Regardless of our religious persuasion, or lack of one, we all must agree upon one thing; the existence of evil in the world. People have used this certainty of evil as an argument against the existence of God. They say that a loving God would not allow evil in the lives of His people. I contend that God does exist and is working all things together, even in the greatest trials, for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
God does not cause the evil, it is brought on by the actions of man or nature. God created man and gave him free will. By doing this, God allows each of us to make our own choices. Some choose good; some choose evil. Some chose to follow God and obey His laws. Others go their own way, doing as they please, with no concern for the harm they do to others. Some are so debased that they enjoy hurting others. Evil has no bounds, it seems. How can God use this evil for good? Read the story of Joseph told in Genesis 30-50. Joseph, son of Jacob, was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He was taken to Egypt where he spent 13 years in prison, never losing his faith in God. He Interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams of coming famine and gave Pharaoh a plan for survival. Pharaoh was so impressed that he made Joseph governor of Egypt. When the famine came, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food. Through a series of tests, Joseph determined that his brothers had changed for the better and he revealed himself to them. Although Joseph’s brothers tried to get rid of him, God used their evil actions to fulfill His ultimate plan. He sent Joseph to Egypt to preserve their lives, save Egypt and prepare the way for the beginning of Israel.
God gave each person a soul, a conscience with which to make choices in their life. He could have made life on earth as perfect as it is in heaven. In fact, He did in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had the perfect life and chose to through it away be eating fruit from the Tree of Life.
Their free will choice cost them Paradise. God’s first test of mankind must have been a huge disappointment to Him. Evil was let loose in the world and soon murder was done when Cain killed his brother Abel. God knew He would have to work the good and the evil in man together to further his plans for His people. Natural disasters caused by human errors abound. These may not be caused by evil as we think of it, but anything that causes pain and suffering is evil. We can speculate that if sin had not come into the world that natural disasters would not exist at all. God’s world might have remained perfect forever without the existence of sin which brings death and decay.
Critics contend that a good loving God would not allow evil to exist. Some say that God, if He exists, does not care if people suffer. The logical problem of evil contends that it is impossible to believe that both evil and good and powerful God exists in the same reality, for such a God could and would destroy evil. Why does God allow such needless suffering from disease, starvation, crippling injuries and natural disasters? Why would He permit innocent people to endure such misery? Why is life so unjust? Why does God allow fear, hatred, infidelity, cruelty, poverty, and racial hostility?
God could not eliminate evil without rendering it impossible to accomplish other goals which are important to Him. God gave man a free will, so they may choose to love Him or ignore Him. Creatures that are free to follow His will must also be free to reject it. And when people act in ways outside the will of God, great evil and suffering is the ultimate result. Evil from natural causes stem from the fact that we live in a fallen world. This is a direct result of the original sin. Our world is dying. God could destroy all evil but not without destroying human freedom (Rood). One of the greatest truths of the Bible is that even in severe trial God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)
There are many reasons for us as Christians to look for some good to come from our suffering. It may give God an opportunity to display his glory, mercy, faithfulness and power. It can provide an opportunity for us to strengthen our faith in God. We are able to bear one another’s’ burdens and help others. It can make us stronger in many ways. Wishing to become more Christ like, we must appreciate the great suffering that Christ Himself endured, both physical and mental. Finally, evil and suffering can awaken in us a greater hunger for heaven where pain and suffering shall be no more (Revelations 21:4)