Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick Q&A: Why Does God Allow Evil?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Q) If God is really a God of love, why didn't He just put an end to evil?

To answer this tough Bible question, Dr. David Reagan and I on a Christ in Prophecy television episode interviewed Dr. Ron Rhodes. Dr. Rhodes is the founder and director of Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries. With nearly 50 books penned and decades of public teaching, he is an expert on the Bible. As a former "Bible Answer Man," he specializes in easy to understand answers to the really tough questions about the Bible and the defense of the Scriptures.


Dr. Ron Rhodes

Let's just say that at midnight tonight God's going to say, "Evil is over." I don't like that option because at midnight tonight Ron Rhodes is gone. In fact, everyone is gone! So, I'm kind of glad God is patient with us.

One thing God did as soon as man got himself in invading the world with our own sin and evil is He engaged in a rescue mission for us. He's been involved in that rescue mission ever since, and it's all based on Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. So, that's the good news!

God did give us free choice, and some people try to blame God for that. But, look at it this way. Henry Ford created the Ford car. It was a good car. But, let's say that some man decides to drive that car after drinking some alcohol. He drives down the street and crashes into a building. Are we going to say that Henry Ford is a bad man for creating the Ford? No! He's not the person who did something wrong. It's the man who used his free will to drink alcohol, to do something wrong, before he drove. You see, that's the person who is at blame.

So, I don't think that we should blame God for giving us free will. I've never seen a person walking down the street with one of those signs that says, "Down with Free Will" or "Back to Bondage."

I think that if God had created a bunch of those little robots, like where you pull the string on the back and it says, "I love you," just imagine an entire universe of those. Would that bring glory to God? Not really, you just pull it and it goes, "I worship thee, O Lord God." That certainly doesn't bring glory to God.

What would bring glory to God is if God created free human beings in which many of whom are going to choose to freely follow Him and worship Him for all eternity. Of course, the very gift of free will also means that some people will misuse that free will. Some people will choose against God. But, as C.S. Lewis put it, in the end this scenario brings much more glory to God than a universe of robots.


Nathan's IMHO

It is amazing how free will and evil are two sides of the same coin. We can't have one without the other. To have evil, one must of their own volition choose to not do the right things that God has told us we need to do to live, to love, and to function in a universe that can only operate by certain rules that have been put there to keep us from harm. We'd never have to worry about the effects of sin if there was no evil, and there would be no evil if in our own free will we didn't choose whether consciously or subconsciously to disobey God's statutes.

But, it is also that same free will that makes us rebel and with the first mutinous thought become evil that also allows us to choose God. We can choose to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and forgiver of our sins, which causes us not to eternally perish but to have eternal life, as John 3:16 and other verses tell us. The part of ourselves that condemns us — free will — coupled with Jesus' atoning sacrifice grants us amnesty from our own rebellious, sin natures.

What always amazes me about God's character is that very free will that God has equipped us with is the very tool God uses to winnow humanity down to the believing remnant that desire to dwell with Him forever. It's rather like the marriage process. After a number of dates with various ladies over the years, I found a woman who wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. She chose me as much as I chose her. Our lives have become one till death do us part. So, too, with God, as He wants to spend a "no death will ever part us" eternity with people who actually want to spend it with Him. Can you imagine living with someone you wish you never met and may even hate forever and ever? Certainly not! No, that very free will God built into us is the very mechanism that creates a perfect forever.

God allows evil because by our own free will He metaphorically is boarding a plane of travelers bound for the Great Hereafter. Because He's God and therefore all knowing, He even knows ahead of time who wants to take the journey when the offer's made via a prompt by the Holy Spirit, a concept we call predestination.

And so, evil will exist until the very last person has accepted the Captain, taken the ticket of salvation, boards the plane of faith, and arrives at the forever destination. He truly is a loving God!

3 comments:

Rodney said...

I always wondered why Satan was welcomed in the presence of the Lord God as recorded in the Book of Job. It seemed odd to me that the same God that can not allow sin in his presence, would allow the one that is the ambassador of all things evil before him when making an accusation against Job.

Perhaps angels or at least the fallen variety do not fall under the same rules and regulations we do. Satan required no acceptance of faith in Christ nor forgiveness of sins to be in the presence of the Lord. Angels too have free will having also been created as ministers of light.

This is a particular area hard for me to comprehend. The only possible scenario is that Satan is but a tool used by God to test both creations, men and angels. It appears this fallen angel Lucifer falls under a set of special circumstances.

Ryan Peterson said...

So, speaking of predestination and free will. Does God know that a person will make the decisions that will send them to hell? If so, why would he allow that person to be born knowing that they will forever be damned? Or is there a believe that damnation to hell is a temporary distress until all believe him (your comments on the captain metaphors made me wonder if there is a belief that all people will ultimately choose to go With God to the hereafter,

I am Christian and believe we have a loving God, but am having a bit of struggle believing that God is both omniscient and allowing of free will. Perhaps you can help to explain where biblically God explains the end? It would seem to me to make a lot of sense that God is all powerful, but as a unit of measure of time, not all knowing... Please advise.

Thanks, Ryan

Nathan Jones said...

Ryan, salvation has always been about faith (Eph. 2:8; Heb 11), so "whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free" (1 Cor. 12:13) anyone who has this saving faith is in God's eyes considered "elect."

I think the best definition I've heard concerning being chosen also called predestination or election is: "if you're saved, then you've been predestined and are one of the elect."

Getting the human mind wrapped around the Bible's teaching on predestination and election is hard because mankind thinks linearly, while God knows all events at all times. God knows if we will use our free will to choose Him and Jesus' salvation before we are even created, which predestines us to be one of His. Those God knows won't choose Him, He "sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness" (1 Thes. 2:11-12).

Outside of salvation, God can choose a person or people group to do His will, such as Israel being the chosen nation from whom the Bible is written and the Messiah is born out of. Even enemy nations like Babylon and Assyria were chosen by God to bring Israel at times in their history to judgment and repentance.

So, the term "chosen" can be used differently depending on the subject, but in the salvation sense it is for anyone who by God's grace has that faith which saves.