The Problem of Evil

Evil will, one day, be completely eliminated. This is the good news hope that we can share.

We live on a really amazing, beautiful, and an incredible planet. All of Creation sings and reflects the beauty and glory of its maker.

Nature is awesome. Except when it’s not. Natural disasters are responsible for an average of 97,954 deaths this decade.

People are awesome. Except when they are not. Intentional homicides are responsible for approximately 135,000 deaths per year worldwide.

People are still awesome. Except when they really, really are not. According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 45 to 50 Million abortions per year. (There is a horrifying year-to-date counter at http://www.worldometers.info/abortions/)

Open up any social media platform and you will quickly see that our world is filled to the brim of terrible things, events, and terrible people.

Why?

Why is there evil in our world?

This is a question that has been asked for centuries. If there is a good and perfect God who is in control, then why is there still evil in the world?

Apologists (those who work to give an answer for the faith based on 1 Peter 3:15-16) have been faced with this question many times. There are many good books, articles, and debates that clearly and comprehensively tackle the “Problem of Evil.” If you are looking for a more complete answer to the “Problem of Evil” there are many good books that you could check out. C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain is a good place to start.

But apologists aren’t the only ones who face, or have ever wondered about this question. Chances are that you have already been asked a question like this one. Or, perhaps, you yourself have pondered this question many times.

Well, what I offer you today certainly is not a comprehensive guide. However, I do hope that these few points can provide a bit of clarity as to why and how there is evil in the world. And, more importantly, how God views evil and what He is doing about it.

-What the Bible says-

-God did not create evil, He hates evil. There was no place for imperfection in His perfect creation. (Gen. 1:31)

-God gives mankind freedom to make their own choices. Often times mankind’s choices result in evil. (Gen. 2:16-17 & 3:1-7)

-When sin entered into the world it brought everything we consider evil, death, suffering, unfairness, sickness, pain, etc. This evil impact everything and everyone man, woman, even the earth creation itself. (Gen. 3:14-19, Romans 8:21-23)

-God always has and always will work to contain evil. It’s not as bad as it could be. (Gen. 3:21, Deut. 9:5, & Jonah 3:6-10)

-God has always had a plan to defeat evil once and for all. (Gen. 3:15, Mark 10:35, Romans 5:6-8, Colossians 1:21-22)

-Jesus hasn’t come back yet because He cares for and loves people. (2 Peter 3:9-10)

-God has been and will be successful in His plan to defeat evil. (2 Corinth. 5:17, Rev. 21:1-5)

-Important things to remember-

-God did not create robots, He created free thinking people that can choose either Him or something else.

-The world is a place full of evil and suffering as a result of those bad choices called sin.

-We ought to view sin and evil just as God does. We should despise it. (Proverbs 8:13)

-Jesus defeated sin, death, and evil when He died on the cross. Evil will be completely eliminated in the New Heaven and New Earth. This is the good news hope that we can share.

God is Good.

Can I just start off this post by stating an obvious and simple, yet jam-packed phrase?

God is good. Like, really really good.

I typed “good” into the Google machine looking for some synonyms and got the following.

Excellent. Exceptional. Favorable. Great. Marvelous. Satisfying. Wonderful. Superior. Ace. Boss. (Those last two make me chuckle, but they are still so true.)

The point is, God is so good, so amazing, and so incredibly other-worldly that all of these words, both, perfectly describe Him, and at the same time fall incredibly short.

The depth of God’s goodness has absolutely no end. He is wholly perfect and perfectly holy.

So, you might be wondering what happened? Why am I spending all this time praising God for His goodness? What big news do I have? What awesome thing happened to me lately that I am responding to and writing in such a way?

Nothing…and Everything.

Nothing- in the sense of what most people might think warrants praise and adoration. My life looks pretty much the same as it did last week. I don’t have any awesome or exciting news. I have often heard people say (and I am sure I have said it before as well) something along the line of, “God is so good…here is what happened.” It is almost as if “God is good” is the introduction to some bigger and better news that we have. Now, it’s necessary and appropriate to give God the glory for the things He has done in our life.

But in reality, “God is good” is the best and most important thing that we say. That phrase shouldn’t only be an introduction of good news to come, it is the good news.

God is good. Period. It doesn’t matter if we have good news to share or not. It doesn’t matter if we are in the midst of a good situation or bad. God is good regardless of our perspective.

So, in that line of thinking, no, nothing extraordinary happened to me. God just simply being God is more than enough for me to exclaim, “God is good!”

But, at the same time…everything has happened. I woke up this morning. As I write I am enjoying the comfort of one of God’s many gifts to mankind-coffee. I have an awesome, beautiful, adventurous, and brings-happy-tears-to-my-eyes-when-I-think-about-her wife. I have a wonderful church family. I have a wonderful family. I have the coolest job ever. And I have hope for eternity.

So, yeah. God has given me every reason to stand up and shout, “God is good!”

But, once again, God’s goodness isn’t dependent on my situation. Even if all those things I listed above were, in one moment, taken away from me…God would still be good. He would still be worthy to be praised. Because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways and thoughts are so much higher and more incredible than ours. (Paraphrasing Isaiah 55:8-9)

Psalm 34:1-3 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

Did you catch that? “at all times.” God deserves to be praised because He is good. Time, situation, and feelings shouldn’t get in the way of that.

What about you? Can you shout out loud that God is good? Today, will you, regardless of what the rest of the day looks like, recognize that there is a great, big, awesome, and good God who is worthy of being praised, and will you praise Him?

Today, even though it’s just another average day, I have every reason to say, “God is good!”