Is God good? Why then does evil exist?

(Dean Schmucker) #1

So the old saw goes this way:

God is sovereign, so every thing that happens must be His will.
Evil happens
Therefore evil must be God’s will
Therefore God is not good.

God is good, but
Evil exists.
Therefore God is not sovereign

But I have some thoughts I’d like to share with the community. God presents Himself in His Word as both sovereign, and good. So I am thinking out loud here. I hardly have this theological football across the goal line.
Well, God is sovereign. And, thus, ultimately everything that happens is God’s will. I submit that this must be understood in the context of who He claims to be. God is LOVE. By definition, love is voluntary, it cannot be otherwise any more than 2 plus 2 making anything else but four. Anyone who is a parent knows this. You can, by the act of your will, force your child to take piano lessons, but no one, not you, not even God, can make that child love the piano. So God offered man a choice: Tree of Life or Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That man was able to munch on the wrong fruit, bringing evil into the world, in no way defies God’s sovereignty, FOR HE WILLED US THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE. And sure enough, we chose the wrong path. But WE CHOSE IT FREELY! We did it our way, thank you very much.

So, yes, God is sovereign, and He is also Good. The reason there is evil is because first of all there is Love, which demands the opportunity for evil, or it is not Love. As Love is God’s nature, we have been given free will. If there is evil, it is because we chose it.

But God did not leave it there. No way. In the end, He made another choice. He did not have to. He chose to come to us in the form of a baby. He chose, ultimately, to die for us, to restore man to Himself. And one day, evil will be judged, and there will be no more sorrow.

Anyway, that’s my take on this question.

(SeanO) #2

@manbooks Good thoughts. I believe that is generally called the free will argument for the existence of evil. A few lines of argument to consider:

  • does this argument explain natural evil? (natural disasters, diseases, etc)
  • how do we explain why one person must suffer for the choices of their ancestors (Adam/Eve)?
  • is it reductionistic to try to provide only 1 explanation for the problem of evil? Is it possible God has reasons of which we are simply unaware?
  • how does the glory of eternity, which Paul says will make our suffering seem as nothing, come into play in answering this question?

Here are a few other Connect resources on this topic:

As the Russian novelist Dostoyevsky realized, with awe and wonder, as he stared at a painting of Jesus’ body: “no other God has scars”. We may not know the exact reason why we suffer in any given instance, but one thing our suffering cannot mean. In light of the cross it cannot mean that God doesn’t love us.

(Dean Schmucker) #3

As to the question of natural evil, Jesus told us that those upon whom fell the tower of Siloam were no worse sinners than the rest, and unless we repent, the same will happen to us. What I get from this is that since the Fall, we are all under a death sentence. God would not be unjust to send a comet crashing into Earth and killing all of us, for that is what our sins deserve. So the question I would ask the skeptic is not why natural evil kills some men, but why do any of us survive?

The Bible says, “in Adam all die”, in that we are all tied together with him through natural parentage. No way do we suffer on account of Adam’s sin, each man dies for his own. Though we may have been born into the curse of another’s choice, God has made a way of escape. So instead of focusing on the bad news, let’s embrace the good.

God is God. For man to think he knows anything at all, save what God wants him to know, is indeed utter presumption. So let us keep humble at all times. If we know anything at all, it is because He has revealed it to us.

Indeed, what ever we suffer now is “preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”. Yet suffering is morally neither good or bad, it just is. When, by revelation, we “consider it all a joy”, the fruit of the Spirit is growing in us. On the other hand, if we don’t see the glory, and fall into unbelief, all we can do is complain.

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