Defeating Evil

Defeating Evil

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Revised, adapted, and condensed for a broader audience, this companion edition to Scott Christensen’s lauded What about Evil? shows how sin, evil, corruption, and death fit into redemptive history. Exploring the storyline of Scripture and addressing practical concerns, Christensen shows that God’s ultimate end in creation is to maximize his glory before his image-bearers by defeating evil through Christ’s atoning work.


“The problem of evil is widely considered the hardest of all theological conundrums: If God is omnipotent, sovereign, and good, why does evil exist? Where did it come from? Why does it persist, if a benevolent God has the power to eliminate it? Scripture is full of truths that shed light on those questions, and Scott Christensen skillfully brings them together in this helpful, insightful, and ultimately satisfying analysis. As a matter of fact, the ultimate biblical answer to the problem of evil is condensed and implied in this book’s title and subtitle: Defeating Evil: How God Glorifies Himself in a Dark World. I don’t know of a better or more readable unfolding of that truth than Scott’s excellent, well-written work.”

—John MacArthur, Pastor-Teacher, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California; Chancellor Emeritus, The Master’s University and Seminary

“Scott Christensen has done it again! Following on the heels of his longer, groundbreaking book on the difficult challenge of the problem of evil, What about Evil?, Christensen has provided a more accessible version of it in Defeating Evil. What thrills me about the publication of this new book is that more people will be able to read it. Christensen provides some of the best biblical and theological thinking on why God has allowed sin and evil to exist in his good world; for those who may not have time to read the longer work, this shorter version is precisely what is needed. The only satisfying answer to the problem of evil from a biblical viewpoint is the ‘greater-glory theodicy’ viewed in terms of the glory of our triune God in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a day when sound biblical and theological answers to the problem of evil are wanting, this book fills a huge need. I pray that it will have a wide readership so that the church will be grounded in the truth of God’s Word and thus have faithful answers to one of the most difficult questions of Christian theology.”

—Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; editor, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology

“As we experience pain and evil in our sin-cursed world, we are often tempted to cry with Asaph, ‘But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked’ (Ps. 73:2–3). How can we reconcile the biblical teaching that God is all-powerful and good with what appears to be increasingly growing wickedness around us? In Defeating Evil, Scott Christensen helpfully answers the age-old problem of evil from Scripture. This book is readable, engaging, devotional, and uplifting for any Christian who needs to find hope in God in the midst of the darkness of this world.”

—Scott Aniol, Executive Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, G3 Ministries; Professor, Pastoral Theology, Grace Bible Theological Seminary; author, Musing on God’s Music and Citizens and Exiles

“Christians have responded to the problem of evil and suffering in various ways. Some attempt to play down the horrors of the world. Some appeal to human free will to get God ‘off the hook’ for the evils of history. Some diminish God’s power in other ways, arguing that although God wants to prevent all evil, his hands are somehow tied. Some simply try to change the subject and to shame those who raise it. Scott Christensen, to his great credit, takes none of these paths. He portrays the terrible evils of the world without varnish and tackles the problem honestly and rigorously with God’s Word as his guide, expounding and defending the ‘greater-glory theodicy’ woven into the grand story of a sovereign Creator and his redemptive plan for the world. This book will not take the sting out of suffering—no book can do that—but it dispels the shadows of confusion with the light of Scripture and casts a vision of God’s good purposes in our suffering that will evoke praise and thanksgiving.”

—James N. Anderson, Carl W. McMurray Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte

“Christensen tackles what is perhaps the most difficult question for Christian theology—the problem of evil. No one can answer every question, as Christensen himself admits. Still, the book is a faithful and learned study on the whole matter, reflecting careful research and scholarship. Here we find a combination that is quite rare: the book is biblically grounded, theologically perceptive, and philosophically astute. Explaining evil in the context of the storyline of the Scriptures is particularly helpful.”

—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Scott Christensen has done it again! He has fashioned an insightful theodicy from the Reformed theological tradition. At once captivating and often soaring, the writing draws the reader into biblical and theological profundities. If you’ve wrestled with the problem of evil, this book will calm your anxieties. By pointing us to the deepest mysteries of God’s glory, Christensen helps us make sense of the painful realities of evil. Here you will find gospel medicine and theological balm for the soul.”

—Hans Madueme, Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College

“A wonderful and accessible treatment of the so-called problem of evil. You will find your heart stirred to worship as you see how God glorifies his own name through every single event of history.”

—Grant Castleberry, Senior Pastor, Capital Community Church, Raleigh, North Carolina; President, Unashamed Truth Ministries (

“The theological issue that towers above all the rest is the problem of sin and evil, or what theologians refer to as theodicy. Since God is holy and just, and by nature can do only what is right, where did sin and evil come from? Since God is the ultimate cause of all things, why isn’t God culpable for the existence of sin and evil? How do we answer the skeptic who mockingly asks, ‘How can God be good with so much evil in the world?’ Scott Christensen, in his book Defeating Evil: How God Glorifies Himself in a Dark World, goes toe-to-toe with theodicy—for example, David’s facing off with Goliath. Christensen doesn’t shy away from looking at the horrific evils in our world. He boldly asks the hard questions and tests the various approaches to the problem of sin and evil in the crucible of Scripture. With clarity, simplicity, and a devotional flair anchored in the Word of God, Christensen’s Defeating Evil shows us how and why God uses sin and evil for his greater glory. Defeating Evil is not a ponderous tome of mind-numbing theological jargon, but is well within the reach of the average Christian. Read it, and I am confident that you will be blessed!”

—Jack Hughes, Pastor-Teacher, Anchor Bible Church, Louisville, Kentucky; author, Expository Preaching with Word Pictures

“Scott Christensen’s previous book What about Evil? was a robust work that demanded a lot from—but also provided ample rewards for—the reader. This new book might be a little less demanding, but the rewards are there for those who wish to come to grips with the problem of evil in this fallen world. There are many highlights in this book, but what strikes me most is the emphasis on Christ not as a solution, but as the solution to the problem of evil. This is a book that confronts you not only with some strong arguments, but also with the Savior, who alone can solve the problem of evil.”

—Mark Jones, Senior Minister, Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church (PCA); Research Associate, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa; coauthor, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life

“Having served with Pastor Scott at our church since late 2019, I was one of those people he mentions in the preface who asked (begged, actually) that he consider writing a condensed version of What about Evil? I’m so thankful he did. This new work will move the discussion from pastors, elders, and seminary professors to the pew, the home group, and the small group. He has done the entire body of Christ a great service with a second book on this most weighty of subjects. Because sin is everywhere we look, because everyone will eventually be hurt and affected by evil, it is not hyperbolic to say that every Christian needs to read this book and to search the Scriptures to see whether these things are true. I believe wholeheartedly that they are true and that every believer can benefit deeply, mind and spirit, from the contents of Defeating Evil.”

—Chris McKnight, Lead Pastor, Kerrville Bible Church, Kerrville, Texas

“A few years ago, Scott Christensen penned perhaps the greatest theological treatise written on theodicy in this generation. His exhaustive masterpiece, What about Evil?, expertly made the case for the greater-glory theodicy—the view that God superintends all things, good and bad, in accordance with the demonstration of his divine glory. Scott proves this position through the exposition of Scripture, an assiduous examination of historical writings, and an evaluation of the philosophy and implications of the doctrine. The only unfortunate aspect of his book is that its size (nearly six hundred pages) is too dense for most readers. But I’m overjoyed to recommend Scott’s skillful abridgment of his thesis in this new work, Defeating Evil. Not only does this book help answer one of the most difficult questions posed to Christianity—how can a good God allow evil in the world?—but it also serves as a devotional exercise that puts the glory of God on display. Personally, it ministered to my own soul! I continue to be thankful for Scott Christensen’s heavy-lifting ministry to the church. May God receive the greatest glory through the life of this amazing book.”

—Nate Pickowicz, Teaching Pastor, Harvest Bible Church, Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire; author, Better than Life: Beholding the Kindness of God in a Cruel World

“Evil stares us all in the face. No one can escape it, try as we might. In this illuminating and readable work, Scott Christensen stares right back at evil. His excellent text points us to the wisdom of God, the folly of man, and the wonder of the cross. At Calvary, Jesus suffered from evil, took on evil, destroyed the power of evil as the object of the Father’s just wrath, and secured our ultimate release from evil. Jesus the Warrior-Savior is truly the answer that unlocks the problem of evil. This truth sings in these pages, lifting our troubled hearts and minds to God.”

—Owen Strachan, Author, The Warrior Savior; Provost, Grace Bible Theological Seminary

“The problem of evil maintains its long-held place as the number-one objection to theism in general and Christian theism in particular. Many Christian attempts to address the problem are philosophically driven but biblically and pastorally weak, biblically rich but philosophically and pastorally shallow, or pastorally savvy yet philosophically and biblically misguided. In Defeating Evil, Scott Christensen offers us a ‘greater-glory theodicy’—a rare and compelling trifecta of a biblically profound, philosophically deep, and pastorally uplifting answer to the problem of evil. But best of all, Christensen offers us an answer centered on Christ—God’s ultimate solution to evil.”

—Thaddeus Williams, Professor of Theology, Biola University and Talbot School of Theology; author, God Reforms Hearts: Rethinking Free Will and The Problem of Evil

“I don’t know of a better place to begin an exploration of ‘the problem of evil’ than this book. It is precise in its articulation of the problem and of the related biblical teaching, it is robustly informed theologically, it is marvelously Christ-gospel-focused, and it is warmly refreshing to the soul.”

—Fred G. Zaspel, Pastor, Reformed Baptist Church, Franconia, Pennsylvania; Adjunct Professor, Systematic Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Executive Editor, Books At a Glance; author, The Theology of B. B. Warfield


The Author

Scott Christensen

Scott Christensen (MDiv, The Master's Seminary) is the author of What about Free Will? He worked for nine years at the award-winning CCY Architects in Aspen, Colorado: several of his home designs were featured in Architectural Digest magazine. Called out of this work to the ministry, he graduated with honors from seminary and now serves as the associate pastor of Kerrville Bible Church in Kerrville, Texas.

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