Summary: An explanation of the existence of evil.
Why Does God Allow Evil?
Why does God allow evil?
If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world? Why do we have war and murder, atrocity after atrocity, famine after famine?
Why do innocent children die at the hands of cruel men? Why do the ravages of war tear families apart in death and imprisonment?
Why this? Why that? Why do we suffer needlessly? Why, why, why?
Most, if not all of us have asked this question when faced with pain, suffering, or tragedy.
And while I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about this, I do intend to at least attempt to give us some direction in our thinking about this very important issue.
And I hope that we will leave here today with a clearer perspective not only about the problem of evil and suffering, but more importantly, a clearer perspective of the sovereignty of God.
I need to acknowledge at this point that much of what I will be sharing is taken from material by Rick Rood, formerly of Probe Ministries.
A. Why does God allow evil?
There is a line of questioning that goes like this:
A good God would destroy evil.
An all-powerful God could destroy evil.
Evil is not destroyed.
Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and powerful God.
And on the surface, to someone not grounded in Scripture who has experienced some form of tragedy, this would seem logical. After all, if God were good and all-powerful, wouldn’t it stand to reason that He would destroy the evil that plagues our world?
Then why doesn’t He? Could it be that He is not really a good God? Let me read Psalm 34:8:
-Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.-
Many other verses tell of the goodness of God. In fact, the whole Bible is an outline of God’s goodness in His dealings with man.
Could it be that He is not all-powerful? I don’t think so. Listen to Isaiah 40:25-26:
-“To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.-
I would venture to say that the Creator of the Universe is plenty powerful, wouldn’t you?
BUT, did you know there are some things God CANNOT do?
Wait just a minute, Preacher! Didn’t you just get done saying God is all-powerful?
Yes, but hang on. Let me list a few things God cannot do, and you will see where we are going in a bit.
First, God cannot lie, according to Numbers 23:19. James tells us that God cannot be tempted, nor can he tempt people to sin.
In other words, God cannot do anything out of His character. The reason God cannot lie is because He is truth. He cannot sin or tempt to sin because He is pure.
He also can’t undo the past, create a square triangle, or make what is false, true.
So what do we make of all this? God is good and He is all-powerful to perform any and all things within His character, and yet we have evil. Why?
Listen closely to this next sentence, because it forms the basis of the answer, and I will explain it in more detail as we continue. This is going to be a little on the theological side of things, so track with me.
God could not eliminate evil without eliminating the possibility of accomplishing other goals that are important to Him.
God created humans in His own image, capable of having and sustaining a personal relationship with Him. But to really be in His image, they have to be capable of freely loving Him and following His will without being forced.
BUT, creatures who are free to love God must also be free to hate or ignore Him. And when people act in ways outside the will of God, great evil and suffering is the ultimate result.
God is capable of destroying evil – but not without destroying human freedom.
Professor Norman Geisler has an interesting take on this, that I like. He says that the free choice of humans is the source of evil. He used the analogy of rust. Rust does not exist on its own – it is part of the metal. The same is true with evil. It does not exist on its own – it is part of our makeup as a result of the fall.