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Why Does a Good God Allow Evil?
I don’t get it.
You don’t get what?
1) God is all powerful.
I can match any two. But I can’t match all three.
What do you mean? Explain.
Well, let’s suppose that God is good but not all-powerful. Things have gotten out of hand, way beyond His control. He’d like to fix it, but He can’t.
Oh, but the Bible says that God is all-powerful. It says that nothing is impossible with Him, and that if He so desired, He could judge all wrong and instantly abolish all evil.
Well then, suppose that God is all-powerful but just not good. Suppose that He’s like a cat with a mouse, that He actually sometimes even enjoys watching us squirm and squeal. What if God is masochistic?
But the Bible says that God is good. It says that He is love, and that in His love He wants only what is good for us.
So that’s why I don’t get it. If God wants what is good, and God is able to make things good, why doesn’t He? It’s an impossible three-piece puzzle.
Well, not impossible. But very tough. In fact, you’re asking the question that is asked more often than any other question about Christianity-why does God allow evil?
Well, you haven’t answered it! Why do bad things happen? Why are babies born with AIDS? Why do missionaries die of cancer? Why are innocent people killed in hurricanes and famines and accidents?
Because the world is temporarily out of order.
What do you mean? Now it’s your turn to explain.
Okay. When God created this world it was all good, i.e. Genesis 1-3. And according to Scripture, one day it’s going to be all good once again, i.e. Revelation 20-22. But meanwhile the world is tragically, temporarily, out of order.
Well, how did that happen? Why did God ever allow evil in the first place? How did it get to be this way?
When God created humankind He built within us the capacity to turn on Him, to rebel against Him, and to outright reject all of His directives to us. In fact, that is exactly what evil is-rebellion against God. And such we’ve done.
Well, why did God create us with the capacity to rebel against Him?
It seems to mean a great deal to the heart of God whenever someone freely chooses Him. But can you think of a way to allow people to freely choose God without also allowing for the possibility that they might not choose Him? I can’t.
But don’t you think that some sort of better system could have been devised? For instance, couldn’t God have designed us with the capacity to rebel but the will to obey? Couldn’t He have made a world in which people could sin, but won’t-and don’t?
No more than God could create square circles. And certainly God does not need to experiment. So I would say that the answer to your question is, “Evidently not.” At any rate, man has sinned and creation has fallen. Pain, injustice, disease, and a very precarious environment are the tragic but predictable results. Besides, sin always necessarily perpetuates itself. So the whole system deteriorates.
Well, why doesn’t He do something to stop it?
But why not right now?
God is apparently willing to balance temporary pain here on earth for a greater good and a more eternal purpose.
A greater good? A more eternal purpose?
There are only a very few hints in Scripture regarding God’s purposes in delaying His final judgment against evil. But one leading candidate involves the idea that additional time will mean additional souls in Heaven. II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Well, this all still leaves me with a lot of questions. But I do see a way out of that earlier trilemma. What you’re saying is that God can, would, and will deliver us from evil-but only on His Divine timetable.
That’s exactly what I’m saying.