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For many skeptics, the problem of evil is the biggest hurdle to believing in God. David Hume put it memorably:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?

Christians have a difficult time with this too, no matter what response we offer.

  • If your answer is free will, then why did God create a world in which, through His foreknowledge, He knew people would reject Him and cause untold suffering?
  • If the answer is “to bring about a greater good,” then why is so much suffering (so much of it seemingly gratuitous) necessary?

Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov didn’t think either answer satisfying. In one of the most poetic descriptions of the end of time, Ivan imagines the Christian answer:

I have a childlike conviction that the sufferings will be healed and smoothed over, that the whole offensive comedy of human contradictions will disappear like a pitiful mirage… and that ultimately, at the world’s finale, in the moment of eternal harmony, there will occur and be revealed something so precious that it will suffice for all hearts, to allay all indignation, to redeem all human villainy, all bloodshed; it will suffice not only to make forgiveness possible, but also to justify everything that has happened with men.

But then, Ivan adamantly rejects this vision:

Let all of this come true and be revealed, but I do not accept it and do not want to accept it!

Why? He can’t imagine a greater ending that would make present suffering worth it – particularly the suffering of innocent children. He tells the story of an abused little girl and then makes clear his reasons for rejecting Christianity:

Can you understand why a little creature, who can’t even understand what’s done to her, should beat her little aching heart with her tiny fist in the dark and the cold, and weep her meek unresentful tears to dear, kind God to protect her? Do you understand why this infamy must be and is permitted? Without it, I am told, man could not have existed on earth, for he could not have known good and evil. Why should he know that diabolical good and evil when it costs so much? Why, the whole world of knowledge is not worth that child’s prayer to dear, kind God’!

“It costs so much.” For many, that is the rub.

Even Christians have a hard time with this.

  • Why does God permit human evil to spread?
  • Why did He knowingly create a world He knew would be broken?
  • Why did He knowingly create people He knew would turn against Him and bring destruction upon themselves and the world?

Whether the response given is the “free will” defense or the “greater good” scenario, the heart of humanity still wonders, Is it worth it? Is it worth the cost?

The angels seem to think so.

In 1 Peter 1:12, the apostle tells us the angels long to look into the gospel reality we experience. We don’t know why, but God chose not to provide salvation for the fallen angels. They fell and remain fallen.

But the innocent angels, those who didn’t bow the knee to Satan’s schemes, those who didn’t join the heavenly revolt against the Maker of all things – they look wistfully at the experience of redemption that we know through the gospel. 

In other words, there is something greater about being fallen and raised again than merely being innocent.

There’s something more beautiful about redemption than innocence.

There’s something more attractive about grace to the undeserving than reward for the meritorious.

There’s something more amazing about restoring peace to a shattered world than maintaining peace in pristine conditions.

Maybe in our heart of hearts, we can’t get past the problem of evil because we don’t know the full extent of the beauty of redemption. We have a hard time drilling into our hearts the eternal perspective of Paul, who said the sufferings of this present time – as horrific as they are – cannot be compared to the glory of the future (Rom. 8).

Sometimes, you feel like you’ve got to turn from preaching to poetry. To that end, here’s how Andrew Peterson reflects on this question:

And when the world is new again
And the children of the King
Are ancient in their youth again
Maybe it’s a better thing
A better thing

To be more than merely innocent
But to be broken then redeemed by love
Maybe this old world is bent
But it’s waking up
And I’m waking up

‘Cause I can hear the voice of one
He’s crying in the wilderness
“Make ready for the Kingdom Come”
Don’t you want to thank someone for this?

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39 thoughts on “Do the Angels Solve the Problem of Evil?”

  1. Theo K says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

    Thank you so much for this!

  2. a. says:

    “Don’t you want to thank someone for this?”

    I know that the LORD is great and that our Lord is above all gods! Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps! Ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He!

    For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD;for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

    What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

    ..the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief;when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”

    Isa 55:8-9;53:10a;Rom 9:14;20;2 Pet1:17;Deut 32:3b-4;Ps 135:5-6

  3. Bill Smith says:

    You hit on some very deep questioning. I wonder why you don’t drill down to the deepest question in your musings. The more troubling question, in my opinion, is not why does God allow this suffering or so much suffering. The deeper question for is why does God ordain it. If we believe in “ordains whatever comes to pass,” then we must face the full force of our belief. I don’t see how we can avoid answering that God must at the level of ultimate reasons want this world (complete with every detail). If that is the case, then it seems to me that we have to say that God has a good reason for what he ordains. It must be for some greater good through we may not be able to imagine what that good is.

    1. Steve B. says:

      Indeed, quite a dilemma. Apparently, God expects us to ask “why” concerning evil. (That helps me) His reply is consistent, but difficult for us because we are out of our depth from the beginning. Here are some things that have helped me from Jeremiah, Job, and Paul.

      (1) Jeremiah. Jer. 29:14. “I am a God who will let myself be found out by you.” God wants us to pursue and know Him. (even uses evil as with sin, captivity and exile to draw us) The awful magnitude of the mystery portends the glory and completeness of the resolution.

      (2) Job. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…” Job 42:3.

      Job’s experience of evil brought about deep humility, repentance, and respect for God as rightfully sovereign over Job’s life. God permissively allows evil because He is holy, omniscient, and all-powerful. Often knowlege of God can only follow experience with Him. The pain for Job was very real and terrible. The end (beyond Job’s life) is more wonderful than he/we could/can know.

      (3) Paul. “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…” (Acts 17:26,27) God designs all of life to draw us to Him – national, historical, and personal evil is part of that design.

      So, two conclusions: (1) you can’t have men with free will without evil, and (2) God uses evil as a backdrop to reveal His glory (what He’s really like) especially in how He draws us to Himself.

    2. Dee M says:

      Bill, you are right. The title asked, “Do the Angels Solve the Problem of Evil?” The article didn’t answer that question or any other that it posed throughout the writing. At the end, I was left feeling like I had just read an introduction to something that was to be developed later in the body of an essay.

      Saying that angels can see the value of salvation, at least to me, gives no greater insight into why God has ordained/allowed evil/suffering in this world. That “answer,” at least to me, is no more satisfying than when a redeemed person says that God allows evil and suffering to “bring about a greater good,” or that someday, as Paul wrote in Romans 8, we will see that our present suffering will not compare to the glory of the future. I trust that these answers are true, but what about the little girl who was abused, for example, who is still perplexed as to why God allowed a predator to abuse her. Or to a sex slave who is not able to see the future glory when she is being raped 20 times or more a night. Where is the comfort for them in the present?

      Although it may sound it, I don’t speak as an indictment against Mr. Wax. It is just that he nor anyone else has ever been able to answer this question for me. In order to engage skeptics or even hurting Christians, I would like another answer. Perhaps I will just have to accept that there may not be an answer to this question on this side of eternity.

  4. AJG says:

    David Hume put it memorably…

    It was Epicurus and the whole paradox is as follows:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?

    Ivan Karamozov’s challenge is what started me on my path to atheism. It’s the most ironclad argument against the idea of a good god ever put to pen. He challenges his brother, Alyosha, an Orthodox monk, with the following question:

    “Tell me yourself, I challenge your answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature- that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance- and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”

    Who would ever answer in the affirmative?

    1. Bill says:

      And if there is no God, then no objective good or evil. We can solve one question and raise another one just as deep, or deeper. How can our heartfelt outrage at such a world be anything other than our refusal to accept the world as it is.

      1. Richard Hunt says:

        To deny God exists only serves to make the one who denies a god unto himself. The Bible calls this one a “fool”.

        1. AJG says:

          The Bible says many things, most of which are untrue. The God of Genesis was a God that walked and talked with men. The God of Exodus was a God who lived on a fiery mountain top. The God of the Exile spoke through prophets. The God of the New Testament was a man who died on a cross. The God of the Middle Ages spoke through priests and lived in the heavens far from man. The God of our present day is an immaterial being that cannot be detected by physical means. Why has God retreated and become less every time mankind has learned more about how the world really works? Could it be that there is no God and as we gain knowledge about the universe and our place in it, there is less and less to ascribe to this God? It certainly seems that way to me.

      2. EAuster says:

        AJG is right. It was Epicurus, ~200 BCE who stated the Problem of Evil.
        For Bill: One does not need to believe in god to feel empathy for one’s fellow creatures in pain.
        For Trevin, your answer here is still only for believers. It does not negate earthly or eternal suffering that is taught by orthodox christianity. The scope of the problem of evil considers at minimum ALL humans, regardless of their belief system.
        Unless you leave the door open for universalism?

      3. AJG says:

        And if there is no God, then no objective good or evil.

        So what? I’m a better judge of what is right and wrong than the God who orders the slaughter of infants. I’d rather go with my subjective gut than the “objective” God of the Bible.

        1. Jeff Meyer says:

          > So what? I’m a better judge of what is right and wrong than the God..

          So, would you accept me saying “So what, I’m a better judge of right and wrong than you…”

          Why should we accept your definition over any other definition?

    2. Johnny Appleton says:

      Curious thing is that the athies have to use the Christians own terms in their arguments, since if you believe the universe just sprang into existence out of nowhere for no reason, then there is no standard of absolutes and no real definition of right and wrong/good and evil (for instance, I consider killing the unborn to be evil, but some would consider abortion “good”. Without a Christian’s framework of right and wrong, which one is it? Majority rule? 51/49 percent so then it’s “good”, but if it flips it’s suddenly “evil”? Nonsense.)

      If you don’t believe in a theistic model of the universe then you have no right to argue in terms of good and evil. Those are dilemmas unique to the believer in God. For the skeptical athie there is only random, nonsensical meaningless of an orderly universe that just exploded into existence out of nowhere for no reason, and the insane lunacy of trying to answer how there could be something from nothing in the first place (“Quantum created the universe? What created Quantum and so on…) Figure that one out rationally first and then address moral questions.

      1. AJG says:

        You are correct that there are no absolutes; there are only preferences. The best measure of what constitutes right and wrong is the recognition that other people are conscious beings like your yourself and have the same wants and needs. The Golden Rule predates Christianity by many centuries and is still the best model be which to build a moral foundation towards others.

        I have as much right to argue my preferences as the Christian. The free exchange of ideas is the only method we have for establishing civilization. Certainly, the Bible is not an objective standard for establishing moral behavior unless you consider slavery and rape to be acceptable sometimes.

        Particles spring into existance all the time at the quantum level, so I don’t see why the universe could not have sprang into existence as well. It’s certainly no more absurd than saying God did it. Who made God? If God was never created, then why assume the universe needed a creator? Perhaps out universe is just an endlessly repeating cycle of life, death and rebirth. At least the universe exists (as best we can tell). There’s no evidence of an immaterial God.

        1. jigawatt says:

          “… there are no absolutes; there are only preferences”

          Followed immediately by,

          “The best measure of what constitutes right and wrong is …”

          And then,

          “The Golden Rule … is still the best model …”

          Is this simply your own personal preference for what is best, or is it an absolute?

          1. AJG says:

            Is this simply your own personal preference for what is best, or is it an absolute?

            Given that I stated that there are no absolutes, of course it is my own preference. That’s all anyone has.

          2. jigawatt says:

            But you think that your preference is superior to some other preferences, right? Like if somebody said “The best measure of right and wrong is if it benefits me personally, even at the expense of others”, your way is better?

            In order to judge between two competing standards of morality, you have to presuppose a higher up “super-morality”. Otherwise, what does “best” or “superior” mean in that context?

          3. jigawatt says:

            The point, AJG, is that you claim “it’s all just preferences” and then go tell everyone how their preferences are wrong.

            If you really believed that morality is only a preference, why the hate? Do you peruse music blogs and berate those who like the wrong styles of music? Do you go to food sites and chide folks for their incorrect culinairy tastes? I’m guessing no. But you do come here and tell everybody how they and their god are just wrong in their moral inclinations.

            But why? In your heart of hearts you do indeed believe in absolutes. You pass judgment on God and His followers, and for what? Saying tomahto instead of tomato? The sooner you admit that you also are an absolutist, the better.

        2. Brent Johnson says:

          Particles spring into being from a vacuum which isn’t nothing. In Physics a vacuum is energy that is violently moving but under physical laws and with a physical structure. To say the universe comes into being from models using this theory still have it springing into being from something.
          It’s almost surreal when atheists reject God for the evil done in the world then try to convince me there is no objective evil. It’s intellectual suicide.

    3. Jeff Meyer says:

      But Karamozov’s answer betrays his ignorance in one simple word – “unavenged”. Only in the case of “no God” are those tears unavenged!

      Deuteronomy 32:35 –

      Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
      for the time when their foot shall slip;
      for the day of their calamity is at hand,
      and their doom comes swiftly.’

      1. AJG says:

        How are the tears of a Hindu child born in suffering and poverty avenged? Assume she’s never heard of Jesus. Her short life of suffering on this earth is nothing compared to the eternity of suffering that awaits her upon death according to Christian orthodoxy. That’s what passes for divine justice to the Christian.

        1. Eauster says:

          I appreciate the indulgence of the blog moderators for allowing frank discussion here. That said, AJG here has correctly stated what the headline of this post promised to discuss.
          THIS is the Problem of Evil, it is a proven logical paradox that has been assailed for centuries. Look it up. It has never been answered in 2000+ years, certainly not in this post.
          According to orthodox christian teaching, a 2 year old hindu child who suffers from disease and malnutrition and dies and goes to hell is not problematic. But it is for me. 1) her suffering is known by god, 2) her suffering is preventable by god, 3) her suffering is not alleviated by god 4) her suffering does not magnify god’s glory 5) her suffering and death do not draw her to faith in christ 6) her short impoverished and fevered life, and subsequent suffering in hell was fully and completely known and ordained by god from the foundations of the world.
          How often has this scenario occurred in the entire history of our planet? Billions is a safe estimate.

          If that’s not a problem for you, I must question your morality. (And you won’t be babysitting for my children.)

          Mr. Wax states above that evil and suffering exist, and that scripture tells us that angels have a slightly good seat to the possibilities by which god will avenge and repair the suffering of evil FOR BELIEVERS. This is new information? Unbelievers suffer evil too, yet are not avenged, and in fact suffer twice at the hands of god. Once in this life, and forever in the next.

          For myself as an atheist or unbeliever who sees suffering, I feel a responsibility to alleviate it, as this world is all there is. Empathy compels me. Not religious reward, or obedience to an unseen deity who monitors my thoughts.

          No “his ways are higher” rejoinder will work here. Not when christianity purports to know so much about everything else. Christianity’s track record in the fields of science, the universe, medicine and other forms of reality is not good. “His ways are higher” and “we can’t understand” only gets trotted out when all the apologetics and textual evidence and systematic theologies, prooftexting and doctrines that supposedly answer every OTHER question clearly fail even the most astutue religious believer.

          No religious doctor looks at a disease and says, “well, his ways are higher.” Why not?

          May I use “his ways are higher” when I do not understand my fellow man’s suffering? May I stop supporting wells in Africa and orphan care in South America, and whatever other aid I sometimes give to my fellow primates?

          I think not. I will look for realistic answers and solutions to alleviate suffering here and now. If my child is hit by a car, I want an ambulance, not a religious person to rush up and pray.

          I know some of you are quite intelligent and can see the reality here. I appeal to your better natures. They do not require a belief in god in fact, they can become quite twisted because of this belief, as many a dead child of american faith healing congregations are buried now, in mute witness to.

    4. Steve B. says:

      Epicurus argument is invalid; a straw man built on false assumptions.

      God is both able and willing. But He is also more than that. He is God. There is more to the issue than ability and willingness. Look more closely at the lives of Moses, Joseph, David, Job, Paul. And Jesus. Great evil, but God gloriously redeems and men are saved.

      If we could know as God knows. If we could love as God loves. Then we would do what God does.

      1. AJG says:

        God is both able and willing. But He is also more than that. He is God.

        Saying God is God is a meaningless statement and a dodge of the issue at hand. Semmingly mindless suffering exists. A supposedly sovereign God ordains all that comes to pass. Yet, he is somehow blameless for said suffering? What Christians call a “mystery” is better termed a logical fallacy and an impossibility.

      2. AJG says:

        If we could know as God knows. If we could love as God loves. Then we would do what God does.

        If there was evidence of such a God, this might be so; however, there is no evidence of such a God and the evidence we can observe (like suffering) points to his non-existence.

        1. Brad C. says:

          AJG, It seems to me your arguments against God are all essentially the same. “I would never do that, so there can’t be a God who is loving.” May I point out, as the bible frequently does, that God’s ways are not our ways. Why should they be? Have you no beginning? Do you have the knowledge and power to create and understand the whole of material existence??? Why would YOU or I expect to understand an entity so far beyond us? We are less than babies to God. We can only ever know what God tells us about himself. Best wishes!

          1. AJG says:

            AJG, It seems to me your arguments against God are all essentially the same. “I would never do that, so there can’t be a God who is loving.”

            Isn’t that the root of the Problem of Evil – i.e. why would God allow evil? Simply saying “God’s ways are a mystery” might be satisfying to the true believer who is looking for reinforcement of his pre-existing beliefs, but it is no answer for those seeking a sensible solution to the PoE.

          2. Brad C. says:

            Well, I wouldn’t say it “reinforces” my belief, more that it counteracts my disbelief because I see it is irrational to doubt God for that particular reason. You said in one of your posts that God’s ordaining evil was what sent you toward doubt. Setting the precondition “I will only believe in a God I can understand” puts you into a catch-22. You can understand a God you make up, a wooden sculpture perhaps, but it isn’t the real creator. You can’t understand the REAL creator so you won’t believe in him. I can give you several speculations on pain. That heaven’s goodness grossly overwhelms the badness of earth? That God eventually justifies the injustices of this world? I doubt you’ll find those satisfying. What I’m trying to say is, there are lots of reasons to believe in God, and pain is no reason to disbelieve him. Tim Keller would probably say, put thoughts of the PoE aside and ask yourself about Jesus. Did Jesus rise from the dead? If so you better accept what he said. I’m convinced that he did. I’m also convinced that God’s ways are better than my ways. I can try to be “moral” without God, but inevitably it caves in to selfishness. I will be nice to some people if it makes me feel good, but as soon as someone aggravates/annoys me I will hurt them to my great pleasure. Only out of my overwhelming joy/humility over Christ’s work on the cross do I find the ability and motivation to love my enemies and the unlovable.

          3. AJG says:

            Tim Keller would probably say, put thoughts of the PoE aside and ask yourself about Jesus. Did Jesus rise from the dead? If so you better accept what he said. I’m convinced that he did.

            Hi Brad. I certainly don’t believe Jesus died and was resurrected. The gospels are not reliable testimonies in that they are anonymously authored and contradict one another. In order to validate a claim that defies all the known biological, chemical, and physical laws of nature (like returning to life after three days of being dead), one would need overwhelming evidence. If you’re being rational, one couldn’t possibly believe such a thing without a lot of proof. That type of evidence does not exist. What we have are some stories that look a lot like other Middle Eastern myths that were written and distributed when superstition ruled the day. The evidence for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is as scant as that of Mohammed flying to heaven on a winged horse.

            Anyway, I don’t want to get too far off the subject (PoE). The historicity of Jesus is another topic altogether (and one that does not help the believer, either). Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. Good article no doubt. Of course evil exists in the
    Spiritual realm but what about the evil that man has perpetuated on his fellow man? It’s getting old when people put all the faults of mankind at the feet of God. Man can be fruitful and living and dedicated to goodness and man can be evil. Of course Satan has a hand in it but he merely sets the stage we pull the strings.

  6. Beautiful. Grateful, and all the more for the inclusion of the offering of one of my favorite poet/artist/musician/authors.

    I have a hard time not answering all of these questions with ‘Thou arrogant and small-minded fool.’, but I do not because as much as it might shock someone out of their self-focused thinking, the risk is far greater that a heart will be hurt and hardened.

    I reject the questions, but because I reject the a priori argument that we can and should understand such things. The arrogance of believing that we can somehow fathom all that is with our tiny little malfunctioning minds of clumps of cells, in our little microcosm established by God with constructs such as linear time and physical sensation existing so that we, in such limited and finite capacity can function and grasp even a portion of what ‘is’, astounds me. The real false a priori argument is that we believe that ‘this’ is all that there ‘is’.

    So, let us assume for a moment that our world and our lives are simply a construct created by God for a purpose and that that purpose is -not- for us to understand all… In doing so, all our questions become foolish, do they not?

    What if we instead start with the a priori assumptions that a) we cannot understand currently and b) God does and that He is all the things He has told us that he is. Would not a better response be to embrace the promises He has made to us, that our lives here are brief and to a purpose that we may not know or understand?

    The theme of academia and pseudo intellectualism has seemed to me to boil down to nothing greater and nothing less than an arrogant gnosticism… nothing greater in that it serves itself with no noble purpose, which gives nothing but attempts to take all, and nothing less in that it should not be given a pass or excuse for its crimes on the argument of ignorance. Even ignorance possesses a certain nobility, but arrogance possesses and serves only itself. It can allow -nothing- that to be accepted would hint of humility.

    They are denied the very wonderful blessing of being able to say, “I just do not know, and I may not be able to know, but I’m willing to trust to one that is greater.” What freedom. Gone is the abusive imperative that I’ve seen tear people apart as they fight to achieve an ideal that defies reality, never realizing that they’ve lost the race before they’ve begun.

    We let academics establish a limited framework and then try to convince us that something that is unlimited and not explained by/within that limited framework must therefore not be true. I reject their assumptions as foolish and in doing so, their conclusions as even more so.

    1. I wonder if there is not some wonderful promise that can be taken from the “Love Chapter” 1 Corinthians 13 (NASB)

      8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

      What if this is God telling us through Paul that we have the freedom of accepting that we are being protected as children, able to see only this tiny portion with our tiny brains so that we are not overwhelmed and burnt out like the filament in an incandescent bulb? Telling us that there is a promise that there will come a day when we will be changed in such a way as to be able to grasp more (all?) and the childish things… the restrictions placed on us by a loving father who knows that we lack the judgement not to run out into the street after our stray ball, or to not pet the strange dog that may be viscious, that are useful for the season, shall be put aside, and the restrictions lifted as we graduate from one stage to the next.

      I hesitate to share this thought because it seems somewhat incongruous with what I see everywhere as the ‘understood’ meaning of this passage. I prefer to take the ‘understood’ meaning as established and use that in purely a speculative sense… so far as it is useful. It does seem to be a metaphor for our lives on this rock… It does seem to be a metaphor that explains away all the difficulties we have with “If God is X, why does he Y?” with the simple answer that “He loves us and we currently lack the maturity, sophistication, and capacity to understand, and if we simply trust that He loves, we can rest on that truth.”

  7. Trina L. Grant says:

    In my musings and prayer on this topic I have come to some conclusions. God loves us all and gives us the desires of our hearts. If we desire a relationship with Him, it is there for the taking. Likewise, if the desire of our hearts is to suit ourselves, and if necessary, in the process hurt others, we are given that choice.

    The faulty thinking is that because God allows evil, He endorses it. Being that we are made in the image of God, I have always thought that His intentions with free will closely match the way we think. Most people who fall within the bell curve of what society considers “normal” do not want to be loved because they force it out of someone. We all want to be loved out of pure motives, just because another is for some reason enamored with the likes of each us.

    If God did force people to love Him, it would be cause for resentment. In His wisdom, he made sure to give us the choice to love Him, allowing us to come to Him willingly. The same is true for acts of evil. It is so easy to blame God for allowing evil, since He is all-powerful. Doesn’t it make more sense to blame the person choosing to do evil? They have a choice, and they choose to do bad. And since there are varying degrees of what people consider to be evil, who would be the utlimate decision-maker when it came to freedoms of will?

    God either allows all or nothing. “Everything is permissable, not everything is advisable.” We make the choice whether or not to commit evil. Blaming God for allowing our choices is often a cherry-picking tactic. We want God to allow us free will to live our lives, so what things would we have Him decide for us, and what things would we want to choose for ourselves?

    There’s the rub. If you choose a life with God, and eschew evil, then you choose to allow God to guide you in all your decisions. If you choose not to walk with God, that is your CHOICE, and the blame lies with no one but the person who made the choice. Evil is not God’s fault, it’s ours.

  8. Tory says:

    From C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    “‘Son’,he said,’ ye cannot in your present state understand eternity…That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.'”

    Great post, Trevin.

  9. Ellen H says:

    I like this article. Good way to illustrate grace and God’s love for the human being who He made in His image, who has been given a lifetime to trust His Son, and who provided a His Son as sacrifice for a second chance at life. This chance was given to man, but was not given to the angels.
    This will be a good example for my Bible study (Galatians) today as I attempt to explain how significant our choices are. Believing God, having wholehearted faith like Abraham’s who trusted God to provide the sacrifice, is how man lives out free will. My opinion, one who is free understands the boundaries are good restrictions for our welfare and will ultimately trust that God reveals all these in His Word.

  10. Slaw says:

    In typical fashion, several of the atheist in this forum have demonstrated a lack of biblical knowlege. If a person wishes to refute the word of god, that person should take the time to read it. A common argument that i have seen here is that the innocent children of the world are suffering in life and the after life and that no just god would allow this. This would be a good argument if it were true but it couldn’t be further from it.

    Deuteronomy 1:39 – Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

    Matthew 19:14 – But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 18:3 – And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    In regards to the conversation on morality, atheism simply fails. If morality is subjective then you have no standard by which to judge another persons morality. Let me leave you with a thought. Imagine a society in chaos. People are wild in the streets looting and murdering for what resources they can find, and you are walking home with some food for your family. Do you want the person you meet on the road to be a Christian who believes in a god who will hold him accountable for his actions? Or would you prefer a person who believes morality is subjective, that we function on instinct, and are only accountable to ourselves?

  11. John Powell says:

    That was a really good article, Trevin. Thank you.

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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