Summary: Why God chooses to allow the existence of evil even though He is good enough and powerful enough to end it.
Since today is Palm Sunday we’re reminded of the day that the crowds waved palm branches to honor Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem. Waving palm branches was the Jewish custom of honoring a king and for a brief period of time it seemed the people wanted to recognize Christ’s right to reign.
However their celebration was short lived because later that same week the citizens of Jerusalem were crying out, “Crucify Him!”
In the most evil act in the history of the universe Jesus was nailed to a cross where He suffered and died for our sins. The only innocent man who ever lived was condemned to take the place of we who are truly guilty.
Why did God allow such an evil and despicable event as the crucifixion of Christ to occur?
Why does God allow evil to exist at all?
Some of you have been seriously victimized by someone else’s bad behavior and you especially know how deeply this question can penetrate your soul. Why did God allow something evil to happen to you? Why didn’t God intervene and keep it from taking place?
When we wrestle with this question (and all honest thinking people have grappled with it) our focus is usually on the evil in others. When we think of evil we’re not usually considering the sinful things that we’ve done as “evil.” We’re usually pondering the atrocities of mass murderers, the depravity of child abusers, the way some people exploit others through abuses like slavery or prostitution. We think of war crimes, terrorism, hate speech, and various viciously hateful things people do to others.
Why does God allow these evils?
This can be very perplexing and even a potential stumbling block to some who need to come to Christ. Therefore we need to address it. And that’s one of the reasons we’ve been addressing the “God Questions” in this current series. But we’ve also been investigating the “God Questions” for our own edification.
If you’re not a Christ follower you may wonder why God allows evil to exist and it may hindering you from coming to Christ. I hope you can be helped today.
But if you are a Christ follower wrestling with this “God Question” without some sense of resolution, you may not be experiencing the level of peace and joy God intended for you to enjoy.
So as we tackle this particular “God question” I ask you, please don’t neglect to approach it on a personal level. Don’t just ask yourself why others do evil things. Ask yourself, “Why did God create me with the potential for wrongdoing? Why did He give me a free will? Why am I not a robot programmed to obediently carry out the wishes of the one who created me?”
Each of us has done wrong things. We haven’t been anything like a Hitler or a Hussein, but each and every one of us has sinned. And we often look back at our sins with great loathing. Why did God create each one of us with the potential to do something evil? Why does He allow evil to exist?
Skeptics approach the problem something like this:
A. A “good” God would destroy evil.
B. An “all-powerful” God could destroy evil.
C. Evil has not been destroyed.
D. Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and powerful God.
The failure of such deductive reasoning in solving this puzzlement, as is often the case with “God questions,” is that we often start with faulty and finite human reasoning.
Take the Jain parable of the elephant and four blind men.
Four blind men happen upon an elephant one day. One of them felt its trunk and said, “An elephant is like a hose.” Another felt its side and said, “No, an elephant is like a wall.” The third blind man put his arms around its leg and declared, “An elephant is like a tree.” Finally the fourth blind man grabbed its tail and insisted, “No, an elephant is like a snake.”
Supposedly this parable answers the dilemma of why there are so many different views of God. The suggestion is that we just all have different perspectives. And in our age of tolerance, it’s trumpeted that my perspective on God is not any better than yours is – it’s just “different.”
But do you know the problem with this kind of thinking? The problem with the blind men in the Jain parable is – they’re all blind! An elephant is not really like a hose, or a wall, a tree or a snake. None of them is right! If you want to know what an elephant is like you need someone who can see the BIG picture!
And when it comes to answering the “God questions” we need the value of God’s perspective because our view is limited. God’s the only one who can see the BIG picture. Without God we’re spiritually blind. We look at the question of evil from our limited view and come to conclusions that are based on partial information.