How could a good God allow evil in the world?

by Struggling to understand

That's a great question! When we wrestle with how a good God could allow evil to exist in the world, implicit in our wrestling is the idea that God is being mean, hateful or unfair. That is not the case at all. If we think about it for a moment, evil is absolutely essential in a world of human beings with free will.

Actions have consequences. Evil actions must have evil consequences. Remember what we learned in science class? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We observe a similar principle in operation when we consider good and evil. Our Lord explains:

"I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the LORD do all these things."
Isaiah 45:7

God did not create evil to be mean or unkind. Because He is holy, קדוש hakkadosh, Isaiah 40:25, God made evil to be the result of sin. As the Holy One, Jehovah is unique, sacred and set apart. In Jewish thinking, holiness is an equivalent general term for Godhead, Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9, and the adjective holy is synonymous with Divine, Daniel 4:8,9,18, 5:11.

One of the names of God in the Old Testament is קדוש אלהים יהוה - Adonai ha’elohim hakkadosh, Adonai the Holy God, 1 Samuel 6:20. God made evil to be the result of sin because God is holy. Evil actions must have evil consequences - that is how God designed the world. When we sin, evil is the result of our sin, Romans 6:23.

God is holy therefore He cannot simply excuse our sins. God's holiness segues to God's justice. Because God is holy and just, our sins must be paid for by Someone. We are incapable of making a payment that satisfies God's justice so God Himself paid the penalty for our sins, taking our place, dying as our Substitute. That payment is the foundation of justification by faith, Rom 3:24-26, 5:1, 9. Did you know that Jesus already paid for your sins so you can be saved?

God made evil to be
the result of sin

Now think about that - evil actions, our sins, result in evil consequences. God created human beings as free moral agents. We have the ability to make choices. Some of our choices are good and some of our choices are evil. By allowing us the ability to make choices, including evil choices, it naturally follows that we must suffer the consequences of our evil choices.

If God had not given us the ability to make choices, including evil choices, we could not be asking and answering questions about evil. Instead, we would be automatons, lacking a free will and incapable of asking or answering these questions. You are absolutely right to wonder about evil in the world God created. Now the question is,

So how should you respond
to evil in the world?

The Bible equates lust with adultery, Matthew 5:27-28 and hate with murder, 1 John 3:15.

Is murder evil? Yes or No?

Is adultery evil? Yes or No?

Have you ever had lustful thoughts? If so, according to Jesus, you have committed adultery, Matthew 5:27-28, and have contributed to the evil in the world.

Have you ever hated anyone in your heart? If so, then according to 1 John 3:15, you are a murderer and have contributed to the evil in the world.

The correct response is to
trust Jesus Christ as your Savior

In Jesus Christ, God has provided a perfect solution for the problem of evil in the world. Will you accept God's solution to the problem of evil?

Is God guilty of genocide?

What about the heathen?

What is justification by faith?

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Comments for How could a good God allow evil in the world?

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Feb 25, 2009
It still bothers me
by: Anonymous

It still bothers me that God created evil or at least made evil to be the result of our sin. I suppose he couldn't have done it any other way.

Apr 06, 2015
What about natural disasters?
by: Anneli

What about natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes? It makes sense that evil actions produce evil results, but what about traumas that are not caused by humans?

Rick's comment: Hi Anneli - We live in a fallen, sin-cursed world which is full of disaster, pain and suffering. There are natural laws put into operation by God, at creation, by which the universe operates.

For example, the law of gravity. God will not reverse the law of gravity in answer to prayer. So if someone jumps off a cliff and prays for God to keep him from smashing onto the rocks below, God will not stop the law of gravity from operating, to save his life.

Thunderstorms, tornadoes, famines, drought, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes and similar natural phenomena are part of God's creative plan. Sometimes He uses them for judgment and sometimes they just happen because the natural laws God set in motion at creation are still operating.

Why does God allow natural disasters?

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