A friend asked me “IF God is all powerful then why doesn’t He stop ALL evil and suffering?” This is a really good question and one that almost everyone in the world has had at one point in their lives. So why is it that an all knowing, all loving, all power God allows sin and suffering? The answer to this is not an easy one.
The question of stopping evil means that if God is to stop evil, then He must stop ALL evil (including yours).
In order to be free from condemnation you must be perfect, unfortunately… no one is perfect, all have sinned and everyone has fallen short of God’s standard: I could try to defend myself and rely on my own righteousness saying, “well I haven’t done anything really bad… it’s not like I’ve ever killed anyone, I’ve never been to jail”. However, James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
This means that the murderer must be stopped along with the thief, the liar must be stopped along with the adulterer (LOOK AT MATTHEW 5:28). Stopping evil also means that thinking evil, which is in rebellion against God, must also be stopped as well; that is, IF all evil is to be stopped then you and I must be stopped as well – Romans 3:23 “For EVERYONE has sinned; we ALL fall short of God’s glorious standard…“ (NLT)
WHAT ABOUT FREE WILL? Another problem arises, for God to stop all evil and suffering this may very well mean that He must remove the ability for people to freely choose what they want to do. Removing free will has serious repercussions. God gave us free will so that we may free chose to love Him or to not love Him. Free will allows us to truly love God, this is the love that God accepts, a real kind of love (not one based on selfish ambitions, needs, wants…) but that we chose Him over other idols out of our own free will because we truly love Him.
ALL or Some? So, if God is going to stop evil, is He required to stop all of it or just some of it? If only some of it, then the question would still stand. If He stops all of it, would we be free?
Our Sin: Biblically speaking, pain and suffering are the results of our sin in the world. Adam, who represented all humanity as well as creation, rebelled against God and brought suffering into the world. We in turn have not done any better than Adam. It seems like sin is continually increasing in the world. We continue to rebel against a Righteous and Holy God.
Sin is much more than simple rebellion and breaking of God’s law. It is an offense against a Holy God. God is a Holy God, who out of His great love created us in order that we may enjoy life and His creation. However, we made a choice… One that God respected and one that changed our world and our relationship with God. We decided that we did not need our Creator we became our own God deciding for ourselves what is right and what is evil.
Our choice of sinning against Him caused a separation between man and God and ever since that day sin has been permeating throughout all of God’s creation bringing imbalance, fear, murder, injustice, lies, hate, famine, disease, etc… This is not how God originally created things but it is God who is allowing them to continue for His divine plan. Ultimately, more and more people are realizing that we live in a broken world full of suffering and sin we can’t know all the reasons why God allows suffering, for now we just know that He does. Romans 11:34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
Has God Done ANYTHING At All? the Bible tells us that God sent His Son Jesus (1 Peter 1:19 “a lamb without blemish or defect”) to die for our sins; Jesus came to deliver us from the pain and suffering our rebellion caused, and to restore our broken relationship with our Father God.
Despite this being our own debt Jesus came to pay a debt He did not owe, because we could not pay it. Ultimately, God is allowing evil in the world for a purpose, otherwise, He would not let it exist. Therefore, we must trust Him that He knows what He is doing.