If God is all good and all powerful why is there evil? This question is usually directed at Christians by non-believers. Many times they will follow up with the following: if He is all good He would banish evil and if He is all powerful He could rid the world of evil. Since evil exists, God must be either not all good or not all powerful or both. They then fold their hands and look at you for an answer. So, what do you do? Everything they said seems reasonable, how do you respond?
First their statement that since evil exists and since God has not eliminated evil then the Christian God must not exist is a false dilemma. It makes the either-or logical fallacy. Essentially they are saying that since God has no eliminated evil, He cannot eliminate evil. What gets left out is the idea that God can eliminate evil and will eliminate evil but He has chosen not to do so at this time. When one reads the Bible we see that it is God’s plan to eliminate evil at some undisclosed time in the future.
What often gets missed is that God is outside of space/time so He is not subject to its limitations. In fact to God evil has already been eliminated as He sees all time as one instance. It is only from our finite viewpoint that we see a problem. Still, that does not answer the question of why there is evil. Couldn’t God have made His creation without evil and then kept it that way?
The answer is that He did create the universe without evil but He chose to allow humans to make evil choices. He also gave this ability to make such choices to the angels. This ability to make such choices is called free will. God could have chosen to make angels and humans like the animals, acting on instinct and unable to make bad choices. But in doing so we would have been robots incapable of acting beyond our programming. As such we would have been incapable of having a relationship with God.
Without free will I would be just like the computer I use to write. As far as I know most people do not have relationships with their computers or coffee makers. God wanted more from us. He did not want us to be His pets like our dogs are to us, loyal at all time no matter what, unable to choose who to love. God wanted us to choose to follow Him, to choose to have a relationship with Him or to choose not to.
Giving us free will while it allows us to make good choices also allow us to make bad choices. It is when we choose to move away from the moral law and make those bad choices that evil is brought into the world. God could have created us so that we would not be able to disobey Him; however He chose not to do so. God did not want to force anyone to have a relationship with Him. Instead He allowed each of us to make that choice on our own.
Bottom line, God did not create evil that is totally home grown. In allowing each of us to make our own choices, free will, he gave us the chance to make good and bad choices. We call the bad choices evil and we blame God for our choices rather than accept responsibility for them.
At the end of days, God will separate the evil from the good. Those who choose to do things their own way will be forever separated from God. Those who choose God’s way will be forever with Him. Both will get what they want.
Have a blessed day,