Stephen: If God is good, then why did He create evil?
Pastor Joel: God did not actually create evil, but He created a world that had the potential for evil. Let me explain.
Genesis 1:31 God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
Genesis 2:15-17 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 3:4-7 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened…
Romans 5:12-21 By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…
- God is absolutely perfect.
- God created only perfect creatures.
- One of the perfections God gave some of his creatures was the power of free choice.
- Some of these creatures freely chose to do evil.
- Therefore, a perfect creature caused evil.
Stephen: I am confused, because didn’t God create all things? Then who created evil?
Evil is not a thing like a rock or a tree, but a corruption of the good thing that God made…like rust on a car or rot to a tree. It is a lack of goodin good things, but it is not a thing in itself. Evil is like a wound in an arm or moth-holes in a garment. It exists only in another but not in itself.
- God created every thing.
- Evil is not a thing (but a lack of good, from within a thing).
- We must conclude based upon what Pastor Joel said earlier when he referred to Genesis, and our understanding of evil, that, God did not create evil
Stephen: Why did God not immediately remove evil?
Victor: God cannot literally destroy all evil without annihilating free choice…even though God could not destroy (annihilate) all evil without destroying all good, nevertheless, he can and will defeat (overcome) all evil without destroying free choice. God cannot do what is actually impossible.
- It is actually impossible to destroy evil without destroying free choice.
- But free choice is necessary to a moral universe.
- Therefore, God cannot destroy evil without destroying this good moral universe.
Stephen: So then will God ever remove evil?
Victor: Yes, God will, and He will do it through the gospel.
Ephesians 4:13-14 Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace,
Colossians 3:13-15 You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
- The Gospel gives us peace with God
- The Gospel puts us right with God.
- God puts the Spirit and a new nature in every person who trusts in the gospel, and begins the work of making them righteous through sanctification.
- When we die, and are resurrected, He will finish the work by conquering the grave and corruption.
Stephen: Can evil be used to accomplish good?
Pastor Eric: No evil is good, but some evil has a good purpose…God knows a good purpose for all evil, even if we do not. Just because, finite minds cannot see a good purpose for some evil does not mean that there is none… This inability to see the purpose for evil does not disprove God’s goodness; it merely reveals our ignorance.
Just one of many examples:
Genesis 50:19-20 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
- An all-good God has a good purpose for everything.
- There is some evil which we see no good purpose.
- However, there is a good purpose for all evil, even if we do not see it.
Stephen: How do we explain evil in nature?
Pastor Joel: Do you mean, why are there tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes where many innocent people are killed?
Romans 8:18-23 The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
- Some suffering is brought on directly by our own free choice. The choice to abuse my body can result in sickness.
- Some suffering is brought on indirectly by free choice. The choice to be lazy can result in poverty.
- Some physical evil to others can result from our free choice, as in the case of spouse or child abuse.
- Others suffer indirectly because of our free choice. Alcoholism can lead to poverty of one’s children.
- Some physical evil may be a necessary byproduct of a good process. Rain, hot air, and cool air are all necessary for food and life, but a byproduct of these forces is a tornado.
- Some physical evil may be a necessary condition for attaining a greater moral good. God uses pain to get our attention. Many have come to God through suffering.
- Some physical suffering may be a necessary condition of a greater moral good. Just as diamonds are formed under pressure, even so is character.
Stephen: How could the fall actually accomplish good?
Victor: A tested world is better than an untested one. In a perfect world, how will understand these qualities?
Romans 11:33-36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Stephen: How would you challenge our audience?
Think about Job: We have no right to say that God is wrong in what He allows.
Job 40:1-5 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Think about the words of Christ: Evil in the world reminds us that we will be judged.
Luke 13:1-5 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.