The Evil Problem
How Can A Loving God Allow Evil Things to Happen?
The problem of evil is one of the most referenced critiques of the Christian worldview. After all, Christianity speaks of a Loving God who cares for every individual, yet that same God seems to stand by and watch atrocities happen to His children every day. With this train of thought, many people are then inclined to either believe that A) God is not as loving as He may seem or B) there is no God at all. By all means, it seems clear why someone who has never embraced the Gospels adopts this type of ideology. The truth of the matter is that the problem of evil does not compromise the Christian doctrine but rather, serves to illustrate the true brokenness of humanity while also displaying the even greater Love of God.
To begin understanding the problem of evil, it is essential to first get an idea of why and how evil exists in the first place. In the book of Genesis, God is noted to be the creator of all things and He calls His creation Good. Therefore, evil cannot and does not originate from God as He is the source of all things good.
Because God is the epitome of Goodness, the deviation from Him and His Will results in what we know as “evil”. Therefore, evil can be defined as the departure from the way God intends for things to be.
This departure from God is made possible because God has gifted humanity with free will, that is, the ability to make their own choices in any particular situation. Unfortunately, humanity has repeatedly chosen the choices that coincide with evil and wrongdoing, choices that lead to the death and suffering of other innocent human beings. When God gave us a creative and brilliant mind, we used it to create weapons of mass destruction and murder. When God gave us hands to use for His Glory, we insisted on using them for our own glory instead, no matter who we hurt in the process.
As a result of this departure from God, we now live in a world full of violence, hatred, suffering, and brokenness. Where is the loving and all-powerful God in all of this? Why doesn’t God simply stop people from doing bad things?
Firstly, consider the implications of this. If God removes the capacity to choose between right and wrong, He removes the capacity for free will. So what? At least no one can be hurt, right? At face value, sure, this may seem like a simple compromise. However, if God removes the free will of humanity, He would also be removing the ability for us to experience love itself. If we are forced to comply with a system in which there only exists one outcome, living as machines who have no choice but to carry out commands, we become beings incapable of love. In asking for a world with no free will, one would be asking for a world with no love. And because God is the source of Love, He desires to love us and have us love each other, and we therefore must have love in this world.
So if we must have free will, the question still remains. Is love really that important? Where is the Loving God in midst of suffering and evil?
It turns out, that love itself is the very answer to this question. God saw the brokenness and evil that humanity subjected itself to and instead of saying “Let them suffer for their consequences”, He decided to step into the evil world itself. Stepping off the majesty of His heavenly throne, He reduced Himself to a human and was treated horribly by so many around Him throughout His life. Not only that, but He also decided to enter the world at a time when the most gruesome and degrading method of execution known as crucifixion was utilized. He subjected Himself to crucifixion and bore the sins of mankind upon His back and in doing so, paid the price of healing the world and allowed for our wrongdoings to be forgiven.
If you have been betrayed by someone or physically assaulted, you can know that God has loved you enough to identify with your hurt and take that hurt upon Himself.
In the Christian worldview, the problem of evil is met by the solution of Jesus Christ who loves us so much that He decided to suffer alongside humanity so that He may know our brokenness, take it upon Himself and offer us refuge in such a violent world. Because of what God has done, evil does not have the final say.
In this story, even though the world is broken and evil, seemingly beyond repair, the love of God manifests and becomes apparent unlike anything else and proves to be greater than the suffering that afflicts us all. Through Christ who suffers with and for us, humanity can be sure that He is indeed the remedy to the problem of evil.
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