Why God allows Evil in the world? (part 2)
The Bible is crystal clear that God is behind what we classify as good things as well as bad things or evil things.
God controls absolutely everything. There is no evil outside His plan. There is no evil outside His purpose. He knows everything that can be known, that is knowable. He has comprehensive power to do everything that can be done that is possible. That is what the Bible says about God. And in that perfect knowledge, power, and holiness, He expresses His perfect love.
But if God has both a full knowledge of evil and the full power to prevent it and still let it come into existence it means that He ordained it.
God wills evil to exist. But He did not create it. He could not create it. But He did not prevent it. He ordained it. He willed it. Why?… why would God do something like that? Because He had a purpose for it….a greater purpose.
We need to remember that God is not the author of sin, nor force the will of the creatures, nor is the contingency and liberty of second-hand causes taken away, so sinfulness proceeds only from the creature… and never from God who being most holy and righteous neither can be the author and approver of sin.
In the big picture Is God more glorious because of sin exists or less glorious? We have to think throughout all eternity will God be more glorified from His creatures because sin existed, or less glorified?
So the reason for God ordaining evil is really for the praise of His own glory. In other words we need to understand this , very important: “Would we understand the righteousness of God we didn’t understand unrighteousness?” Even Israel’s departure from the truth does no damage to God’s truth or God’s glory. Actually their unrighteousness made God’s righteousness all the more glorious. Why? Because the Gentile are been saved because of it. And so God by allowing unrighteousness is demonstrating righteousness.
God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Would we truly understand the love of God without sin? Would we understand the love of God in Christ to us if we did not understand how sinful and undeserving and wretched we are? Would we understand the significance of the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the cross for us? We would Not. The cross is the greatest display of the love of God, it is a massive display of the love of God against sin. Evil and sin in the world make the glory of Christ shine more than it would without it.
God demonstrates His love in a context of hate among enemies. God allowed evil to put His righteousness on display and consequently demonstrate His love and mercy toward the elect. And His wrath on display against unbelievers. Without sin in the world we would not know God as we do. God allowed sin so that He could display His wrath. His holy anger over sin, His judgment on sinners… in this world and in the next. Without sin, no display of righteousness, no display of love and no display of holiness.
Becouse of sin, we have mercy…we have grace, forgiveness and salvation. The whole reason God ordained evil to exist before the foundation of the world was for His own glory sake, so that forever and ever holy angels and redeemed saints would give Him His due glory in full comprehension of all His attributes.
His perfect love is demonstrated in the kind of love that loves enemy, rebel sinners.
In the end, God does everything for His own glory and He has been glorified throughout the whole earth by His people and He will be in the millennial earth and in the new heaven and the new earth. The greatest good, is God’s glory not our individual will. There’s no injustice with God. There’s no other explanation.
Why God allows Evil in the world? (part 1)
Christian must avoid presumptions regarding the cause of evil because the answer remains a big mystery. God assures his people that his decrees and actions are righteous and holy, and his dealing with mankind is just. But He seldom chooses to explain himself to his creatures.
Same people argue that evil and the Christian God cannot logically coexist because the existence of evil lead to a denial of the existence of God. Further since omnibenevolence , omnipotentcy and evil are incompatible.
The Christian answer is not perfect, is not complete but is still the best answer out there.
God is not only the transcendent creator of all things but he is also the providential sustainer of all things. Nothing happen outside God sovereign direction and control for “he works out everything in according to His purpose to his will”. EVIL , calamity , human suffering are all under God’s unique sustaining and controlling power. The Bible reveals that God’s sovereignty and also reveals moral RESPONSIBILITY from human beings for any wrongdoingthey do. These are two paradoxical truths are both taught in Scriptures, and how God works them out is only known to himself.
Now the cosmic plan of God involves evil, and evil is always under God’s control, but He never directly performs evil himself, God is not the author of evil, but He is just to hold his creatures accountable for the evil they do.
All of God’s great works: creation and redemption are intended to display God’s glory and sovereignty, God’s final prevailing over evil will be manifested. This prevailing has already began with the life and death and resurrection of the divine Jesus Christ, and sin and evil will be vanquished at the second coming of Jesus Christ where He will bring forward His new creation which will be free from evil and sin.
Where does evil came from?
The choices of God’s creatures resulted in evil.
Adam disobedience resulted in an alienation from God, which was manifested with spiritual and physical death of his race …descendants.
God does allow man to sin so that his glory in Christ Jesus can be fully manifested to his own elects. The greatest good for humanity comes out of the greatest act of evil: Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ God in human flesh came to reveal God’s love to humanity, though he was perfectly holy and blameless He was falsely accused, He was beaten, He was crucified. However God planned this horrible incident from all eternity past. Out of this incredible injustice came out the greatest good which is the redemption of sinners. So we see that God brought the greatest good out of the greatest act of evil.
SOMETIMES God can allow evil and suffering to get an unbeliever attention and ultimately to draw that person to himself.
God uses evil and suffering to facilitate the believer spiritual maturity and growth, so we see that God may bring discipline in the life of his children’s.
We as Christians know and we have assurance that
we never suffer alone and God is acquainted with the suffering, for God has suffered in Christ.
And believers are called to a life of faith in God despite the presence of evil and suffering around them, they don’t know what the future holds , but they know who holds the future. Faith is trusting in the character of God and his promise when circumstances are painful and confusing. The suffering of God in Christ is the solution to the problem of evil for human being.
If you have any questions or comments please list them below.
This is an old question, that has been debated over and over from many philosophers, psychologists and theologians alike, many books written on it. This question could be also answered simply with 3 words, but I think more beneficial to get a little more under the skin of it.
Psychologists assert that heinous crimes committed in society are not committed by evil people but by mentally sick people. In their view violent crimes has a basic pathological cause not a moral one. They reject the idea that sin and moral evil actively influences human nature.
Most religions don’t make any sense of it, in the east Buddhism states that suffering is not a reality is an illusion, Hinduism states that people suffer because of their attachments to the physical world, and the physical world is an illusion. According to Hindu thought once a person achieve the mystical state of mystical consciousness evil is absent. New age spirituality mind science Christians embraces the same view. But suffering is a stark reality in this world and mysticism provide little cushion for it. The history of the 20th century: Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Mao Tse tung provide objective evidence. Dismissing evil as an illusion is a departure from reality.
For Augustine evil is the privation, absence, lack of good. The vice of the soul in nothing but the absence of natural good. The source of evil is found in the corruption of the good that originally God made.
When I speak of evil, I have two kinds in mind, natural and moral. Natural evil we usually refer to as calamities: hurricanes, floods, disease, all the natural ways that death and misery strike without human cause. Moral evil we usually refer to as sin: murder, lying, adultery, stealing, all the ways that people fail to love each other. So what we are considering here is that God rules the world in such a way that all calamities and all sin remain in his ultimate control and therefore within his ultimate design and purpose.
But when a person settles it Biblically, intellectually and emotionally, that God has ultimate control of all things, including evil, and that this is gracious and precious beyond words, then a marvelous stability and depth come into that person’s life and they develop a “God-entranced world view.” When a person believes, with the Heidelberg Catechism (Question 27), that “The almighty and everywhere present power of God . . . upholds heaven and earth, with all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, all things, come not by chance, but by his fatherly hand” – when a person believes and cherishes that truth, they have the key to a God-entranced world view.
Life and death
The Bible treats human life as something God has absolute rights over. He gives it and takes it according to his will. We do not own it or have any absolute rights to it. It is a trust for as long as the owner wills for us to have it. To have life is a gift and to lose it is never an injustice from God, whether he takes it at age five or age ninety-five.
When Job lost his ten children at the instigation of Satan, he would not give Satan the ultimate causality. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). And, lest we think Job was mistaken, the author adds, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22 RSV).
In Deuteronomy 32:39 God says, “There is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” When David made Bathsheba pregnant, the Lord rebuked him by taking the child. 2 Samuel 12:15 says, “Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was sick . . . . Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died.” Life belongs to God. He owes it to no one. He may give it and take it according to his infinite wisdom. James says “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. . . . You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that'” (James 4:14-15; see 1 Samuel 2:6-7).
One of the calamities that threatens life is disease. In Exodus 4:11, God says to Moses, when he was fearful about speaking, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” In other words, behind all disease and disability is the ultimate will of God. Not that Satan is not involved; he is probably always involved one way or the other with destructive purposes (Acts 10:38). But his power is not decisive. He cannot act without God’s permission.
That is one of the points of Job’s sickness. When disease happened to Job, the text makes it plain that “Satan . . . afflicted Job with sores” (Job 2:7). His wife urged him to curse God. But Job said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity” (Job 2:10). And again the author of the book commends Job by saying, “In all this, Job did not sin with his lips.” In other words: this is a right view of God’s sovereignty over Satan. Satan is real and may have a hand in our calamities, but not the final hand, and not the decisive hand. James makes clear that God had a good purpose in all Job’s afflictions: “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose (telos) of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). So Satan may have been involved, but the ultimate purpose was God’s and it was “compassionate and merciful.”
This is the same lesson we learn from 2 Corinthians 12:7 where Paul says that his thorn in the flesh was a messenger of Satan, and yet was given for the purpose of his own holiness. “To keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me – to keep me from exalting myself!” Now, humility is not Satan’s purpose in this affliction. Therefore the purpose is God’s. Which means that Satan here is being used by God to accomplish his good purposes in Paul’s life.
There is no reason to believe that Satan is ever out of God’s ultimate control. Mark 1:27 says of Jesus, “He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” And Luke 4:36 says, “With authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.” In other words, no matter how real and terrible Satan and his demons are in this world, they remain subordinate to the ultimate will of God.
Another kind of calamity that threatens life and health is violent weather and conditions of the earth, like earthquakes and floods and monsoons and hurricanes and tornadoes and droughts. These calamities kill hundreds of thousands of people. The testimony of the Scriptures is that God controls the winds and the weather. “He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread” (Psalm 105:16). We see this same authority in Jesus. He rebukes the threatening wind and the sea, and the disciples say, “Even the wind and the sea obey Him” (Mark 4:39, 41).
Repeatedly in the Psalms God is praised as the one who rules the wind and the lightning. “He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers” (Psalm 104:4). “He makes lightnings for the rain, [he] brings forth the wind from His treasuries” (Psalm 135:7). “He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow . . . Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word” (Psalm 147:18; 148:8; see 78:26). Isaac Watts was right, “There’s not a plant or flower below but makes your glories known; and clouds arise and tempests blow by order from your throne.” Which means that all the calamities of wind and rain and flood and storm are owing to God’s ultimate decree. One word from him and the wind and the seas obey.
Another kind of calamity that threatens life is the action of destructive animals. When the Assyrians populated Samaria with foreigners, 2 Kings 17:25 says, “Therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them.” And in Daniel 6:22, Daniel says to the king, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths.” Other Scriptures speak of God commanding birds and bears and donkeys and large fish to do his bidding. Which means that all calamities that are owing to animal life are ultimately in the control of God. He can see a pit bull break loose from his chain and attack a child; and he could, with one word, command that its mouth be shut. Similarly he controls the invisible animal and plant life that wreaks havoc in the world: bacteria and viruses and parasites and thousands of microscopic beings that destroy health and life. If God can shut the mouth of a ravenous lion, then he can shut the mouth of a malaria-carrying mosquito and nullify every other animal that kills.
All other kinds of calamities
Other kinds of calamities could be mentioned but perhaps we should simply hear the texts that speak in sweeping inclusiveness about God’s control covering them all. For example, Isaiah 45:7 says God is the “The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.” Amos 3:6 says, “If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?” In Job 42:2, Job confesses, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” And Nebuchadnezzar says (in Daniel 4:35), “[God] does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What are you doing?'” And Paul says, in Ephesians 1:11, that God is the one “who works all things after the counsel of His will.”
And if someone should raise the question of sheer chance and the kinds of things that just seem to happen with no more meaning than the role of the dice, Proverbs 16:33 answers: “The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.” In other words, there is no such thing as “chance” from God’s perspective. He has his purposes for every roll of the dice in Las Vegas and every seemingly absurd turn of events in the universe.
This is why Charles Spurgeon, the London pastor from 100 years ago said,
I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes – that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens – that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence – the fall of . . . leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.
When Spurgeon was challenged that this is nothing but fatalism and stoicism, he replied,
What is fate? Fate is this – Whatever is, must be. But there is a difference between that and Providence. Providence says, Whatever God ordains, must be; but the wisdom of God never ordains anything without a purpose. Everything in this world is working for some great end. Fate does not say that. . . . There is all the difference between fate and Providence that there is between a man with good eyes and a blind man.
1.2 God’s Control over Moral Evil
Now consider the evidence for God’s control over moral evil, the evil choices that are made in the world. Again there are specific instances and then texts that make sweeping statements of God’s control.
For example, all the choices of Joseph’s brothers in getting rid of him and selling him into slavery are seen as sin and yet also as the outworking of God’s good purpose. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers when they fear his vengeance, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Psalm 105:17 says. The text says, “You meant evil against me.” Evil is a feminine singular noun. Then it says, “God meant it for good.” The word “it” is a feminine singular suffix that can only agree with the antecedent feminine singular noun, “evil.” And the verb “meant” is the same past tense in both cases. You meant evil against me in the past, as you were doing it. And God meant that very evil, not as evil, but as good in the past as you were doing it. And to make this perfectly clear, Psalm 105:17 says about Joseph’s coming to Egypt, “[God] sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.” God sent him. God did not find him there owing to evil choices, and then try to make something good come of it. Therefore this text stands as a kind of paradigm for how to understand the evil will of man within the sovereign will of God.
The death of Jesus offers another example of how God’s sovereign will ordains that a sinful act come to pass. Edwards says, “The crucifying of Christ was a great sin; and as man committed it, it was exceedingly hateful and highly provoking to God. Yet upon many great considerations it was the will of God that it should be done.” Then he refers to Acts 4:27-28, “Truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (see also Isaiah 53:10). In other words, all the sinful acts of Herod, Pilate, of Gentiles and Jews were predestined to occur.
Edwards ponders that someone might say that only the sufferings of Christ were planned by God, not the sins against him, to which he responds, “I answer, [the sufferings] could not come to pass but by sin. For contempt and disgrace was one thing he was to suffer. [Therefore] even the free actions of men are subject to God’s disposal.”
These specific examples (which could be multiplied by many more instances) where God purposefully governs the sinful choices of people are generalized in several passages. For example, Romans 9:16: “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” Man’s will is not the ultimately decisive agent in the world, God is. Proverbs 20:24: “Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way?” Proverbs 19:21: “Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.” Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.”
Therefore I conclude with Jonathan Edwards, “God decrees all things, even all sins.” Or, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:11, “He works all things after the counsel of His will.”
2.1 Is God the Author of Sin?
Edwards answers, “If by ‘the author of sin,’ be meant the sinner, the agent, or the actor of sin, or the doer of a wicked thing . . . . it would be a reproach and blasphemy, to suppose God to be the author of sin. In this sense, I utterly deny God to be the author of sin.” But, he argues, willing that sin exist in the world is not the same as sinning. God does not commit sin in willing that there be sin. God has established a world in which sin will indeed necessarily come to pass by God’s permission, but not by his “positive agency.”
God is, Edwards says, “the permitter . . . of sin; and at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, holy and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin, if it be permitted . . . will most certainly and infallibly follow.”
He uses the analogy of the way the sun brings about light and warmth by its essential nature, but brings about dark and cold by dropping below the horizon. “If the sun were the proper cause of cold and darkness,” he says, “it would be the fountain of these things, as it is the fountain of light and heat: and then something might be argued from the nature of cold and darkness, to a likeness of nature in the sun.” In other words, “sin is not the fruit of any positive agency or influence of the most High, but on the contrary, arises from the withholding of his action and energy, and under certain circumstances, necessarily follows on the want of his influence.”
Thus in one sense God wills that what he hates come to pass, as well as what he loves. Edwards says,
God may hate a thing as it is in itself, and considered simply as evil, and yet . . . it may be his will it should come to pass, considering all consequences. . . . God doesn’t will sin as sin or for the sake of anything evil; though it be his pleasure so to order things, that he permitting, sin will come to pass; for the sake of the great good that by his disposal shall be the consequence. His willing to order things so that evil should come to pass, for the sake of the contrary good, is no argument that he doesn’t hate evil, as evil: and if so, then it is no reason why he may not reasonably forbid evil as evil, and punish it as such.
This is a fundamental truth that helps explain some perplexing things in the Bible, namely, that God often expresses his will to be one way, and then acts to bring about another state of affairs. God opposes hatred toward his people, yet ordained that his people be hated in Egypt (Genesis 12:3; Psalm 105:25 – “He turned their hearts to hate his people.”). He hardens Pharaoh’s heart, but commands him to let his people go (Exodus 4:21; 5:1; 8:1). He makes plain that it is sin for David to take a military census of his people, but he ordains that he do it (2 Samuel 24:1; 24:10). He opposes adultery, but ordains that Absalom should lie with his father’s wives (Exodus 20:14; 2 Samuel 12:11). He forbids rebellion and insubordination against the king, but ordained that Jeroboam and the ten tribes should rebel against Rehoboam (Romans 13:1; 1 Samuel 15:23; 1 Kings 12:15-16). He opposes murder, but ordains the murder of his Son (Exodus 20:13; Acts 4:28). He desires all men to be saved, but effectually calls only some (1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Corinthians 1:26-30; 2 Timothy 2:25).
What this means is that we must learn that God wills things in two different senses. The Bible demands this by the way it speaks of God’s will in different ways. Edwards uses the terms “will of decree” and “will of command.” Edwards explains:
[God’s] will of decree [or sovereign will] is not his will in the same sense as his will of command [or moral will] is. Therefore it is not difficult at all to suppose that the one may be otherwise than the other: his will in both senses is his inclination. But when we say he wills virtue, or loves virtue or the happiness of his creature; thereby is intended that virtue or the creature’s happiness, absolutely and simply considered, is agreeable to the inclination of his nature. His will of decree is his inclination to a thing not as to that thing absolutely and simply, but with reference to the universality of things. So God, though he hates a things as it is simply, may incline to it with reference to the universality of things.
This brings us to the final question and already points to the answer.
2.2 Why Does God Ordain that there Be Evil?
It is evident from what has been said that it is not because he delights in evil as evil. Rather he “wills that evil come to pass . . . that good may come of it.” What good? And how does the existence of evil serve this good end? Here is Edwards’ stunning answer:
It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God’s glory should be complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all. . . .
Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.
If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God’s holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it. There would be no manifestation of God’s grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he bestowed, his goodness would not be so much prized and admired. . . .
So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.
So the answer to the question in the title of this message, “Is God less glorious because he ordained that evil be?” is no, just the opposite. God is more glorious for having conceived and created and governed a world like this with all its evil. The effort to absolve him by denying his foreknowledge of sin (as we saw this afternoon) or by denying his control of sin (which we have seen this evening) is fatal, and a great dishonor to his word and his wisdom. Evangelicals who are seeking the glory of God, look well to the teaching of your churches and your schools. But most of all, look well to your souls.
If you would see God’s glory and savor his glory and magnify his glory in this world, do not remain wavering before the sovereignty of God in the face of great evil. Take his book in your hand, plead for his Spirit of illumination and humility and trust, and settle this matter, that you might be unshakable in the day of your own calamity. My prayer is that what I have said will sharpen and deepen your God-entranced world view, and that in the day of your loss you will be like Job who, when he lost all his children, fell down and worshipped, and said, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”