A. God is all
B. God is all
C. Evil exists.
These three statements
don’t seem to go together. If God is so good and evil exists, why
doesn’t he do something about it? He must not be able to, in which case
he is powerless. But if God is able to eradicate evil, why doesn’t He?
He must not be so good after all. And that’s the dilemma. Kind of a
So let’s look at these statements again, one at a time. We’ll go
through the first two fairly quickly and then spend a bit of time on
A. Is God all
Men and women throughout history would answer this by saying yes,
without a doubt. God is entirely good. He provides for our most basic
needs, and chips in for a lot of our wants, too. He blesses us with
life itself. He gives our lives meaning and purpose. He embraces us
with His love and tender mercy.
And many people, including me, would say from personal experience that
God is good. No question. He loves me and has never given me any reason
to doubt that.
And the Bible itself would say that God is good, without any hint of
James 1:17-18 (NLT)
Whatever is good and perfect comes to us
from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, he never
changes or casts shifting shadows. In his goodness he chose to make us
his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all
creation, became his choice possession.
1 John 1:5 (NLT)
This is the message he has given us to
announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.
Psalm 34:8 (NLT)
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the
joys of those who trust in him!
Is God all good? YES
B. Is God all
Well, let’s see. Just by speaking, God created the world and everything
in it. He created the stars and arranged them in galaxies throughout
the universe. He gave life to every plant, every animal, every person.
He set the moon in orbit around the earth, and organized all of
creation at the sub-atomic level. He built Mount Everest, and wrote the
blueprint for your DNA. From the vastness of space to the minute
details of life itself, God is in control. Seems to me that the creator
of the cosmos is pretty powerful.
Let’s see what the Bible has to say…
Isaiah 40:25-31 (NLT)
"To whom will you compare me? Who is my
equal?" asks the Holy One.
Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out
one after another, calling each by its name. And he counts them to see
that none are lost or have strayed away.
O Israel, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? How can
you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or
understood? Don't you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the
Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can
measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who
are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths
will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait
on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like
eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Is God all powerful? YES
Of course, answering “YES” to both of those questions leaves us in a
bit of a bind. If God is all-good, it seems logical to believe that He
would want to destroy evil. If God is all-powerful, it seems logical to
believe that He would be able to destroy all evil. So why does evil
C. So why does
Let me give you some
statements to help you understand a little more how a good, loving
all-powerful God could allow evil to exist:
did not create evil, but He created the potential for evil.
God created us with the ability to choose. We often call this free
will. It means that we have the capability to make decisions in
everyday life, and we have the capability to decide whether we will
love and honour God or if we will reject Him. When we reject him, evil
becomes a reality.
Now, God could have made us without the ability to choose. But without
the ability to choose, we would end up being his puppets. He wanted us
to be able to freely choose to love Him and express that love to Him.
He didn’t want to force us to love Him, because any love that is forced
is not genuine. It needs to be offered willingly.
Of course, along with the ability to choose to love God comes the
ability to choose not to love Him. And when we reject Him and reject
Biblical morals and values, we’re left with what we call evil.
Listen to what Peter Kreeft, a philosopher at Boston College had to say
“…it is not logically possible to have free will and have no
possibility of moral evil. In other words, once God chose to create
human beings with free will, it was up to them, rather than God, as to
whether there was sin or not.
That’s what free will means. Built into the situation of God deciding
to create human beings is the chance of evil, and , consequently, the
suffering that results.”
~ Peter Kreeft
Evil is a corruption of what is good.
Think about rust. My car is starting to show some rust. Rust isn’t
something that my car was built with, and it’s not a feature I had
added later on. It’s simply something that is developing on the metal
that is already there. It does not exits on its own, it’s part of the
metal it contaminates. And now that it’s appearing on my car, it’s
spreading to parts of the car that previously showed no sign of rusting.
That’s what evil is like. God created us with the ability to choose.
But when the choices we make lead us away from God, that’s when evil
comes into the picture. Free will is a good thing that God created us
with, but evil is a corruption of that free will.
You can trace it all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of
Eden. When Eve and then Adam first choose to disobey God, evil entered
into our world. And like rust it spread through every generation and
even into nature. In fact, in Genesis 3 we learn that thorns and
thistles appeared in the ground for the first time as a consequence of
Adam and Eve disobeying God. That helps us understand why natural evil
exists… things like earthquakes and floods and volcanoes and famines.
could eliminate some evil, but the problem would still remain.
Could God have stopped the terrorists of 9-11? Yes. Could He track down
Osama and take care of him? Yes. Could He remove any threat from
Saddam? Yes. God could take care of all of these situations. And to be
honest, I think God does more in these situations than we know. And I
think there are plenty of things that we never find out about because
God has already taken care of them.
But here’s the thing. God could take care of all of the biggies, but if
there are still people who suffer from illnesses and diseases, if there
are still people who are the victims of fraud or robberies, if there
are still people who suffer the loss of a friend or loved one, then
evil still exists and the question remains: Why does a good God allow
evil to exist?
The only solution would be for Him to destroy all the evil, not just
some of it. The problem is, that would mean He’s have to destroy you
could destroy all evil, but that would include you and me.
We may not all be murderers or rapists or international terrorists, but
we are all experienced in evil in our thoughts, our actions, and our
attitudes. In Matthew 5 it goes beyond murder to tell us that if we’re
even angry with someone and treat them with contempt or call them
names, we are acting in an evil manner. It goes beyond adultery to say
that if we even look at a person lustfully it is evil. It says if
you’ve every sought to get even with someone for something they’ve done
to you, it is evil.
Romans 3:23 (NLT)
For all have sinned; all fall short of God's
So instead of whining and complaining that God allows evil to exist,
thank Him for not destroying you. Because when it comes to sin and
evil, it’s only a matter of degrees, and God can’t stand any of it.
has provided a future without evil for those who choose Him now.
This is the whole message of the Church: that God sent His Son, Jesus
Christ, into the world to face the death sentence that we deserved for
our own evil so that we could experience a full and abundant life with
Him now and forever in heaven.
2 Timothy 4:18 (NLT)
Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every
evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly Kingdom. To God be
the glory forever and ever.
has provided peace and hope in the face of evil.
I remember when my Great-grandmother died. She had spent a lifetime
loving God and serving Him. Of course, she was getting older and was
having an increasingly hard time getting around. She had survived a
stroke and a broken hip, but was pretty much house-bound. During the
last few years she even had a live-in caretaker.
So when she was 94 here health took a turn for the worse and
deteriorated quickly. And we knew it wasn’t going to be long. She was
in the hospital in Fredericton and all of the family was informed that
it wouldn’t be long.
I wasn’t in the room at the time, but from what I understand the last
thing she said was “Heaven at last!” After that she was in and out for
a while until she eventually died. But what a powerful statement:
“Heaven at last!” It was all she had hoped for. It was what she had
looked forward to all of her life. And it was soon going to be a
reality. This woman, despite her poor health and imminent death, found
a source of peace and hope that can not be found anywhere else but in
the person of Jesus Christ. And despite any evil that we encounter in
life, He can be that source of peace and hope for us.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray
about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has
done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far
more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard
your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (NLT)
When this happens—when our perishable
earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will
never die—then at last the Scriptures will come true:
"Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O
death, where is your sting?"
1. It’s okay to
It’s okay to ask God, “Why?” It’s okay to express your grief and your
disappointment and your frustration and your pain. God understands all
of that and welcomes your honest questions. He’s faced worse.
We’ve mentioned King David over the past couple of weeks. You may or
may not be aware that David wrote many of the Psalms we find in our
Bible. Psalm 13 is one of them. Listen to this:
Psalm 13: 1-4 (NLT)
O LORD, how long will you forget me?
Forever? How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my
heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the light to my eyes, or I
Don't let my enemies gloat, saying, "We have defeated him!" Don't let
them rejoice at my downfall.
David obviously had some serious issues. He had faced evil and actually
felt abandoned by God. So he expressed that openly to God. And I don’t
think God minded that at all. Because God cares deeply about what we’re
going through. And He wants us to be honest with Him.
2. God is still
You may be able to identify with David in feeling like you’ve been
abandoned. You may want to know what the deal is with God. You may not
understand why He doesn’t fight against the evil on your behalf the way
you want Him to. But remember that God is still trustworthy even when
your emotions may be trying to convince you otherwise.
We looked at the first four verses of Psalm 13. Let’s look at the rest:
Psalm 13:5-6 (NLT)
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will
rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD because he has been so good to me.
3. God is
working through the evil.
God doesn’t cause the evil, but He can use it for good.
Here’s the verse we’ve referred to many times during this series on
Disappointment With God:
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to
work together for the good of those who love God and are called
according to his purpose for them.
4. Do what you
can to ease suffering.
The name “Christian” literally means “little Christ”. So as Christians,
we are to be doing the things that He would do. You know that WWJD
stuff that everyone’s wearing? That’s what it’s about: asking, “What
Would Jesus Do?”
James 1:27 (NLT)
Pure and lasting religion in the sight of
God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their
troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
We help people who are suffering. We represent Jesus to them. That’s
what it’s all about.
One of our Core Values here at Sunrise is Real Life Christianity. And
this is real life Christianity… helping people who are suffering.
Helping people who have been the victim of some kind of evil.
5. Wait and
This is not always easy, but sometimes it’s all we have left. We’ve
done everything we can do, and it’s now up to God to do the rest. And
when you wait for Him and trust Him, he’ll always come through for you.
Psalm 34:6 (NLT)
I cried out to the LORD in my suffering, and
he heard me. He set me free from all my fears.
Trust in God because He is trustworthy.