Column: Why Does God Allow Evil if He Can Stop It?

Published 2:28 pm Monday, February 5, 2024

By Hank Walker | Pastor at Friendship Baptist Church

The term “theodicy” applies to theological arguments that justify God as all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good—while He allows calamity and injustice to wreak havoc in the world.

Atheistic naturalists contend that the ills of humanity eliminate the possibility of God’s existence—demanding that brutal forces and blind chance are the only viable explanations for our cosmos. At the other end of the spectrum, so-called postmodern evangelicals claim an affinity for God (albeit a “little-g” version), positing that love is God’s only meaningful attribute. Their god lacks comprehensive knowledge—is ever-evolving and changing—and is impotent in the face of tragedy and tumult. A sweet grandfatherly type who loves people deeply, their god is ignorant of the future and powerless to change it.

Conversely, the Bible reveals a God who IS all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving—who decreed the end from the beginning—who has given us the necessary facts from which to infer His divine purposes in a broken world. Taken together, the following should help our understanding:

First, there are some things that God has no interest in revealing to us: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29).

Second, God is “incomprehensible”—beyond our understanding: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?” (Rom. 11:33-34).

Third, God has the right to do whatever He wishes—whenever and however He wishes (Ps. 115:3).

Fourth, God is right and righteous in every single thing He does (Ps. 145:17).

Fifth, God does not cause sin, but uses evil, sinful people, and catastrophic events to bring about His ordained will (Jas. 1:13-15).

Sixth, Adam—created in God’s image and without sin—rebelled and received the curse of death for himself and all his progeny. Not only was man cursed, but so was the entire universe. (Gen. 3; Rom. 1:18-32; 5:12).

Finally, evil exists because of mercy! God could have wiped the slate clean. Mercy allows what God hates in order to accomplish what He loves. (Gen. 50:20).

Grace and peace, y’all! Soli Deo Gloria