If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil In The World?

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    Why should we trust that God is good when so much around us is not good? If we say that there is a God and that he created us and everything we see, then we have to look at two questions: (1) How did evil got into the world? and (2) Why doesn’t God get rid of it? (See “Why does God allow evil to remain in the world?”) It’s a tricky question, because God is all-powerful, then he’d be able to do something about evil; unless of course, he was the author of evil. But if he created evil, then that would mean that he is not good. On the other hand, if God is good, then this would seem to inherently limit his power, because if he were all good and all-powerful, he would do something about the evil in the world.

    In the first case, we have a God who created evil and subjects his creation to horrible “acts of God” as we call hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, and other things in nature that are beyond our control. In the second case, we have a good and kind God who is simply powerless against the evil that is occurring. Both conclusions are problematic. The only reason I’d want to worship the first God is so that he wouldn’t squash me, zap me, or otherwise smite me. The only reason I’d pay attention to the other God is as a purveyor of warm fuzzies. But a powerless God isn’t really any more attractive the first variety.

    To stay in keeping with the God of the Bible, we must hold that he is both all-powerful and good. But then we have what we call “the problem of evil.” How is it that God is all-powerful and good and yet evil exists? Well, if it were up to God, there would be no evil. His nature is good and there is no way that he could create evil without doing something that is contrary to who he is. God can do anything, but we can always trust him to be consistent with himself—that is, to be good, just, merciful, and so forth.

    Where did evil come from, then, if God is good and he created everything? God created all of his creatures, even the angels, with the ability to choose. A very long time ago, some of them chose to not be in relationship with him. See, there was no evil in existence, but what they chose was “not God” as opposed to choosing God, and so evil came into the world as they chose “not God” and thus chose “not good” and “not good” equals evil. We all have a choice whether or not to be in relationship with him.

    Lucifer (another name for Satan) was called the “shining star, son of the morning.” He wanted to set his throne above God’s and “be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14, NLT). In doing this, he chose “not God” in that he tried to be God instead of worshiping God. Later in the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted human beings to follow his example with the desire to be like God (See Genesis 3:5, NLT). And the first humans disobeyed God and chose “not God”—“not good.” Evil was then born into the world, not because God created it, but because we did through exercising our will to choose God and instead we chose not to follow him.

    Of course, God knew that this could happen when he created us with a free will. But not having free will would have also ruled out loving freely. The magic of having someone love us is that even though they don’t have to, they choose to love us anyway. In order for love to be in the world, the potential for evil must necessarily exist, so that we can choose freely to love God. Thus evil was born into the world, not because God created it, but because through exercising our free will, human beings chose to go their own way.

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