Why Does God Let Evil Exist?

“If God is all LOVING and all POWERFUL why doesn’t God just get rid of all evil in the world and make it a better place?” The skeptic may ask.

Let me offer my opinion:

Do discuss this we first must center in on evil and define it and it’s source. Evil is injustice, crime, suffering etc. But more important than the effects of evil is the source of evil. Evil is caused by the choices of man. It only exists because certain individuals choose to do it. God gave man the ability to choose between His way, or their own way. I do not mean to say that God wants us to be mindless, opinion-less, will-less creatures. But we come to points in everyday life where we must make a conscious decision that has to do with morals, at this moment we can pick our way or God’s way.
For example when the murderer murders, he has not chosen God’s will, for God said “thou shalt murder”, but he has chosen his own will because he has decided to murder. Evil in the form of crime happened because in this case the person did not follow God’s will. If every person were to always choose God’s will in matters of life no evil would ever exist! So the source of evil is in man’s free will.

For God to remove evil in the world would be to remove choice from man. This He simply will not do.

Why?
Because He wants man to choose Him. Does everyone? No, but out of love He must always leave the option for us to turn to Him.
If God were to grant the wish of this skeptic we would only be left with one decision – to obey God at all times, to love Him at all times etc. Think about it like this – if we were able to program a child’s brain at birth and you programmed your children to love you at all times, to honor and serve you at all times no matter what; would it be real love? No, it would be programmed love, unauthentic, and manipulated.
God has not done this, He gives us the choice to turn to Him or to turn away from Him.
The evil that we see on the news today is simply the long term results of turning away from God for centuries. The first decision to disobey God was simply eating a fruit that God said was off limits! It’s wild to think that such global evil today exists as the great great great grandchild of that first decision away from God. Yet here we are. I’m not saying that when someone chooses contrary to God’s will that they are instantly killing children, committing genocide, or starving countries for riches. Because there are many atheists or adherents to other faiths and gods that are not causing the evils that distress humanity. However from this (at times) harmless choice away from God stems the existence of evil.

So we see God, out of genuine love for us and a desire for genuine love from us must give free will. He is not pleased when we turn away from Him but it must be allowed so that we can also turn to Him. So who’s to blame for evil? Man. Why do terrible things happen today? Because we do not follow God’s will at all times. Why won’t God take away every evil thing and fix all suffering because He would be transgressing on His creation – our choice to turn away from Him as well as to Him.

The second thing that should be mentioned when talking about God and the existence of suffering and evil is the standard of suffering and evil. Without God how do we know what suffering is, how do we gauge what is unjust and what is just, how do we discern evil from acceptable acts of humanity? We must have an absolute standard. This standard is God’s character which is not kept secret from us but revealed in His word – the Bible. We find He despises injustice on every level – social, economical, and governmental. We find the definition of love in God’s very being and so we know what it is to love and how to love. But for the atheist to disprove the existence of God because of the existence of evil and suffering – how do they grade what’s acceptable? In a Godless world there is no standard to compare our behavior to in order to come to a conclusion or a realization of any kind of problem at all.

Therefore the existence of God in the midst of suffering gives us some sense that unjust suffering exists at all and that people suffer which ought not be.

This was a conversation I had with myself in an attempt to answer this age old question. What are your thoughts on the proposed question?

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20 thoughts on “Why Does God Let Evil Exist?

  1. If the Lord did not allow evil to exist, then how do we explain evil’s presence on the earth? We have to come to the conclusion God does not control all things. We have to say that Satan, demons or man (when he chooses to do evil) can override the very authority of our God.

    The idea that God controls all things is a central theme throughout the Scriptures…
    Dan 4:35, Job 23:13, Psa 33:9-11, Psa 115:3… the list goes on and on.

    Simply based on His sovereignty, we must say that God allows evil. What a comforting thought to know that NOTHING slips by our Lord… NOTHING takes place that He is not aware of… NOTHING happens that He cannot control.

    The next time we pray, let’s take a minute remember He truly controls all things… He can supply any need, He can forgive any sin, and He can stop any action Satan or demons may be mounting against us.

    All of this is because in a true, absolute way HE IS IN CONTROL.

    Great post thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. His sovereignty is a very encouraging thought for these troublesome times in which we live.

  2. Food for thought:

    What do you say to the victims of evil to comfort them?

    Why is there still evil now that Jesus has come and overcome evil? He did not seem to have an effect on the evil of this world . It has only increased.

    I am like this when I have not had my coffee yet.

    • Marianne,

      (I hope you have had your coffee by the time you read this!)

      You asked: “What do you say to the victims of evil to comfort them?”
      In response, if I may be so bold, I offer two answers.

      1. If they are New Covenant believers, I speak to them of Romans 8:28 which says:

      “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (New American Standard Bible)

      2. If, however, they are unsaved, I honestly say nothing. I make no attempt to intellectualize or philosophize their pain, their confusion, and their anger away. There are times when we as sons of God just need to shut up and be still and do what Jesus would do.

      I simply love them, cry with them, pray for/with them, and just be available for them in any capacity I am able. I put them before my Father in prayer and in petition, asking Him to send His Spirit to minister as only He can.

      You then said:
      “Why is there still evil now that Jesus has come and overcome evil? He did not seem to have an effect on the evil of this world . It has only increased.”

      When Jesus was here on His earthly ministry, He was surrounded by evil. It is not as if it magically disappeared, just because He was the Son of God and the Son of Man here on Earth, walking with and in His creation.

      Jesus will indeed, however, destroy evil. But it will happen at the end of days as we know them. Until then…sigh…we are to walk in The World but not of The World.

      He did overcome great evil, oh yeah! He descended into the depths and took the keys to Hell and Death away from the former Lucifer, establishing His Mastery over both realities. But He did not ever say, “Okay, no more evil now. The world is free from evil!”

      You make mention that evil seems to have increased. To this I can only agree. It has increased. It will continue to increase. I, for one, am glad of this, for this will usher in the Return of The King, and then the fireworks will really begin. Evil is like a spiritual STD, passed along easily due to the spiritual promiscuity of The World, and it is even now spreading like wildfire.

      Awesome. I look forward to it.

      It is not mine to confront the principalities and bind them all. I do engage in spiritual warfare, to be sure, but only as The Spirit leads me to. No, I simply listen to Him and do as He commands, going where He sends me and speaking to whom He would have me speak. It is He who frees the slaves. I just get to be along for the ride.

      Thanks for reading!

      Donald Borsch Jr.
      http://www.christiancommentator.wordpress.com/

    • Great questions Marianne!

      To the victims of evil I would tell them that despite man’s evil there is still a good and loving God who wants to be in relationship with them etc. the Gospel message. I would explain that even in terrible circumstances God can still do great miracles. Rom 8:28 as Donald said.
      Also that we live in a fallen world where evil is present because man’s nature which is in need of a savior. But soon God will bring an end to the author of evil – the evil one.
      And as Donald said the response to the saved vs. the unsaved should be different.

      Jesus did not overcome evil in the sense that He removed evil and suffering from the world as many would like. Jesus overcame the evil One (Satan) by resisting temptation, living a sinless life and providing atonement for God’s fallen children. He thwarted Satan’s plans by providing salvation to all who would believe thus He overcame Him and ultimately will beat Him in battle twice before sending him to the lake of fire in Revelation 20.
      Jesus effected the spiritual evil present in the world by defeating Satan. Also it does not matter how much evil may increase because God is still loving and mighty to save.

  3. So, you are saying that God does not protect the righteous.

    They just have to suffer at the hands of evil people, live a life of suffering, while looking forward to death, so they can finally enjoy heaven.

    Looking forward to “someday” does not prevent harm from evil.

    I am being mean again.

    • Hah thanks for playing the antagonist!
      He does protect the righteous, but people are not “the righteous” until they are saved so first I would share the gospel with them and then explain the promises and activity of the Christian.
      Sometimes you are unable to rescue the person out of their situation on your own, so you must encourage them that God can and will, you just have to have faith and perseverance.
      I am not a “by and by” person that thinks this life has to be crap and full of defeat and you suffer until heaven. This life can be enjoyable and victorious even over severe circumstances and suffering. God’s hand is not short that it can’t save. However we should live with eternity in mind, have our heart set on the things above and not below.

    • Marianne,

      This is not my blog, but I do visit here and quite enjoy it.

      Are you asking legitimate questions or are you seeking something else? It looks to me like you are swallowing a camel yet straining at a gnat.

      I, speaking only for myself, do not believe you will find an answer here that will suit you. I also do not believe there is an answer to suit you. You might as well have asked the nefarious, “Is God so powerful that He could create a boulder even He couldn’t pick up?”

      Like I said, however, this is not my blog.

      Grove, I’m working on an answer to you email question. Please be a little more patient with me! I will shoot it your way soon enough! 🙂

  4. No I am not saying that. Righteous suffer as well. Sometimes God rescues them from it and sometimes not, who am I to say which one He will do.
    I cannot tell you God’s choices in a specific situation.
    I do know that the righteous have had to suffer (Christians in India for example). While God has also protected and rescued other believers from calamity.
    Unbelievers also suffer and some don’t.

    So when it gets to specifics like in this proposed situation and set of questions I cannot answer. This blog is more about my opinion on God’s passive will concerning the evil he allows to exist and why.

    A separate thought: though God is all powerful and sovereign, I don’t believe He actively controls all things. Not out of limitation or inability but due to decision. Many would disagree with this. When a boulder falls off a cliff and squashes someone – did God cause it to fall? No, physics which were already in place caused it to happen. Could God inform the person in time or stop the boulder? Yes. But He does not always do this. There are things He chooses not to control. At the same time I believe He foreknows everything. With God I don’t see these two statements as a paradox.

    • On the suffering aspect…

      Didn’t Jesus tell Ananias He was going to show Paul how much Paul must suffer for His Name?
      ——————————————–

      Acts 9:10-19
      10Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” 13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; 14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 17So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; 19and he took food and was strengthened.
      ———————————————-

      I agree with you, Grove. Suffering is in the hands of God ultimately. It is under His Sovereign wishes, one way or the other, and it appears it has nothing to do with His love for us, but His purposes for us. However, wouldn’t His purposes always bring us closer to His love?

      Just a thought.

      Oh, and Isaiah 45:6-7
      6That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
      That there is no one besides Me.
      I am the LORD, and there is no other,

      7The One forming light and creating darkness,
      Causing well-being and creating calamity;
      I am the LORD who does all these.

      His ways are not our ways, indeed. Nor are His thoughts ours. But we knew this already.

      • I think it depends on how much you are prepared to suffer.

        Paul was prepared and understood, and knew ahead of time this would happen, and for what reason.

        Many are caught in suffering without preparation. Many are just children, or not educated enough in their faith, not by their own fault, but by those who teach them.

        Suffering does not always bring us closer to God.

        Many have felt abandoned and unloved by God when they went through suffering.

        I remember when I was younger, I went through decades of suffering.

        I thought God did not care about me, and my only reason for existence was to give evil people someone to torture.

        I thought I was some sort of metaphysical joke, that an uncaring God threw on this earth to feed the dogs with.

        What was his purpose? I dont’ know.

        I do know now that God loves me, but I understand the despair of those who suffer.

        Many times suffering ends in death. There is no glory or purpose to it. It is senseless, and the person is destroyed.

        Would I accept future suffering? NO.

        I would fight it if I could.

        I might be serving Satan’s purpose, not God’s.

      • Yes, and didn’t God also rescue the same Paul from Prison? And heal those oppressed from life time sicknesses?

        You can find cases where Godl people, in God’s will suffered and God allowed it, you can also find instances where God rescued the same people out of suffering.
        So the conclusion is: God allows his children to suffer for His purposes and at times rescues His children from suffering for His purposes as well. We can’t always know whether He will rescue us or not from a hard time. This has become similar to what I’m talking about in my other blog “Side-Stepping Maturity”.

  5. Marianne,

    Ecclesiastes 7:14
    “In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider– God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.”

    ————————-

    1 Peter 1:6-7
    In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

    ————————-

    Romans 8:28-29
    (Suffering is purposeful)
    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

    ————————-

    Romans 5:3-5
    And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

    ————————-

    Suffering is part of God the Father’s plan for His children. It is not done with malicious intent, or in the spirit of Him being a jerk. It is part of who and what we are. Suffering will come. Indeed, it will. But God our Father is going to meet us in every way when it arrives, and while it may be painful, annoying, and at times unbearable, He is our Hope.

    To fight against suffering, when it is something that shall be laid upon the faithful because we are faithful, is a futile endeavor. He is God. His will is absolute.

    Donald in Bethel, CT

  6. I appreciate this post. At times it is easy for me to waiver in my faith and question the sovereignty of God. It is uplifting to be reminded that following Christ is a conscious choice and it goes deeper than any type of immediate gratification, no matter what struggle is before me.

    • You’re welcome, thanks for taking time to read AND comment. Yea God is sovereign and loving at the same time, it’s not a paradox like Atheists like to claim. And about immediate gratification (or comfort) all you need to say is “God is not done yet”. This pathway (which is pretty terrible at times) was apparently the best pathway by which we could be redeemed and enter a perfect world later (Rev 21).

  7. ” God allows his children to suffer for His purposes and at times rescues His children from suffering for His purposes as well. We can’t always know whether He will rescue us or not from a hard time..”

    Makes God a bit of a capricious jerk doesn’t it?? I thought all that praying was suppossed to grease the wheel??

    • It doesn’t make him anything. if you have a bias or offense and already believe Him to be unjust, unfair or whatever- than it only enhances those feelings. But if you have a relationship with Him and you experience His help than it reveal the truth that He is loving and great and the relationship furthers. In the end it would be unloving and unfair of Him to remove all uncomfortable situations because we would never grow or be challenged and thus we would never develop in to the people we need to be.

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