We have all encountered evil in our lives. We know evil exists, but why? Why does God allow it to occur? These are questions that I’ve been asked by many people throughout my life and I have struggled with answering these questions. I’m writing this post to discover answers about why evil is allowed to exist.
What is the theology of evil? The theology of evil is the overall concept that unpleasant things are allowed to occur in our daily lives by God, but are not directly caused by Him. These occurrences can discourage us and have an immense negative impact, but we can grow from them by having faith in the sovereignty and power of God.
There are many different factors that play into the theology of evil. Let’s dive in.
What Is The Theology Of Evil?
Theology of evil shows how darkness runs rampant in our world like a tornado by swooping up anything in its midst and attempting to destroy it.
Though evil is something that is very much a reality of our lives as humans, it doesn’t mean that it can prevent us from accomplishing God’s purpose.
The Origins Of Evil
Evil is not something that has existed since the beginning of time, because God created everything in existence he made it and said “It is good”. Everything was perfect in the beginning, but that all came crumbling down when Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil when tempted by the serpent, who embodies evil and feeds on it.
The moment Eve took a bite of the fruit – shame, deception, bitterness, pain, suffering, and sin came into the picture all of which are components of evil.
Evil was not slow spreading in any way, it quickly spread to all of humanity in Genesis through temptation.
In Genesis, we see the first murder take place followed by many other acts of evil that caused all of humanity to separate from God, but grow closer to darkness.
What Is Theodicy
Theodicy is the question of how God’s goodness and sovereignty allow evil to exist. Though there are many different views within theodicy, the overarching one is that God is able to bring beauty from suffering.
Instead of denying that evil exists, many believe that it is allowed by God. This argument can be used to question the existence of God, however, it is also backed by the character of who our God is.
The Bible is filled with many stories and scripture that reveal God’s character. One of these examples is found in Psalm 145:9,
The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.Psalm 145:9
Though destruction and chaos may take place in this world and cause terrible things to happen that we may not understand. We can dig deep into this verse and apply it to our times of struggle, and see the blessings that God sprouted from the ashes of the pain and suffering we experienced.
Theodicy is the belief that God allows for bad things to happen in order for something better to come out of it that would not happen otherwise.
The world is not as evil as it could be. God does not allow all evil to happen – it only happens if it has a purpose.
Theology Of Evil Viewpoints
Within the concept of evil and why it happens, there are several different views regarding why it exists, and whether or not it will always exist.
1) Evil Exists Because Of Human Will
This view of evil is the belief that evil exists due to humans being given free will. Free will is the concept that we are given the opportunity to make our own choices.
This is a power that can be abused and cause humans to make decisions that have the potential to negatively affect others.
Free will can be corrupted by humans sinful nature caused by the fall. The fall was not directly caused by God or the devil.
This puts a lot of the weight on us as humans but allows for redemption and forgiveness to be even more powerful.
A commonly used argument against free will is that if God allows us to have free will, then why does He not have it himself to be able to stop all evil?
2) Evil Exists For Our Growth
Evil exists for our growth is the belief that as humans we fall short, but from trials and suffering, we are able to grow. This piggybacks on the main view in theodicy. God allows evil to occur for good.
Furthermore, when we encounter suffering it occurs to help us grow in a specific way.
For example, if someone is divorced by their spouse it is absolutely heartbreaking. However, after the divorce has occurred the time can be used to grow deeper in relationship with God and to solidify their identity in him.
Though this is similar to the main view in theodicy, the main difference is that it is centered on each individual person’s growth.
3) Evil Is Not For Forever
Though evil currently surrounds our entire planet, it is not something that is going to always exist. This is the hope we have as Christians that our God is so good and powerful that He will one day concur over evil, and all will be perfect.
We can find this truth in Revelations 21: 1-4,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.Revelations 21:1-4
Instead of questioning why this has not already happened, and why evil exists. Our focus instead needs to be on the fact that God is good, powerful, sovereign, all-knowing, and loves us.
With this in mind, we can have peace in knowing that one day we will be rewarded beyond all measure and that all of the struggles we encountered on this planet were worth furthering His kingdom and being with Him at last.
Why It Matters To Christians
We all come up against many matters in our lives that make us ask God, “Why?” In the eye of a storm, we cannot see the good in the situation.
I’ve asked God this same question many times throughout my life, but my friends He is so good.
Instead of asking God “Why?” when we bad things happen, we instead need to focus on the fact that we woke up today.
He gave another day on this planet to get up and go bring glory to Him all you do, not focus on all of the bad things that are currently happening.
We will not ever be able to fully comprehend why suffering and pain occur, but we do know that we are not the only ones who have encountered it. God’s only son experienced the most intense pain and suffering while He was on the planet.
He did this so we can be reunited with Him one day.
God’s sovereignty used to be something that brought me discomfort because I did not fully understand his character in full. As a child, I wanted a perfect life where all my desires were fulfilled, and that pain didn’t occur.
In short, I was selfish just like all of humanity. The turning point for me was when I began having a deep intimate relationship with Christ and came to the realization that this life is not my own.
We can get so caught up in the fact that evil happens to a point where we lose sight of His character. He is a God who loves, is powerful, all know, omnipresent, and sovereign.
This is why it is important to briefly understand why evil occurs because when we do it brings us closer to our heavenly Father.