19 – If, in the beginning, there was only God and he created everything, why would he create angels that had the propensity to defy him? This very fallacy led to Lucifer challenging his authority because he desired to share the same power as God. This led to the rise, or fall depending on how you look at it, of Satan, the most notorious enemy of God and his followers. Failed, again!
20 – Why would you trust ‘God’s plan’ given his track record of many failures?
These two questions, including #18 deal with the idea of creating creatures who have a free will is somehow a failure on God’s part, especially when they choose to disobey. If God created beings with moral finitude, then their choice to love and obey Him would also have limits. Who wants a relationship with someone that has limits on the love they can express, feel, display, or act on?
At least this question to some degree acknowledges that evil exists. Many would not even grant that line of thought. It is not uncommon to hear people say that everyone is basically good, or violent crime has pathological roots and has nothing to do with evil in the world today.1
Kenneth Samples wrote, “According to Hindu thought, once a person achieves the right state of mystical consciousness, evil is absent. Ultimate reality is not only beyond the appearance of the physical but is also beyond the rational and moral categories of good and evil.”2 In other words evil only exists in our mind, but you only need to spend a few minutes reading the daily headlines to see that evil not only exists, but surrounds us in the world today.
Scott Simon, a reporter for NPR, wrote an article titled A Meditation On ‘Evil.’ In this article he explains that using the word evil was to be avoided when he had to cover tragic events. This was especially true of events that had loss of life and great suffering and may later be labeled as war crimes. He shared, “I was of a generation educated to believe that “evil” was a cartoonish moral concept, a word we used only when we didn’t know what madness or imagined infraction might drive human beings to commit murder, even on a mass scale.”3
Here is a man who understands the implications of using the word evil, or acknowledging the existence of evil. I have said before that evil comes about from the absence of good, just as cold is the absence of heat. You can’t have one without the loss of the other. As C.S. Lewis pointed out you can’t call a line crooked unless you have some idea of what a straight line should be. You can’t call something evil unless you have an idea of what good would look like.
Simon went on to say, “I still avoid saying “evil” as a reporter. But as a parent, I’ve grown to feel it may be important to tell children about evil, as we struggle to explain cruel and incomprehensible behavior they may see not just in history — in whatever they will learn about the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur — but in our own times.”4
Do you know of a parent who has not let their child go through difficulties or suffering so they can mature and hopefully learn some life lesson? Could it be that an infinitely powerful, knowledgeable and just God could allow evil in our lives to satisfy a greater good that is beyond our understanding or comprehension?
When the fires fell on Sodom and Gomorrah did any in those cities consider it good? Could some of them considered it to be an evil event as their destruction loomed? Certainly, but those of us able to view the context of the event see that God was punishing the wickedness of this ancient culture and His act was not morally reprehensible.5
Could it be an omnipotent God who has created morally accountable creatures has chosen to allow evil and then eliminate it through a sanctification process we endure? Omnipotence, as we consider it in scripture context does not mean God can literally do anything. For example, He can’t sin or be illogical by creating a stone too heavy for Him to lift. Omnipotence means that God can do all things compatible with his nature. For example, all things rational, all things moral.6
Evil is not from God, but for reasons that are beyond our understanding, He is allowing it just as He allows us to make choices that would separate us from His good and perfect will for our lives.
1. Samples, Kenneth Richard. “How Can a Good and All Powerful God Allow Evil?” Without a Doubt, Baker Books, 2004, p.240
3. Simon, Scott. A Meditation On ‘Evil’. Capitol Public Radio, npr.org, April 8 2017
5. Sproul, R.C. “Understanding Satan” Now That’s A Good Question! Tyndal House Publishers 1996, p.211
6.Samples, Kenneth Richard. “How Can a Good and All Powerful God Allow Evil?” Without a Doubt, Baker Books, 2004, p.242
Crooked Lines by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.knowingforsure.com/blog.