Malcolm Woody has asked: “If God is all good, and all knowing, and all powerful, and all loving, why is there evil in the world?”
Mathew 5:48 says that God is “perfect.” 1st John 1:5 says: “…God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” James 1:13 says: “…God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” Genesis 1:31 says of creation: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…” Each of the verses speaks to the impeccable character and undiluted goodness of God.
Then we have other verses that affirm God’s complete sovereignty over all creation. For example, Psalm 115:3 says: “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” In Job 42:2, Job says of God: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (N.I.V.). In Isaiah 46:9-10, God says of Himself, “…I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (N.I.V.).
With all this in mind, it is fair to ask, “Why is the world such a hard place in which to live?” Murders. Rapes. Lying. Cheating. Stealing. Drug addiction. Alcohol addiction. Pornography addiction. Droughts. Floods. Blizzards. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Cancer. Strokes. Heart attacks. Shark attacks. If God is all good and all powerful, how do we explain things that are decidedly not good?
First and foremost, we have to understand that God’s creation is no longer in its original, pristine condition. Sin has entered into the once idyllic picture, and it has brought death with it. We all know about Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, but the problem of sin actually goes back even further than that. You see, the first sin had nothing to do with forbidden fruit. No, the first sin that ever messed up creation was pride, the pride found in an angel named Lucifer. (As you probably know, he also goes by the name “Satan” and the title “the devil.)
Lucifer’s sinful pride is described in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:1-19. On the one hand, each of these passages is a prophecy spoken against a literal earthly ruler — the King of Babylon, the King of Tyre. On the other hand, though, each of the prophecies also deals with the fallen angel Lucifer, who is the true power behind every worldly throne. The King of Babylon could never have been described as being “fallen from heaven,” just as the King of Tyre could never have been described as being “the anointed cherub” who was “in Eden” and “perfect” in his ways until the day iniquity was found in him.
And Lucifer wasn’t the only one of God’s created angels who went rogue. Revelation 12:4 symbolically refers to Lucifer as a dragon with a tail and says his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the ground. Clearly, those symbolic “stars” are Lucifer’s fellow fallen angels, which the New Testament also refers to as “demons.” Needless to say, a whole lot of evil is produced by fallen angels.
It was Lucifer who demon possessed the body of Eden’s serpent and spoke words of temptation to Eve. When she and Adam yielded to the temptation by eating Eden’s forbidden fruit, the entire human race became tragically corrupted and crippled by sin. God had decreed that in the day the couple ate the fruit, they would surely die. The Hebrew behind those words literally means “dying you shall die.” This means that even though Adam and Eve did not drop dead the moment they ate the forbidden fruit, the aging process was begun in their bodies, and that aging process would ultimately lead to their physical deaths. The phrase “dying you shall die” also explains why humans are so susceptible to the litany of sicknesses and diseases that we know so well.
The effects of the human race’s plunge into sin don’t stop there, either. Because of what went on in Eden, each member of Adam’s race is a sinner from the moment of conception in the womb (Psalm 51:5) and is born “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). And what do sinners do? They do what comes naturally: sin. This throws the door wide open for murders, rapes, lying, cheating, stealing, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, pornography addiction, and any and all others acts of sin that human inflict upon either themselves or others.
Someone says, “But neither the angelic rebellion nor mankind’s sin accounts for droughts, floods, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.” Yes, they do. For one thing, Satan killing Job’s children by way of a catastrophic “whirlwind” serves as Biblical evidence that Satan isn’t completely helpless when it comes to creating natural disasters (Job 1:1-19). For another, Genesis 3:17-19 says that Adam’s sin caused God to curse the ground for Adam’s sake, and Romans 8:20-22 takes the matter even further by saying that all of creation was subjected to futility and now groans and labors in bondage. This throws the door wide open for the earth to experience all types of natural disasters including even either meteor strikes or asteroid strikes.
To sum up then, sin has created scores of angels that are fallen, a human race of sinners for whom sin comes as naturally as breathing, and a creation that, while still retaining much of its original beauty, is groaning and laboring in the bondage of futility. And it is from these three categories that all evil stems. This answers the question, “Where does evil come from?” But the question it doesn’t answer is, “Why does God allow evil?”
At the risk of sounding trite, I’ll answer that question by saying that God doesn’t want robots. This applies to angels as well as to humans. That’s why He built a moral free will into each member of each group. Even though God could easily MAKE every angel and every human being serve Him perfectly, He has no interest in doing that. He wants volunteers, not draftees. Of course, the price that God must pay for Him giving angels and humans the option of free will is the price of Him allowing evil to occur in its multitude of forms.
Even more than God simply paying this price, He actually takes up the challenge of in one way or another using every act of evil in the accomplishing of His plans. Would you and I chose to handle the problem of evil in this way? No. I suppose we would instantaneously cut all sin out of every fallen angel and every human being and then restore creation back to its “factory” state. But would there be any difference between us cutting out all sin and us mass producing robots that have to act in perfect morality? Not really. That’s why God doesn’t go that route. He’s simply not interested in a set up where submission to Him and servitude of Him are compulsory. He’d rather allow evil to occur and work in the midst of it. That’s what He’s been doing since Lucifer first rebelled.