If God is Good, Why is there Evil in the world?
The questions are as old as history itself. If God is good and loving, why is there so much evil in the world? Why does God allow evil? If God really loves us, why does he not rid the world of evil?
The question is easy to ask, but the answer is not always what we want to hear. Ever hear the old saying that when you point the finger at someone, there are three fingers point back at you? That might be the best way of explaining why evil is allowed to persist.
The story of evil in the world begins in Genesis
It all began in the Garden of Eden. We go back to Genesis, the first book in the Bible. God had instructed Adam and Eve that they could eat of any tree in the garden, with one small exception—the tree in the center of the garden.
Adam and Eve could have everything they wanted from all the other trees, just not that one. But Satan, in the form of a serpent, got Eve to think about God’s limitations on her choices. The beginning of Genesis 3 tells the story:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan deceives using pride
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. That is the beginning of evil in mankind.
Then, Eve also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it too. Because of this, the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
We have everything but it is not enough
What just happened in the Garden? God had given Adam and Eve everything, but Satan planted the idea in Eve’s head that God was withholding something from them. Then came the first deception–
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Even though God had been completely generous in His provision for them, they doubted His goodness. They believed that He was holding back on them. Satan had appealed to Eve’s pride, and pride is the root cause of all sin and evil.
Satan’s deception was made possible by another gift that God had given man, the gift of choice… a free will. We are free to make our choices.
Because of free will, no one can make us think anything we don’t want to think. Eve’s pride kicked into high gear when she was told that she would not die and that she would be like God.
Satan’s creates evil and turns away from God
According to the Bible, before God’s creation of man, Satan orchestrated a revolt against God in Heaven. He created evil on earth. But that revolt failed and Satan, the Archangel Lucifer, was cast out of Heaven along with one-third of the angels.
He became Satan and his followers became demons. Satan’s way of getting back at God for losing his challenge of God, was be to destroy God’s most prized creation, man. He won the first battle when he got both Adam and Eve to sin against God.
Had they resisted the temptation, and not eaten the fruit from the tree in the center of the garden, all would have been fine. But they didn’t resist. They gave in to the deception. Their pride got in the way. They made the wrong choice.
People often make bad choices and Satan helps
It is all too easy to blame someone else for our troubles. God gets blamed most of the time. I don’t get everything I want, so it’s God’s fault for not letting me have my own way.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, not because God doesn’t love them or care for them, but because people make bad choices. Give a person an AR-15, then give him/her a grievance and you have the recipe for a mass killing.
Satan deceives us just like Adam and Eve
People are deceived by their own pride and arrogance. Because of this that is what Satan plays on. He plants an idea, we allow it to take root by thinking about it, and in all too many cases, we make a terrible decision. Firearms are legal. Murder is not.
The decisions people make, based on pride, are the triggering element in evil acts.
God allows evil because He allows choice
God allows evil, within certain limits. We are all given free will to make our choices. Throughout history we see kingdoms rise and fall, but all had their limitations.
We read about this in the Book of Daniel, when he interprets the dreams of the king. We see kingdoms come and go. But God is the constant force limiting the evil in the world, not all of it.
For over 75 years the world has had nuclear weapons, capable of killing every living creature on the planet. But that global thermonuclear war has not happened. Satan would love to give the wrong man the idea to press the button, but it has not yet happened. But thankfully, God allows man to go just so far, but no farther.
We are living in a period of grace
While God’s Law is very much in force today, we live in a period of grace. It is God’s desire that all accept the gift of salvation that He offers, through the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is Jesus that changes hearts and minds, and turns us from our pride to follow God. It is Jesus who defeats Satan and evil.
When you want to blame God for all of the troubles in the world, just think about one simple fact– had man not sinned against God, none of the current evil would have ever happened.
There would be no sickness, no pain, no death. God gave us a perfect world to live in, the means to thrive and survive, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy our pride.
Thankfully, in spite of ourselves, God loves us and gave us His grace and the means to establish an eternal relationship through Jesus. At the end of the day, it’s a very good deal.