I have believed for a while that by writing, I straighten out my thought process. Recently, I’ve been assigned a project in Bible class that involves the post title. So here goes nothing that is possibly everything.
The question “If God is all-powerful and all-good, why is evil allowed to exist in the world?” has been asked countless times throughout history. The question is typically answered so:
a. God is all-powerful but not all-good, allowing evil to occur.
b. God is all-good but powerless to stop evil. Therefore, He is not all-powerful.
This argument actually seems plausible. Our assurance of God’s all-everything (minus evil 😛 ) is not so assured any more.
Now, there’s an easy counter-argument to the above statements. The account of Noah and his ark show that God cannot tolerate evil—He actually wiped out everything but animals (which are assumed to be sinless) and the “best in His eyes” Noah and his family. After the Flood, God vowed to never destroy the earth in a flood again. That’s when the rainbow was born. Now, that would mean that the nature of water changed to account for the splitting of the visible spectrum, but that’s for another post. What’s important is that God has proven that He can’t stand evil and has the power to wipe it out—although, sadly, it surfaced again soon after the Flood.
Fast forward to Jesus. Jesus came to remove enslavement from sin, yet even the most committed Christians sin. The whole concept of enslavement to sin is still another post, but the point of this is that Jesus didn’t remove man’s sinful nature.
Revelation tells of the coming judgement from God to purge all evil, this time with various things like disease, earthquakes, and fire. Hey, the promise about floods is still kept ;)… am I supposed to be winking?
Alright, so what are we supposed to do in this in-between time? There are humans whose hearts beat for the sole purpose of causing others suffering. It is a natural result of the availability of free choice. Ever since Adam and Eve, free choice has been a factor in every person’s downfall (be it their own choice or another’s). So, if God really wanted to remove all sin, He’d take away man’s ability of free will. Free will, however, also comes with something else: willful worship and love of God. God is completely capable of removing our free will; He’d be left with robots, though, speaking empty words of praise and love with empty, automated acts of service. And unless you’re really messed up in your head, even humans don’t want robot-like love. How much higher would be God’s standards?
The question about the existence of evil and God encompasses so many theological concepts widely and deeply, requiring much more than a simple (is it?) blog post, or even large book, to explain. All I know is that God, who’s been pretty faithful pertaining to His own promises, will eventually purge all evil, but just not yet. It doesn’t help those who are in need and being oppressed by evil, so that’s why Christians are needed in such an in-between period; we are to be God’s agents of prevention of evil and restoration of harmony while spreading His Gospel.
Honestly, the answers seem so simple that I’m lost as to the validity of what I’ve come up with. How easily will a skeptic dismantle my counter-argument, as the whole point of this project is to provide counter-arguments to skeptics?