A Question of Evil

If God is good why does He allow evil?”

We all confront this question sooner or later. In the Bible it comes up by Chapter 3 of Genesis; it’s called “The Fall.” While it may be tempting to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve eating from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” as a folk tale, to do so is to miss the universal truth at its core (pun intended).

Imagine for a moment that you designed a home for your children before they were even born. You created a lifetime of wonders for them to discover and other delights, all as an expression of your unconditional love. It was perfect.

But if you failed to include a door, those children you profess to love would become enslaved. If they were not free to leave, whatever affection existed between you would not be love; for love must be freely given and freely received.

This is our story. From the beginning humanity has been unable to resist stepping through the door. We can’t resist the temptation to know evil. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And this is where we find ourselves today, on the wrong side of the garden gate, “East of Eden.”

Given that context it takes some audacity on our part to then ask, “Why doesn’t God do something? Why doesn’t He rescue us (from our mess)?” Yet, this is the heart cry of every longing soul.

God did do something to make a way back for us and it is found in the person of Jesus, our “Savior.”

You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:31)

They will call him “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

The Way that Leads to Death

In the movie, “The Sixth Sense” the little boy at the center of the story professes to “see dead people.” The reason, he explains to psychologist Bruce Willis, is:

“they don’t know they’re dead.”

The message the world gives is that we all are basically good, but the truth is far worse than being bad — we are dead. And most of us don’t even know it.

No one can review the 10 commandments and claim they’ve never broken one; and to violate one is to violate them all. (James 2:10)

God explains quite clearly that the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23)…all sin, not just “the big ones.” The difficulty in grasping this is that we correlate sin to our behavior, and thus kid ourselves into thinking that if we haven’t killed anyone we must be “good.” But that is not how God sees it.

People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

Even in the good things we do we may be evil at heart, motivated by pride and self-interest.

Moving from Death to Life

The essence of sin is a rejection of God’s sovereignty in favor of self-rule, rejecting God’s “constraints” on our lives. And yet what looks likes living the life in this world actually leads to death, while what feels like sacrifice in fact leads to life.

As we walk with Jesus we slowly begin to see the world through his eyes. Instead of seeing people as “good and bad” we see them all as beloved children of God. And the lies of the world begin to be laid bare. It feels like looking through a prism because what you see becomes so other to the world’s view.

Entering into the Kingdom

To return to the question at the beginning, the evil in this world is our own doing. God allows it because love requires the option to say “No.” But God also provided us with a door back to his Kingdom.

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

John 10:7

  • If you have not said “Yes” to Jesus, will you do so today?
  • If you have said yes, who are 10 people in your life who need to hear about this offer of new life?

2 thoughts on “A Question of Evil

  1. Nanette, I’ve just discovered your site, and I can tell already I’ll be back to mine through more. This topic in particular is a great one and I’ve mulled it over time and again. Why does He let bad things happen? At the risk of oversimplifying things, He does it to keep things real. If we could only choose the good, it wouldn’t be a choice at all. We have to know we can choose the bad, to validate our free will, and there’s only one way to know for sure. I think of it as Divine Non-Intervention. If that’s not already coined, you heard it here first. The fact that He lets bad things happen, and lets us choose freely, is proof that He loves us. And trusts us. He knows we’ll generally come around on the good side. And the good choices will prevail over the bad ones. Now, if I could just stop wincing in pain over all those bad ones…. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

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