A week doesn’t go by when somebody doesn’t ask me why God allows all of the evil in the world. A reader of my Facebook page just sent this question to me. He was wasn’t trying to pick an argument or question the existence of God. He simply could not understand why “God would allow little children to be hurt so terribly by rapists, murderers and the likes.”
First, it breaks the heart of God to see such evil in the world. You may wonder why, if He is all powerful and all-seeing, He wouldn’t stop this from happening. It’s a good question that I hope I can try and answer in a way that reveals the nature of God, the nature of good and evil, and the purpose behind our existence on this earth in the first place.
I want to start with the definition of love. By its very nature, love is a choice we make. For many of my readers, you are married and are raising a family. You chose your spouse. You were not (at least I hope not!) forced to marry the individual that shares your home with you. By your free will, you chose to marry them and commit your life to them through thick and thin. Your choice to love is yours alone, and your choice to not love is yours alone. You cannot force another to love you because love is a choice.
When God created mankind, His desire was to create spiritual beings in human bodies who could have a relationship with Him. This separates mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom. We have a spirit and soul that have the ability to determine right and wrong. In other words, human beings were made “in the image of God.”
God’s plan was to create a race that had the ability to love Him and communicate withHim. God is a relational Being who desires fellowship and love. Since love can’t be forced on another individual, God had to create a system on earth that offered choices for His creation. If Adam and Eve chose God, it would then be a free-will decision to offer themselves to Him by the choice they made. Hence, God placed a tree in the Garden of Eden. This tree was placed there to test the allegiance of His creation and provide them with the choice to obey Him and show their love and devotion toward Him, or to disobey Him and show their lack of love.
If God had not placed the tree in the midst of paradise, He would not have given them the choice that love commands. He didn’t want a bunch of mind-numbed robots worshipping Him because they had to; but rather, He wanted a species of creatures worshipping Him and loving Him because they chose to.
Unfortunately, Adam and Eve made a very bad choice by disobeying their Creator. Because of their disobedience, God disciplined them by removing them from paradise and sending them out into a harsh world to till the land and live life far removed from the ease and bliss of Eden. Their poor choice was the opening salvo of a spiritual war that has consumed the planet since the beginning of time. Their decision allowed evil into the world that will not disappear until Jesus Christ comes for His Second Coming.
I know that this may sound like religious mumbo-jumbo to those who have never read the Bible or believed the words inside it. I understand! Yet, I know of no other story that offers mankind a more rational explanation for the world that we have inherited.
Why is evil is so prevalent? Evil is a choice that mankind makes just as love is. Without the choice to follow a road of good or evil, we have essentially become creatures forced into a relationship with their Creator. Forced love is not love at all but rather a kind of slavery to another, be it a man or a God.
Over the years of ministry, I have encountered hundreds of individuals who have testified that God allowed whatever evil that occurred in their lives to occur to bring them to a point in their lives where they turned their hearts over to Him. In short, a holy, perfect God allows much of the evil around us to bring us to a point where we turn to Him. If we lived in a perfect world, I doubt most of us, including myself, would turn to Him to bring us the peace and joy that He alone can provide on a consistent basis. In other words, He can take the evil of the world and turn it on its head, changing it to good for those who place their faith and trust in Him.
I have ministered to victims of various crimes who attest that God made them stronger individuals through the tragedy. Many of these people go on to minister to others who have experienced the same type of tragedies in their lives. We have not been placed on this earth to simply pursue pleasure for ourselves, but rather we have been strategically placed it to make a simple choice. Love God and honor Him with our lives and serve Him and others through acts of love a service, or to choose to live our lives the way we want and focus on our own wants and desires. Life is a test. God is testing us to see whom we will serve, Him or ourselves. Good and evil are choices we make each day in our lives. Without that foundational choice, the test from above couldn’t exist.
The Bible teaches that if anybody causes a child to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone wrapped around their necks and be tossed into the sea. God takes sin and evil seriously, and He will, in His time and place, judge every deed of mankind. God’s justice may seem nonexistent to the finite mind of man. His justice may be delayed but it is coming. Why is He waiting? Because the Bible teaches that He wishes not a soul perish, no not one. His patience may be interpreted by some as a lack of love or caring, yet I believe His patience is long suffering because of His deep love for each of us, even those who commit unspeakable crimes. God’s greatest desire is to see as many people as possible with Him one day in heaven. However, according to the Bible, we must choose Him to make that happen!