known genius to it when that person never really said these things only detracts from the credibility of the argument and leads atheists to believe that Christians are gullible idiots who believe any crazy thing they are sent via email. If you are one of those people who believe that everything that comes to your email box must be true, give me your email address and I will give you a great deal after you send me your bank account and credit card information.
The old evil therefore no God argument is a real argument that atheists use on a pretty frequent basis. The argument presented in opposition to the atheist is just as old as Augustine of Hippo. But is it the best answer? I don't think so. What the student should have asked is, "If there is no God, how can there be evil?" If there is no God there can really be no moral absolutes either. "Evil" is something which can only be defined by my experience. If I kill my neighbor and take all his stuff, that might be evil for the neighbor but good for me. I could even be considered to be doing the human race a favor by getting some of the weak people out of the gene pool. At least Nietzsche owned up to this basic idea in his atheism and opposed morality.
The evil therefore no God argument is really just a projection of the individual atheist. If you got a group of atheists into a room to discuss what is good and what is evil in order to try to figure out the proper way that God should operate if He existed you would never reach a consensus. You would always end up with a couple guys claiming that something is good which other guys in the room are claiming to be evil. What the atheist demands is a god that is created in the individual atheists own image--perhaps absent some of the flaws that he recognizes in himself. In order to satisfy all the atheists you would need a pantheon of different gods for them all and then they would still be arguing that the gods created in the image of the other atheists do not really exist.
But pretend you are a worm for a second and you hear something about these mythical supernatural creatures called human beings. Some of your worm friends believe in them but you are skeptical. The greatest thing that you can conceive of is some giant super-powerful worm and certainly if humans really existed they would not allow you to be eaten by birds. If there is an all-powerful God who created all things, wouldn't the difference between Him and humans be far greater than that between worms and humans? How could we expect Him to behave according to our rules? The only way that we could possibly understand anything about Him would be for Him to tell us about Himself. Even then we are limited. Just try to explain to a worm how a toilet works next time to you see one--you could give them a ride I suppose but their toilet experience would remain far different from yours.
God's ways are not are ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. God did the unthinkable. There's absolutely no possible way you could convince me to become a worm. If a worm were to tick me off, I would have no problem feeding it to my frog. But there's no way that you could convince me to become a worm and have all the worms who hate me place me on a hook and feed me to a fish in order to save those other worms. You can't make stuff like that up. Nobody creates religions as crazy as that. People certainly wouldn't be willing to die for a story like that if they made it up. But that's essentially what happened. We hated God and wanted to kill Him. God did not annihilate us as any reasonable god would do. Instead He loved us and sent His only-begotten Son to earth so that we would kill Him and in exchange receive eternal life in communion with God. Praise be to the Triune God for not acting reasonably.