The “problem” of evil is probably the most common objection to theism in general, and Christianity in particular. So great is the problem that many books have been written over just this one topic (leave your recommendations below). Therefore, my answer to this question will not be comprehensive by any means. Before I directly answer the question let me preface my answer with some points.
- This is not an objection to God’s existence, only His goodness. There’s no reason God cannot both exist, and fail to meet our standard of morality. He would not be a good god (by our understanding), however. Personally, I believe God not only meets our standard of morality, but is the standard of morality. But I feel this point should be made first.
- In the naturalistic-atheistic worldview there is no absolute standard for morality. I am not saying atheists cannot act morally, of course they can! They often put me to shame. I am saying (on atheism) there is no explanation for an absolute moral law – which you would need in order to call something evil. Naturalism is bound to determinism. To quote Richard Dawkins, “DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” There is no moral code and therefore no moral accountability. We are simply dancing to our DNA. We have no choice. Before the atheist can object to the morality of God, they must first borrow from a theistic worldview that can account for absolute morals. For something to be truly evil it must violate the standard of good. There can only be an absolute standard of good within a theistic worldview. If evil exists, it only proves the existence God – far from the original objection. Some atheists accept that their worldview cannot account for an absolute standard of morality while others try to explain how it could be possible. Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape was a noble attempt to do just that, but apologists like William Lane Craig and Frank Turek revealed his assumptions and fallacies and left his argument found wanting. You can watch the debate between Harris and Craig here and decide for yourself.
- God does not cause evil, He allows it. God is not sitting on a throne thinking of ways to cruelly punish us. However, cruel things are happening and he doesn’t always seem to intervene. Therefore, let us understand that God doesn’t cause evil, but allows it (for the time being).
The following arguments are based on two assumptions: (1) God exists, and (2) The Bible is true. I’ve argued partially for (1) here and I’ve yet to argue for (2) on this blog; however, there are many good articles, books, etc. out there. Now then, some answers:
- God made humans with free will. Why? Because he values relationship with His creation. In order for there to be a genuine relationship there must be a genuine choice. If my fiancée had no choice but to say yes to my proposal, would it really be a relationship? Of course not. What makes it a relationship is the possibility of saying no. You can say no to God, but there will be consequences. The Bible traces the suffering of this world back to Adam and Eve when they decided to say no to God. This answer satisfies the general objection of how a good God can exist while there is evil in the world. But what about the particulars? How could God allow this to happen to me, specifically?
- It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that an all-powerful, all-knowing God has a plan we cannot always understand. I believe that God is powerful enough to create the entire universe. Surely, a being that powerful cannot be fully understood by a finite human, like myself (Isaiah 55:8-9). Sometimes, God’s reason for allowing us to suffer is clear as day. In other instances, it is not clear what the purpose is. However, the Christian can rest assured that although God is not causing evil, in his sovereignty, He is going to use it for a good purpose (Romans 8:28). A God powerful enough to create the universe is also powerful enough to use evil for a good purpose. We see this most clearly at the cross of Christ. Evil men executed Jesus even though he was innocent. Nonetheless, God used it to save the world from sin. He flips evil upside down on its head and uses it for good.
- The Christian worldview promises an end to evil and suffering. One day, God will deal justly with all who have done evil. In our human courts we often get the verdict wrong and let a guilty person go free (or vice versa). This will not be the case with God. All will be made right. Evil and suffering will be vanquished (Revelation 21:4).
- The Church should console those who are suffering. Not only is a good God consistent with a world in which we observe evil; not only does this God promise to make good of our suffering; not only does He promise to end evil and suffering; but He gives us consolation in the midst of our suffering right now. In my experience, people are not looking for philosophical answers in the midst of their suffering; they are looking for a loving friend. Christians are commanded to carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and to love others like we love ourselves (Galatians 5:14). If you are suffering currently, I’d be more than glad to be there for you, just let me know!
In conclusion, the existence of evil points to an absolute moral code. This moral code only makes sense in a theistic universe. Humankind’s ability to make bad choices results in much suffering. The consequences of disobeying God also result in suffering. God uses this suffering for our good and His glory – sometimes in ways we cannot (yet) understand. There will one day be an end to evil and suffering. In the meantime, we trust God’s good plan, lean on His promises, and console one another. Ultimately, we all have the capacity for evil. Our hearts so easily turn away from God and his good purposes. We can be reconciled to Him by placing our faith in Jesus, who died in our place for this very reason.
Happy New Years everyone! What resolutions are you making?
48 thoughts on “Why Does God Allow Evil?”
“He flips evil upside down on its head and uses it for good.” ❤
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I think a more accurate question would be why he allows good in the world. I’ll explain. Parleys watch was a great analogy for its time. If you can see the creation, you can know the disposition of the creator. If you’ll allow me, Every element and molecule and atom and creature is in a constant state of anxiety. Each one desperately trying to stay together, to hang on for another day. It is this drive and desire that pushes to new boundaries. Every bit if matter has this inherent hope to hang on. That is the card that Christianity plays. And they play it well. Hope is something we already have, so why do we need to buy it? Meanwhile everything in this state of panic is dying and death. Struggle and change. Pure evil if you would. Misery. Holding on. If there is a god and this is his doing, then he is enjoying the suffering and delights himself in the misery of all of the elements. Including man. I choose not to believe in god. The evidence is compelling that no good god would have done this. He is either incompetent or he is malicious. Thank you. In the spirit of brevity that’s my short answer.
Paleys watch. Typo
Thanks for your thoughts! As I said in the article, I dont believe “a good god DID this”. I believe He has given us a choice and we have caused the suffering and evil in the world. Even still, in His grace, he has a plan to redeem us from this suffering and put an end to evil permanately. Again, thanks for your thoughts and Happy New Year!
Did you know that your god supports the institution of slavery?
Twisted men used the Bible to support slavery. There is slavery in the Bible because of the historical events happening during the Old and New Testament.
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Bull honky. I just love the way theists blithely expose there own ignorance of their religions. It should give you pause that an atheist knows more about your religion than you do. Yet you are perfectly willing to expose yourself, in writing, on a public forum where anyone who cares can read it for them selves will see.
Exodus 21. It is a complete instruction guide in explicit detail by big G. on how to own a human as property. Oh yes it does. Says the same things each and every time you read it. Take your time. Rationalize all you want. The guy who wrote those words was a Jewish scholar who probably lived somewhere between 250 BCE and 150 BCE. THINK PRIMITIVE CULTURE. What you got is the goat herders guide to the galaxy and not messages from a magic man in outer space.
Your god, fiction or real, is a monster. And his boy Jesus is worse. Not only does he, it, they, tell his minions that not a whit of the abomination, known as the Old Testament, is to be followed as written, then proceeds to instruct you not to be the master of their own life and destiny, but to turn your life over to him, it, they. Great advice, like a get out of jail free card. Let daddy and or mommy keep you safe. You wouldn’t be indoctrinating children, who know nothing about your death cult, that they must turn their lives over to a deity or suffer never ending torture are you. It’s child abuse.
Your way out of your element here. Atheists are a small minority with next to zero political clout. We are maligned by theists who relentlessly try to inject their delusional version of reality on our secular society. The best way to do that is to learn all you can stomach about each of the abrahamic religions. The Book of Mormon is, well, watch the play or the Mormon South Park episode. The book was an exercise in controlled incredulity. Ya, totally believable. Islam. Really simple. All you need to know is they randomly explode and the put people to death for religious infractions. A perfect example for a religion of peace.
By they way, to heck with Christian insecurity. I’m not suggesting you don’t have a reason to be insecure. After all faith is the only avenue to belief in so demonstrably false claims. The absolute best you have to support the claim for the existence of a god is to reference your holy book, personal revelation and, well, that’s about it. All other arguments require special pleading, arguments from incredulity, arguments from ignorance, appeal to probability, arguments from repetition, begging the question, yada, yada, yada.
It’s actually uncomfortable to watch people attempt to explain what they believe and why. I could go on but what’s the point. I’ll bet your just full to the brim with the light of the world and clearly I’m not a patient person, often condescending and do not suffer fools.
Get advise from your spirit guide and ask him, it’s almost always a he, why god sanctions slavery and watch him do a tap dance to justify why it doesn’t mean what the actual words say. Then ask if god only means what he says some of the time.
Yours in reason,
Not that your response was by any means sincere, but if you stick around i’ll answer all the questions you’ve raised in a blog – even Exodus 21!
I believe I’m in error again. This is no surprise to me because it happens as regularly as a metronome. I failed to consider the theists tendencies to conformational biases. Happily, once a person understands what this all to human, and is quite common, impediment to knowledge is taking one step closer to reducing stinken thinken.
A tap dance around what is clear and explicit, reads the same every time, means the same in every language and will be the best you can do.
The times were different. Slavery meant something other than slavery. I’ve heard it before.
What you have is a built in self censorship mechanism that has probably been with you since childhood. It is one of the reasons theism make people talk stupid. Here’s a good motto consider “question everything”
So without further ado……
Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or my-side bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. Confirmation bias is a variation of the more general tendency of apophasis. Funny word. Look it up.
People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).
You seem to think atheist are either willfully ignorant on the god subject or had a falling out with a church and it’s interpretation of scripture or my favorite, being a witting or dup for the devil.
Nope, it simply comes down to faith and what a terrible, if not the worse way to determine what is true. Correction, faith can be and is used to justify the belief in anything. Think, there are as many as seven hundred active religions in the world today. Think, there are literally thousands of sects of these religions. Think, is it possible they all are correct?
Now, don’t quote me on this but the latest survey on knowledge of Christianity and it’s many variants, atheists and agnostics scored much higher than religious people. Can you guess why. One, two, three, times up. It’s because, as a group, we covet a repeatable, verifiable and falsifiable approach to knowledge and apply the Historical method when examining the past.
Here is how this tool is applied:
Historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence, including the evidence of archaeology, to research and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past. The question of the nature, and even the possibility, of a sound historical method is raised in the philosophy of history as a question of epistemology. The study of historical method and of different ways of writing history is known as historiography.
Source criticism (or information evaluation) is the process of evaluating the qualities of an information source, such as its validity, reliability, and relevance to the subject under investigation.
Gilbert J Garraghan divides source criticism into six inquiries:
1 When was the source, written or unwritten, produced (date)?
2 Where was it produced (localization)?
3 By whom was it produced (authorship)?
4 From what pre-existing material was it produced (analysis)?
5 In what original form was it produced (integrity)?
6 What is the evidential value of its contents (credibility)?
The first four are known as higher criticism; the fifth, lower criticism; and, together, external criticism. The sixth and final inquiry about a source is called internal criticism. Together, this inquiry is known as source criticism.
R. J. Shafer on external criticism: “It sometimes is said that its function is negative, merely saving us from using false evidence; whereas internal criticism has the positive function of telling us how to use authenticated evidence.”
There are other investigatory techniques but these are a couple of the basics.
For some interesting reading on atheism I recommend:
Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, by Dan Barker
A letter to a Christian Nation, by Dr. Sam Harris
On The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
The Historicity of Jesus, by Dr. Richard Carrier
And my fave. God, The Most Unpleasant Character In All Fiction, by Dan Barker, I think you’ll like it because it’s 306 pages of almost all Bible verse.
Thank you, I’ve read them all except “The Historicity of Jesus” but i’ll look into it.
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” Aldous Huxley.
Then I apologize for my erroneous assumption that when confronted with evidence to the contrary an intelligent, literate, introspective, analytical minded person can ignore data supported conclusions. This is by definition “willful ignorance”. I sometimes use the word “deflection” or “Teflon reasoning” but it’s all one.
For the most part we share the same paradigm and our realities are in-sink but for one not so itsy-bitsy problem with having any continued discourse. This shared reality diverges at the junction of our natural world and a supernatural realm.
I’m making a best guess assumption that you are bedrock certain of the validity and truth of your foundational views on reality and that I too have a similar position. It would seem an obvious conclusion but it would be wrong. I have a simple method I use to become receptive to new information and it’s fun. My name is Ron and I create a visual image of the word wrong but spelled RONG (the g’s silent) in my head to remind me that I’m as likely to be in error as I am to be correct about everything. Its not hard to to see why. It’s part of being human. We have to make do with what we got. Right?
Our brains make cognitive processes possible by consolidating, categorizing and prioritizing an uninterrupted stream of sensory input provided be our bodies. Its really quite remarkable. This sensory data comes with varying time delays, level of intensity, conflicting patterns, chemical overrides, it’s complexity is breathtaking and completely understandable. Like balancing tea cups on your nose while spinning plates on a pole as you walk on a tightrope in a breeze. It’s an evolutionary adaptation of our marvelous malleable brains.
Because of this it can also be an impediment. Conflicting data happens constantly and your brain makes conclusions based on prior assigned truths. A challenge to the validity of a individuals foundational belief will often trigger an array of amplified emotional defense response strategies. It’s reflexive and it’s learned.
There’s an irony here and I’m sure you see it once explained. To you I’m guilty of blithely ignoring what to you seems obvious. Our lives are replete with examples of this. Here are a few of the more common ones. Days get longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, Jesus was born on December 25th., fortune cookies come from China and the suns color is yellow. People were sure of a earth centered universe theory and the earth is flat and that human sacrifice will influence nature, etcetera. The more certain we are about our knowledge the more difficult it is to process conflicting data. This is why critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills are so important for assigning a confidence level to our conclusions. I believe that recognizing our species sensory processes to be imperfect for processing information is key for assessing your confidence level of any proposition or problem.
I have cribbed together definitions plus examples of the terms.
Willful ignorance is the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality. At heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias. Willful ignorance differs from ordinary “ignorance“ — when someone is simply unaware of something — in that willfully ignorant people are fully aware of facts, resources and sources, but refuse to acknowledge them. Indeed, calling someone “ignorant” shouldn’t really be a pejorative, but intentional and willful ignorance is an entirely different matter. In practice though, the word “ignorance” has often come to mean “willful ignorance”, and indeed, in many non-English languages, the word based on the same stem (“ignore”) actually carries that meaning.
Willful ignorance is sometimes referred to as tactical stupidity.
Depending on the nature and strength of an individual’s pre-existing beliefs, willful ignorance can manifest itself in different ways. The practice can entail completely disregarding established facts, evidence and/or reasonable opinions if they fail to meet one’s expectations. Often the willfully ignorant will make excuses, claiming that a source is unreliable, suggesting that an experiment was flawed or asserting that an opinion is too biased. More often than not this is simple circular reasoning: “I cannot agree with that source because it is untrustworthy because it disagrees with me”.
In other slightly more extreme cases, willful ignorance can involve outright refusal to read, hear or study, in any way, anything that does not conform to the willfully ignorant persons worldview.
With regard to oneself, this can even extend to fake locked-in syndrome with complete unresponsiveness. Or with regard to others, to outright censorship of the material from others.
Like they say, you call lead a horse to water…..
Wrong! We know exactly what math is. There is no magic involved. Conflating the imaginary math equation and levitation is a problem in semantics which in fact renders your retort to nonsense. Is English a second language?
I apologize for the gender assumption. I keep forgetting that women are as susceptible to fallacious conclusions as men are.
Your initialed to your opinions. But to substitute them for statements of fact doesn’t add credibility to your theses. Unfortunately it happens in casual discourse all the time. I’m sure you have a better analogy. Try to be more careful, it leaves the wrong impression.
Yours in reason, Nationofnope.
Thanks for the follow 🙂
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how you were going to cover some of these topics, but after reading a few, I definitely like how you are covering them 🙂
You were right in stating in your first post that we should be open about what we struggle with. We all need to work on faith, but understanding our questions, and how to direct them to God and His word are crucial. It’s so easy for believers to tune each other out as soon as someone says, “I have this problem.” I’ve talked on my main blog before about easy answers we give to each other. There is so much depth when it comes to Christ, we need to always dig deeper.
Thank you for following my second blog, Peeking Beneath 🙂 You may enjoy my main blog Inside Cup better, if you would like to check it out, you can here https://nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com/
The whole blog is dedicated to pointing the light on Christ, and how to walk with Him. I try to be honest and cover topics not everyone talks about as well. 🙂 God has pricked my spirit so many times while I write. I believe He will continue to guide you and to help you guide others.
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Hi, Haden. Thoughtful piece here. Thanks for sharing and thanks for following Vine Life Faith.
Great post, I liked the conclusion. Chunky read, lots to take away.
God is not evil. God gave us free will and us as humans are capable of sin. The devils tempts us to sin and same fall of him. God is still good and does not exactly cause it, in a way humans are the cause of evil and the devil is partly responsible off as well if you know what I mean
I will give you the most accurate answer to this question. God allows Evil to punish those who have not obeyed his will. Now with that being said every bad thing that happens to anyone, any bad thing, it happens because he wants us ever so more to turn to him during that time of dismay or turmoil. He is hoping so much that a single person will turn to him. I remember my questioning phase of God. It is good to question, as I believe every true believer has questioned as well. God wants you to question him, it keeps him in check, but he wants you to believe. I am a witness to this if you begin to believe he will begin revealing things to you and do the smallest acts in your life that just make you shake your head because you have no explanation for it, other that it was God. Knock and the door shall be opened. Seek and you shall be found. The closer you get with God the close he gets to you. The reason why you may be feeling the way you do now, is because you are not close to him or you just haven’t let him become close to you. Try getting closer to him and knowing him, I promise you will find more peace in your life that what you have ever experienced. I want everyone to experience this peace, because it is real. May God bless your heart to seek him and to know him more for he has created you because you have a special unique calling on your life from him. Yes a calling just for you personally, and this is a great mystery of life. It is only those who seek him that his mystery is revealed in your life. What if I told you, that this calling is your purpose in life, and that your whole purpose of your life and just the purpose of life itself is to find God. See life is a huge test, and it are those who begin to believe him that beat the test and game of life. However, this is a great mystery as well. Only those who can see and are no longer blind or have a veil understand this. May God bless you with the fullness of his Shalom. Life, peace, and fullness.
Thank you Haden for the post. It was well-researched as well. I liked when you said at the end of the post, “The consequences of disobeying God also result in suffering. God uses this suffering for our good and His glory – sometimes in ways we cannot (yet) understand” because I feel that is exactly how we as Christians often wonder why there is evil in the world.
I also wanted to take this time and thank you Haden for following my blog. I don’t know what it was that made you want to follow, but it’s great to see how much God is doing through this blog.
The way you wrote this was like if I was reading an published book author. I loved this text. Thank You.
Brilliant article. For me it’s a puzzle when I read the book JOB, why God allowed Satan to test him. Yes, atheism especially existential nihilism has no regard for morals and values/ We must ask Richard Dawkins what is the gene that prevents us from doing murder, incest and pedophilia. A moral code exists and it has come from a theistic frame work. Anand Bose from Kerala
Hi Haden, Thank you so much for your support. GOD Bless you in your Youth Ministry!
I think Dr. Craig Blomberg said it best in his book From Pentecost to Patmos, when he wrote, (and I will paraphrase) for God to stop evil, he will have to end the world as we know it. Suffering will take place until the end of time. We believers just need to rely upon God to teach us how to handle it, how to minister to it and how to endure it
Good post. It is truly a difficult subject, one that will never be truly resolved this side of heaven. God bless you as you continue to study,learn.and share. Oh, and thanks for the follow.
You handle this really well and were even gracious to your lengthy and hostile interlocutor. Well done. I’ll preach on the same subject in a couple of weeks and it will be up on my blog at http://www.the-nexus.blog. I would value your thoughts when it goes live.
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Hey…I sent a message to you on your IG page. I love your post! I do not know how it got to my email tho, but in fact, it is good! Please do well to reply my urgent message on IG. Thanks
I’m glad that people told me about God’s sovereignty. When I gave my life to Christ in 1969, nobody mentored me. Because of that, I blundered into a cultic house church. Their minister claimed to be receiving new revelations from heaven and he cobbled together a weird mix of wrong doctrines. I had no idea they were wrong until much later. The pseudo church was also big on healing. They badgered me to get healed of my poor eyesight but nothing kept happening. No matter how I tried to squash all doubts, my eyes weren’t healed. I quit that church and turned my back on the Lord for nine long years. I finally came to the realization, thanks to a few kind Christians, that God is sovereign and he uses disabilities for his own glory and the good of us. John 9:3 is a verse I now hang on to because I believe that Christ is working through me even with my disability. I wrote my memoir called How I Was Razed to show how the Lord led me through all those hard times and cruel things said about me to the proper understanding of who the Trinity really are. And how sad it is that the people mentioned in Matthew 7:28 ruin it for new believers!
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Initially I felt that some of your followers were suffering from verbal diarrhoea, but look what happened …
One could write a book I suppose, however:
It seems that man cannot get away from the anthropomorphic idea of Divinity and therefore ascribing all of our human traits, capacities and weaknesses to that divine consciousness which is capable of the creation of galaxies of stars and all that that implies. And all that done in the one aspect of our own inadequate consciousness, still in its infancy it seems, that of unconditional love which we have a difficulty I just imagining never mind trying to live our short lives with. It is true that we were presented at birth with the gift of Free-will, but why is it then that so many imagine that having been given it, is taken away again by saying, ‘according to the will of God’? It is impossible to judge the Divine which is beyond our understanding, but we should understand that having been given Free-will, we can accept or deny the existence of God bearing in mind that, ‘Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!’ Final shot: Evil does not exist outside of mankind but only within our own minds.
Thanks for the follow on Hanukah and the Angel. Love, David
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Good points, David. Even so, we can’t help but understanding the Godhead anthropomorphically. Our minds are too limited to grasp the immensity of an eternal being composed of three persons. God condescends to us by using metaphors which our puny minds can understand.
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As humans, we are flawed and will never understand the mystery of God. The Bible lays out examples of our ways as humans. If we don’t recognize right from wrong and choose the path that does harm to us, then we should take responsibility for it. I believe God loves us so much he allows us to live how we choose. We are the ones allowing evil. We are the ones polluting the earth, creating carcinogenic agents, caring more for the profit than heeding the Prophet. We can save our world if we heed God’s Word. Amen. Thanks for the follow.
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First, thanks for the follow, but let’s leave pride behind.
When we leave our old selves behind and are born again the spirit renews us with how we would relate to the mustard seed that grows a might tree. Who we are dies, and with the forgiveness the idea of ‘morality’ actually becomes the issue. If we concern ourselves to the law, then we adhere to the back and forth game of weights and measures.
Instead when we receive God’s work freely by faith then we know. Tell any addict that God has freed because they moved close to Jesus by faith and they will say they are different in spirit, soul and flesh.
Why does God allow bad things to happen, He allows them waiting for us to become better and stand for it no longer, we change, grow and find relief through people moving and directed by the spirit. As well God always picks up the check until the tab is due. God says Satan: I let devour tonight’s fare, but when morning comes it is you who will pay. We win, pawns or not, we fight, we lose our lives to save them.
First thanks for the follow. Second I think you tackle two separate issues here, Evil and Suffering that are not mutually inclusive of one another. For years I have heard among many evangelical circles that is someone is suffering it is because they have done something wrong (evil) in their life. That is not consistent with Biblical teaching; Job of course comes easily top mind.
The more important question seems to be the one stated Why Does God Allow Evil? You state as a response: God made humans with free will, I would agree if you are speaking of Adam and Eve. Since the fall however man has been incapable of freely choosing to be obedient to God’s commands or not. Man is mired in evil John 3:19 (ESV) “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” The first man made the wrong choice for all mankind and it took the perfect man Christ Jesus to pay the penalty and redeem us from that choice.
God is not a puppeteer He does not force us to do evil it is the natural state of every human. It is only by God’s Grace common (shared by all) and His Effectual or Calling Grace that man can do good. Of course good herein being that standard set forth in scripture not something concocted by (evil) man.
In answer to the question you ask in this entry called, “Does God allow evil” ? Truth is that I can not answer for anyone else except for myself, so , this is what I think about that question. I have learned from the Bible, that God allows all human beings to have free will —-that’s totally free will. And since human beings are human, and since there are some humans who do commit evil acts, in a way you can interpret that to saying that God does allow evil to exist in our world (since there are a lot of people doing evil and they are still walking around here on earth). So, though God doesn’t create human beings for evil or to do evil, God does allow humans who do evil things to stay on earth and to exist along with the rest of the world. And though evil people have a lot of (fake) power in this world, God does have angels all over the place who are taking up the slack and who are protecting some of us some of the time from the full effects of evil and of evil people. Not to worry, God is stronger than evil, that’s been proven already! So, rest easy, and know that God , the God of peace is looking out for you, if you just ask.
Thanks for your like of my comment on the millennium; you are very kind. Please have a very good day.
I had a massive stroke on September 24, 2012. At the time, it was hard to see why. Now it is so clear: God used it to bring me back to Him. I was apart from the faith for twenty years. God timed the stroke to occur exactly on the day my best friend killed himself twenty-eight years before. My Father came for me, because I wouldn’t go to Him! He utterly changed my life, so that I could fight same sex attraction and an addiction to pornography (been free 15 months, praise His name). He revealed not only my dead friend’s grave to me but told me he had a brother and I was able to speak to him. He also revealed why I was having sex with men: I had never grieved for my friend for fear it would make me gay; I was missing him and was confusing sex with love. They aren’t the same thing. Now the thought of being with a man makes me nauseated. What I tried to change all my life, God changed for me. I had to stop trying to do things and let God be God and trust in Him.
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Hi Haden, thank you for sharing your thoughts, it’s not easy in this dark sin filled world. A couple of my favourite verses: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man”
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Thank you for visiting my blog and God bless 🙂
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Thanks for following my blog; you are very kind.
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Haden, not to be a nudge or anything, but regarding point 3 above: “God does not cause evil, He allows it.”, that’s not entirely true, even though conventional wisdom wants to believe that it’s true. Consider these two verses–
Isa. 45:7–“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and CREATE EVIL [emphasis, mine]: I Yahweh do all these things.”
Amos 3:6–“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and Yahweh hath not done it?” …Hath not done it. This is different than “allowing it”.
Yahweh created evil. He also admits that he has done evil. These are just two of dozens of verses that have identical explanations. A quick concordance search of the words “bring evil” will reveal the many occasions that Yahweh did that very thing–brought evil upon people. This fact is not some obscure, random misinterpretation of some out-of-context verse. The only real question is for what purpose did he create it and for what purpose did he (does he) use it?
I completely understand that this explanation flies in the face of core beliefs of most religious people. And most people will refuse to even consider the truth of this comment. But, I believe that the Bible is true and I accept that truth even when it’s uncomfortable. And if they’re core beliefs, are those beliefs supported by scripture? If so, how does one juxtapose that belief with the two verses above?
(Psalm 119:165–“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”)
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Hey, thanks for your thoughts! The verses you mentioned are translated “brings about disaster” in some translations. At any rate, it seems in both contexts to be speaking about punishing evil doers. If God brings about “evil” (disaster) upon a wicked people, He is just to do so. So while God definitely causes affliction upon peoples in the Scriptures, I wouldn’t call any of it “evil” in the sense that you and I are speaking of. When I say, “evil,” I mean a violation of moral law. Upon that definition, I believe God is incapable of doing evil because He is Good.
I agree with you that the Bible is true even if it makes us uncomfortable. I certainly never want to misspeak concerning the Scriptures. Again, thanks and I hope what I said made sense.
First of all, the Hebrew word for evil, rah, is used in many different ways in the Bible. As with many other words, the term “evil” can have more than one meaning, depending upon the manner in which it is used. Ra’, which derives from a root meaning “to spoil” or “to break in pieces.”
In the KJV Bible it occurs 663 times. 431 times it is translated as evil. The other 232 times it is translated as wicked, bad, hurt, harm, ill, sorrow, mischief, displeased, adversity, affliction, trouble, calamity, grievous, misery, and trouble. So we can see that the word does not require that it be translated as evil. This is why different Bibles translate this verse differently. It is translated as calamity by the NASB and NKJV; disaster by the NIV; and woe by the RSV.
Second, the context of the verses above are speaking of natural phenomena.
Isaiah is presenting contrasts. He speaks of “light” and “darkness,” “well being” and “calamity.” The word “well-being” in the Hebrew is the word for ‘peace,’ “Shalome.” So, in the context, we are seeing two sets of opposites: Light and dark, peace and non-peace, or well being and calamity. The “evil” that is spoken of is not sin.
From these verses (Isaiah 45:7 Exodus 4:11; Amos 3:6) we can see that the Lord is involved in calamity and problems in the earthly realm.
Exodus 4:11 is speaking of human frailty and Amos 3:6 is speaking of woes in a city. It is not a moral evil that God brings, but calamity and distress upon people.
The Bible teaches that God is pure and does not approve of evil, that the word rah (evil) in Hebrew can mean many things, and that contextually the verse is speaking of calamity and distress.
Contextually, this verse is dealing with natural disasters and human comfort issues. It is not speaking of moral evil; rather, it is dealing with calamity, distress, etc. This is consistent with other scriptures
It was in association with this final declaration that God said: “I make peace, and create evil.” In order to understand this statement, it must be viewed in concert with the overall affirmations of Scripture relative to the character of the Lord.
Jehovah is absolutely holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8), “his work is perfect,” “all his ways are just,” he is a Being of “faithfulness” who is “without iniquity,” and is both “just and right” (Dt. 32:4). Moral evil cannot be attributed to the Creator in any way (Hab. 1:13; Jas. 1:13-14).
From the divine view point, therefore, such things as national judgments and physical degeneration are characterized as “evil” because all such hurtful human experiences ultimately are the result of humanity’s foolish choices to engage in “evil” (rebellion) against the Maker of men. Natural evils are the result of moral evil — not in every individual situation (consider, for instance, the case of the patriarch Job, and that of Christ as well) — but in a general, ultimate, cause-and-effect sense (Rom. 5:12).
The Creator is not morally culpable if the gift of choice is abused, and the possessor thereof elects to pursue the road of danger and destruction.
I am gathering some thoughts on this topic, and plan to write an article eventually, but basically, I feel that all of the explanations that I have read are somewhat unsatisfying. The best book that I have ever read on the topic is an old one. It is ” Holy the Firm” by Annie Dillard. If you have never read it, I highly recommend. It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read.
reading this helped me understand a lot and answered questions for me I could not answer for others as well as myself, thank you!
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Thanks for taking the time to write this!
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Thanks for sharing on evil, God and how it all fits in the world we live in. It’s easy to debate this subject. As an ex-agnostic, I thrived on discounting God and often pointed to His uncaring approach when evil events made world headlines. I loved arguing with Believers over this and used belligerence as a means to make my points. Today God removed my disbelief and opened my eyes to faith, trust and an eternal hope.
One of the best examples of your message is found in the book of Habakkuk. Here God used an evil nation (Chaldeans) to defeat the wickedness of that time. And in World War 2 he did the same when the Soviet Union help defeat Nazi Germany. Both of those examples testify to God’s promise not to completely destroy humanity (Genesis 8:21).
In my experience, Christ uses the Holy Spirit as a way of revealing God’s way. Here I gain insight on how to live in His kingdom. And part of faith is accepting Christ defeated evil through His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Likewise understanding the origins of sin (Genesis 3:1-7) and the birth of free-will (Genesis 3:22) gives me compelling evidence to how God responds to evil.
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I wrote about this same subject but from another perspective
Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?
So, I decided to ask God this question. Written as a script
Me: Why do bad things happen to good people?
God: My darling, I never promised anyone a rose garden. I did promise to be with you and never to abandon you.
Me: Yes, this is true.
God: What do you consider that is not good?
Me: Abused women, children, the elderly, animals…
God: Ok. Do you think this is my fault?
Me: No, but some people do.
God: Sweetheart, it’s not. The day my covenant was broken in the Garden of Eden, people have made choices that have led up to the things that cause your heart to ache.
Me: I know that story. I never thought about Adam and Eve’s disobedience causing people’s heart to ache in this day and time.
God: Yes my dear. The story of my life.
Me: We let You down a lot, don’t we?
God: Never! I love “all” my children. There is nothing a child can do to separate my love from them. “I am” a forgiving God. “I am” a loving God. “I am” a patient God.
Me: Hmm…It’s a shame your children didn’t take after their Heavenly Father!
God: All things are possible when ” I am” included.
God: People assume I will intercede or interfere in situations without being asked, invited, summoned or called by name. My Word tells you, I give freedom of choice, free will, the responsibility to be a decision maker to all. I did this so that people could choose to love Me. What good would it do for me to create robotic, heartless people? I do not ” will” anyone to do anything. No one would need “my son nor I” if this were the case! Only when “I am” is invited into a situation; sickness, loneliness, determination, dreams, hopelessness, desires, tragedy, will I intervene.
Me: I do. Do you think most people know this?
God: When one truly knows that, I am and all that I am, they will know.
Me: This is amazing. It sounds so simple but, yet, people tend to suffer through the trials that each day brings. I bet most people don’t know they cause their own misery. It’s too easy to blame You.
God: I will test my children at times which in turn strengthens them. If they fail, I still love them. I love so much that I refuse not to give opportunities to excel. People say: Why did GOD let this happen? Blasphemy, I say! I gave stewardship of the land to the people. Neglecting responsibility of being stewards of the land causes the weather and atmosphere to react. Everyone has access to power. There is power in “yes and no.” Use it! Temptation is a trick that satan uses to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10).
Me: I never thought of “yes or no” having power. I think I get what You are saying.
God: People ask the question; Why did God take my baby, my mother, my father, my grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, friend, so on and
so on. Your love for a child of mine is a precious gift that I give freely, yet my people turn from me and withdraw their Love from me when the time comes to bring my child home. As long as the physical body has breath, two processes will undoubtedly take place What I am about to reveal to you is the only exception to the word prediction. One is born and will surely die. I share this wisdom to ease the pain. To not accept this fact is when sorrow overwhelms my people. When this truth is accepted/understood, grieving will become a celebration as it should be. This fact has always been and will always be. “life is a cycle.” People who can not accept this fact lose their smile, laughter, excitement, enthusiasm, dreams, anticipation, joy, desires, outlook and sometimes faith.
Me: Wow! Tell me more!
God: I’ll tell you a secret. There will be a tomorrow.
Goodnight, my wondrous child.
I Once heard a question poised to God. He asked” God why do you allow evil to exist in the world?” God replied, ” Why do you allow evil to exist in the world.”
Good answer to a good question.
Seeing that Jesus did overcome the world and did tell us over two thousand years ago ” I now give you all power over all the enemy.” It seems we have missed the mark on this.