Video courtesy of THE BEAT by Allen Parr

Evil exists.

We see it on the news – wars, crimes, accidents, human cruelty, and selfishness. We feel it in our own lives – pain, sickness, heartbreak, death.

Looking at the massive evil in the world, many ask:

If God is good, loving, and all-powerful, why does He allow evil to exist?

This age-old question has troubled thinkers for centuries. It’s called “the problem of evil” – and it’s perhaps the biggest objection to the Christian faith.

But does the existence of evil disprove God? Is it a rock-solid argument that destroys belief in the Biblical God?

Or are there good, thoughtful answers within Scripture itself?

The Reality and Power of Evil

The Reality And Power Of Evil

Make no mistake – evil is real. The Bible affirms the existence and dominion of evil in our world.

There are 3 types of evil:

  • Natural evil – diseases, disasters, birth defects, deadly weather events. Nature’s danger and destruction.
  • Moral evil – cruelty, violence, abuse, hatred, selfishness. The wickedness and sin committed by human beings.
  • Supernatural evil – demonic temptations and deceptions. Satan and his minions at work in the world.

Evil is pervasive. It’s inside every human heart. It controls societies and systems. It has ominous supernatural power.

So it’s clear – evil is real and dominant. This deep corruption and suffering affects everyone.

“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

1 John 5:19 (ESV)

God Is Sovereign Over All Evil

God Is Sovereign Over All Evil

Here’s where many stumble. Is God truly sovereign over evil?

Many want to say no – that He’s doing His best but doesn’t have control. This would rescue God from the responsibility for evil existing.

But Scripture paints a different picture. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and sovereign over everything in the universe.

Nothing happens that surprises Him or thwarts His ultimate plan.

He is not the author or creator of evil. But He does allow evil, working it into His sovereign purposes.

“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.”

Isaiah 45:7 (ESV)

God is not helpless in the face of evil. He uses evil to display His majesty, holiness, justice, and mercy.

“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”

Proverbs 16:4 (ESV)

So why doesn’t the all-powerful God just wipe out evil now? Because He is patient, not wanting any to perish.

He delays judgment for the salvation of many.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

God Uses Evil for His Wise Purposes

God Uses Evil for His Wise Purposes

God allows evil and uses it to fulfill His good purposes.

Examples in Scripture show God allowing evil for various reasons:

  • To bring conviction and fear on those rebelling against Him.
  • To discipline and humble His people.
  • To strengthen the faith of believers, like Job.
  • To turn people from sin to righteousness.

If we look at Joseph in the Book of Genesis, his jealous brothers sold him into slavery. But later Joseph told them:

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Genesis 50:20 (ESV)

Even evil spirits are subject to God’s purposes. He limited Satan’s power over Job. And a “messenger of Satan” was allowed to torment Paul, to keep him humble.

6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”

2 Corinthians 12:6-8 (NIV)

God works through even the evil choices men make to ultimately bring about His good purposes. What amazing wisdom!

God Brings About Redemption from Evil

Jesus was crucified to redeem mankind

Why does a sovereign God allow evil? Ultimately, for the splendid purpose of redemption.

Evil sets the stage for God to victoriously demonstrate His righteousness, grace, love, and mercy. The evil of this world magnifies the light of the gospel.

God displayed His righteousness by pouring out wrath on His own Son as a substitute for sinners. Christ endured the punishment for the evil we deserved.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

Without evil, these attributes of God would never shine so brightly. His glory is magnified in overcoming evil with good.

The greatest evil ever committed – the murder of the sinless Son of God – achieved the greatest good of all time: the redemption of lost sinners.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

Trusting God’s Wisdom in Allowing Evil

Trusting God

The existence of evil is not an unsolvable “gotcha” for Christians. Scripture provides thoughtful answers to why God allows evil.

We may not fully understand God’s infinitely wise purposes, but we can put our trust in God. Evil and suffering will end forever in Christ’s eternal kingdom.

Until then, may the problem of evil increase our passion for what Christ achieved on the cross.

May it drive us to share this good news with a broken world that is corrupted by evil.

There are no neat and tidy answers to the problem of evil. But God has revealed His wisdom and sovereignty in His Word.

Let us come to God in humility and have faith in God’s goodness. God is majestically driving all things towards the day when…

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

Key Takeaways on the Problem of Evil

  • Evil undeniably exists, but an all-good, all-powerful God still exists.
  • God remains sovereign over evil, using it to display His glory and justice.
  • God has wise eternal purposes for allowing evil.
  • Scripture provides the answers to why a loving God permits evil.
  • The greatest evil – the murder of Christ – led to the greatest good in history.
  • We humbly trust God’s perfect wisdom in allowing evil for His glory.

Frequently Asked Questions on Why God Allows Evil

Q. If God is all-powerful, can’t He just eliminate evil?

A. God allows evil, but it’s not because He lacks power. He has chosen to give humans and angels free will, rather than eliminate evil by force. The evil in the world reminds us of our mortality and need for God.

Q. Is evil more powerful than God if He can’t stop it?

A. Absolutely not! God remains infinitely greater than evil. All evil will be defeated in the end. But for now, God is patiently working through evil events, using them to accomplish His sovereign plan.

Q. Why did God create the possibility of evil in the first place?

A. God’s purpose was to create beings who would glorify Him freely in love and obedience. Granting mankind free also meant allowing the possibility to choose wrongly. But still, God remains sovereign.

Q. Why doesn’t God prevent my personal suffering from evil and tragedy?

A. We cannot claim to know God’s specific reasons for allowing suffering. But we do know He is all-powerful, all-wise, and works all things for your ultimate good (Romans 8:28). Let us trust in His eternal promises.

Q. How could a loving God send people to hell for eternity?

A. God takes no pleasure in allowing people to face eternal judgment (Ezekiel 33:11). But His holiness requires justice against those who rebel against Him. Christ mercifully bore that punishment for those who repent and believe.

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