Answering Why Evil Exists

If God is good, why does so much bad happen?

This is supposedly the question when it comes to God. The question is intriguing when asked by the atheist.

1) Why do you naturally assume God is good? I haven’t heard much explanation of this assumed point, but it intrigues me.
2) If evolution, survival of the fittest, is true, it also begs a question–how can a cutthroat system of existence produce good?

I suppose a guy could approach the answer to why evil happens on different fronts.

A. You could conclude that God is not good, and be a consistent Calvinist (zing!).

B. You could deny the existence of good and be a consistent Christian Science guy (Still waiting for Bill Nye the Christian Science Guy tv show). (Which leads to this necessary parenthetical point: Christian Science is neither Christian nor Science, discuss).

C. You could imagine really, really hard that all evil is actually good and just smile through it and be a consistent Osteen.

D. You could just go ahead and do the smart thing and agree with whatever I say and be a consistent jerk.

In the end, evil is one of those things I could give you my answer for, but I think it has many layers, like an onion under a heavily blanketed bed. Picking just one over-simplifies the issue and explaining them all would get tedious.

My conclusion of the matter is this: once you’ve answered why evil exists with a good God to your satisfaction, then what? Does that keep you content, happy, grouchy, victimized, or what?

If whatever answer you come up with does not leave you longing for more Christ, then your answer is off.

The longing for all of Him to consume, replace and override all of us is the desire of the believer. If your answer eliminates, reduces, trivializes or in any way distorts this conclusion, you’re wrong.

Oh to be like Him! To be surrounded with His righteousness.

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

7 thoughts on “Answering Why Evil Exists”

  1. A. “You could conclude that God is not good, and be a consistent Calvinist (zing!).”
    What Calvinist believes God is evil? Please explain

  2. the key word here is “consistent.” If you believe God ordained whatsoever comes to pass you then have to conclude that God is evil–evil would be His will for us, thus if His will were evil, He would be evil. As John Wesley once said, the God of Calvinism is worse than the devil and I tend to agree. I know Calvinists don’t, but if they were consistent they’d have to. But, I am always thankful for the inconsistency of Calvinists and will continue to be.

  3. I didn’t understand all of it, but I love when you get to this:

    “If whatever answer you come up with does not leave you longing for more Christ, then your answer is off.

    The longing for all of Him to consume, replace and override all of us is the desire of the believer. If your answer eliminates, reduces, trivializes or in any way distorts this conclusion, you’re wrong.”

    That is a really good test.

  4. I see in scripture consistently that God allows evil and he allows it so that He can use it for good. To say He doesn’t ordain all things says God is not in control of all things.
    We can see bad things happen and say that they are out of God’s control or we can go by what scripture says in Romans 8:28 God works all things for good.
    We call something evil but in Gods view it is something He is using for good. We can’t understand and it is very hard to see here in the now but He is Sovereign and we are not. Everything He does is for the second coming of Christ, so that we will long for that day.

  5. Oh dear, the Calvinist thing again? Really? If you Arminians want to enjoy free will then you must allow for a loving God to have created the *capacity* for evil; since Fallen angels and humans will necessarily tend to act in such a state. There’s inconsistency for ya!

    Regarding evil, I see just about everywhere in Scripture (being consistently non-dogmatic as a good Reformed Christian ought to be) that “evil” refers to not doing the will of God, rather than doing stuff that we don’t like. Thus, it is always evil to lie and/or gossip, but it is not evil to stick a sword into a fat guy’s guts – up to your elbow, even, then make a display of his remains – provided that is what God has asked you to do.

    Compare and contrast with “social justice” if you’d enjoy a Christmas giggle.

  6. I have no problem with God allowing evil and sin, I do have a problem with God ordaining it. Ordain is not allow, that is where I believe Reformed Theology gets off. Westminster Confession–God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. I don’t think that’s true.

    Andrew, your take on God’s will and social justice is indeed one of those fascinating things. Our appeasement to the world, for the sake of “not wanting to offend” or other such things, often leads us to deny God’s will even though it may look wonderfully spiritual and or loving. Judgment Day promises to be an enlightening experience!

  7. LOL Jeff … your last statement is the truth brother! It’s a grand thing that God’s ways are so far above either yours or mine that we’re neither of us correct in every aspect of our understanding all the time.

    Chapter 3 of the Confession speaks about God’s Eternal Decree as referring to the eternal salvation of the saints, not God’s ordaining which sock you or I will put on tomorrow … so I don’t think there’s any problem there (unless you choose blue, which will mean you’re doing “evil in the sight of the Lord” and will have to burn for all eternity!).

    It says “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph. 1:11, Rom. 11:33, Heb. 6:17, Rom. 9:15,18) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, (James 1:13,17, 1 John 1:5) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Acts 2:23, Matt. 17:12, Acts 4:27–28, John 19:11, Prov. 16:33)” Thus, you and I have no problem at all in regard to this when the Scriptural references are used as context for the English words … we are, I’m sure, in perfect agreement with all aspects of this actually says in full and in context.

    God does not ordain sin. No Reformed Christian could believe that. But this does not mean he never had thousands of people killed by his decree (including himself – God the Son – in order that his eternal purpose might be worked out) either. The trouble is that we tend to impose our own morality upon him and that’s just plain silly.

    Thus, social justice in many cases becomes more than simply loving others before ourselves following Christ’s example; it now includes a political dimension designed in accord with our own (fallen) morality aimed at achieving the societal reformation of every individual-in-community according to our personal mores and cultural biases. Socialists have the very same thing in mind!

    I like Russell P. Shedd’s take: “In the Bible, social justice has its raison d’être in man’s relationship to God and the revelation transmitted to man recorded in the Scriptures. God is the guarantor of the weak, protecting them against the insatiable ‘will to power’ in the strong.” In this regard I have no problem at all with SJ. My issue – as it was Christ’s issue, if I may be so bold – is with churchgoers who seek to impose their own flawed morality and cultural biases upon others in the name of God while all the while neglecting their relationship with him and his purposes. Now that is evil!

    Wishing your family and readers a blessed and joyous Christmas season!

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