Why does God allow evil to occur?
There’s no doubt this world is a place where natural disasters tear lives apart, and people abuse other people to horrific degrees. If God’s there…then why does he allow this?
In his recent book, “Why does God Allow Evil”, Clay Jones explores these topics…and one of the interesting question he poses is this. Why do we ask, “Why does God allow Evil,” when a more pertinent question might be “Why does God Allow Humans?”
Clay summarises his position on God and evil (known as a theodicy – a word combining the Greek words for both God and justice). His argument is based on the Bible’s position and therefore reflects both a Jewish and Christian approach:
- God created human beings with free will. He placed them in a paradise setting, with only one prohibition on them.
- The human beings were free to disobey. After all, it makes no sense at all to create beings with free will and then prevent them from misusing it.
- The people became distrustful of God – and they rebelled against God. They did what they were prohibited from doing.
- Because of this disobedience, God ejected them from paradise and they lost access to the tree of life. “We’ve been going to funerals ever since.” God cursed the ground, and we face both disease and natural evil of many kinds as a result.
Someone asks – “So what about forgiveness then? Isn’t Christianity all about forgiving people? Why couldn’t God forgive Adam and Eve? He calls us to do this…why can’t God?”
First – because we aren’t God. God commands us to forgive others in the knowledge that the buck stops with him. He sees to it that justice is done in this Universe. We are called to forgive, because God’s the one who ensures justice is done.
Second – because if God turned a blind eye to Adam and Eve’s rebellion, this would communicate to the whole human race that – “hey, rebellion’s not so bad. It’s ok. Just do it. Fill your boots, everyone.” But rebellion is not okay. It leads to horrific results. Rebellion is destructive – and so there are consequences attached to it. And we’ve been living with them ever since.
- We’ve been living with the consequences because humans have reproduced people like themselves. Inclined towards rebellion, alienated from God and ultimately destined to struggle with suffering in this life and ultimately to die.
- Because of the seriousness of man’s rebellion against God, the seriousness of the consequences, and his love for each of us, God sent his Son Jesus to die for rebellious humans to ensure justice is done in God’s just Universe.
- So now, human beings who trust God and accept that Jesus died for them, can face a life of change and growth.
- We can increasingly learn the horror of man’s rebellion against God by experiencing the devastating results we see today.
- We increasingly learn to overcome evil in this world with good.
- We become fit to inherit God’s coming kingdom as we do this.
- And we learn how horrific and stupid our own sin and rebellion really is through experiencing first-hand the consequences. And so, one day, in heaven, we will be able to use our free will rightly as we reign with Christ forever.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com.
 Clay Jones, Why Does God allow Evil, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2017), 207-208.