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Summary: God is so great that nothing happens without His permission, and in that permission His ultimate plan unfolds. In His plan He is able to use for good what man intends for evil. God is in control

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Illustration:As C.S. Lewis wrote, "The greatest evil is not done in those sordid ’dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint...it is conceived and...moved, seconded, carried, and minuted...in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices."

Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 46.

Quote: Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? whence then is evil?

David Hume.

Obviously evil and suffering are a result of free sinful choices of human beings. God gives us a free will and allows us to choose between good and evil.

Why is there evil and suffering in the world?

Joseph said to his brothers, "You meant it for evil but God turned it for good for the saving of many lives." (Gen. 50;20)

God is sovereign and capable of working all things together for good for those who love Him and fit into His plans. (Rom. 8:28,29)

God is in the business of turning all evil and suffering for His greater good, glory and purposes that are beyond human understanding.

Deut. 29:29 says, "The secret or mysterious things belong to the Lord our God, but His commandments are to us and our children that we obey all the words of His promises."

There are many things that the finite mind of humans will never be able to understand until they get in to heaven. God is omniscient and we are not. We must trust Him with the elements of life that are too complex for us to understand.

Isa 55:8,9 says, "For my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts."

The question implies that if a good God exists, then evil shouldn’t because God being all powerful should stop it.

We need to ask and answer two questions.

1. First, what is evil? It is that which is against God. It is anything morally bad or wrong. It is injurious, depraved, wicked. Some acceptable examples might be murder, rape, stealing, lying, and cheating. Second, if we want God to stop evil do we want Him to stop all evil or just some of it? In other words, if just some of it then why? If He were to stop only part of the evil, then we would still be asking the question, "Why is there evil in the world?".

A. Let’s suppose that someone was about to commit murder. God would have to stop him, maybe whisper in his ear, or if that didn’t work do something a little more drastic like have something fall on him, or stop his heart, or make his hands suddenly fall off. Anyway, God would have to do something.

B. What if somebody wanted to steal? God would have to stop him too, right? Undoubtedly, God’s imagination would permit a more practical method than I have suggested, but the end results would be the same.

C. What about lying? If someone were to tell a lie, then to be consistent wouldn’t you want God right there to stop that person from lying? After all, He couldn’t let any evil occur could He?

D. Let’s take it a step further. Suppose someone thought something evil. Then, of course, God would have to step in and prevent him from thinking anything bad at all, right?

The end result would be that God could not allow anyone to think freely. Since everyone thinks and no one thinks only pure thoughts, God would be pretty busy and we wouldn’t be able to think.

Anyway, at what point do we stop, at the murder level, stealing level, lying level, or thinking level? As your questions implies, if you want God to stop evil, you would have to be consistent and want Him to do it everywhere all the time, not just pick and choose. It wouldn’t work.

2. Evil is in this world partly because we give it its place but ultimately because God, in His sovereignty, permits it and keeps it under His control.

Then you might say, "Couldn’t He just make us perfect and that way we wouldn’t sin?" He already did that. He made a perfect angel, Satan, but he sinned. He made a perfect man, Adam, and he sinned. He made a perfect woman, Eve, and she sinned. God knows what He is doing. He made us the way we are for a purpose.

3. We don’t fully understand that purpose, but He does. God is sovereign; He has the right to do as He wishes. He has the right to permit evil for accomplishing His ultimate will. How can He do that? Simple, look at the cross. It was by evil means that men lied and crucified Jesus. Yet God in His infinite wisdom used this evil for good. It was on the cross that Jesus bore our sins in His body (1 Peter. 2:24) and it is because of the cross that we can have forgiveness of sins.

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Mike Gilbert

commented on Jun 29, 2007

Very well assembled. Very well explained.

Glen Hossler

commented on Sep 27, 2007

Thanks. This sermon was helpful as I was wrestling with how to share on this subject.

Rommel Samaniego

commented on Oct 10, 2007

Youve blessed me! Thanks!

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