All religions that believe in a creator god are faced with the basic question, “If a god or God created us then why did he allow evil?” Do Christians have an answer? In addition, for those who believe God is all-powerful, all-knowing, always present, and is love itself why did He allow or even ordain evil?
Theologians have tried to answer these questions in many ways for many years. The short answer is nobody knows for certain. Below are some thoughts.
I jokingly say: trying to understand God is like your dog trying to understand why their master is throwing a frisbee. Your dog does not know why but it knows it is fun to catch. Likewise, your dog doesn’t understand why dropping a deuce on the floor is bad but it knows it will be corrected. Remember, this is a joke! Lighten up.
Man is not a dog. Man is made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) However, He is still so far above us we cannot comprehend His ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9 & Romans 11:33) To put it in human terms, does a 2-year-old understand their parents?
It does not matter if you believe God predestined all things (including the evil that comes to pass) or if you believe you have a will that is free and God lets evil happen. In either case, we all agree God is powerful enough to keep evil from happening.
Everyone will try to resolve the problem in their own way. I can only share the way I think about it. It starts with the understanding of God. We all envision who and what God is in our own way. However, Christians agree on certain characteristics of God.
Previously we have discussed the “Omni attributes” of God. You know, the all-knowing, present, and powerful God. This is something that is worth thinking about deeply before getting further into the discussion. Until we have a good understanding of the implications of the Omni attributes of God we fumble in the darkness.
What I am suggesting below is the way I view pain and evil. Since we are beyond our finite understanding we might be best served using our imagination. This may or may not lead to the correct answer but perhaps is worth considering.
If all things came from God and all things answer to God then there is no pain or evil that can exist beyond that which He can make better.
Imagine, if you can, that no matter what pain and suffering we experience in this life God can make it better. He can do this as easily as a loving parent kissing the boo-boo on the knee of their child.
If you have seen a 2 year old scream and cry only to have been kissed and made all better you know what I mean. In minutes the trauma is over and soon the child doesn’t even remember it happening. (Isaiah 25:8 and Revelation 21:4)
However, a kiss is NOT how He decided to do it. What God did do, according to the Christian faith, was He sent his only begotten son to make it all better. A dear friend often says that he stands in amazement at the method God used. I agree. God could have done it some other way rather than sacrificing Jesus!
The next time you see or experience suffering remember the suffering of Christ. Even if the pain is past pain and your heart has been ripped out remember His heart was also ripped out. God knows our suffering and experienced it first hand. He has reconciled all things through Jesus. Colossians 1:19-20
Many who read this have suffered great physical and or emotional pain. Some have seen war, others have lost loved ones and most have felt other forms of anguish, betrayal, and physical pain. We are not alone in our pain. God Himself has experienced it with us. He has suffered for us and with us, and has reconciled all things to Himself in the end.
I do hope contemplating this brings you some peace. If you have thought of it differently please feel free to comment below.