Why does God allow evil in the world?

I don’t know about you, but every time I turn on the news, I’m disgusted with what I see. Whether it’s a politician saying something hateful about another person, or another mass school shooting, or a natural disaster that’s devastated a small country and killed thousands of people… I ask myself, “If God is good, then why does He allow these evil things to happen?”

Maybe you’ve asked yourself the same question.

Well, I’m going to answer this for you today. First, with the short answer… Love. God allows evil in the world, because He loves us.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “That’s a ridiculous answer. Are you trying to tell me that, because God loves me, He allows bad things to happen to me?”

What I’m telling you is that, because God loves us, He allows evil to exist in this world.

Now, let me explain…

The Fall of Man & Nature

In the beginning, God created man and woman in the Garden of Eden, and they were sinless. They lived in perfect harmony with God and nature. There was no violence in the world. Lions laid next to lambs, and there were no natural disasters. It was a paradise. Adam and Eve had unfettered access to God and walked with Him daily in the garden.

At that time, God established one law – one rule that Adam and Eve had to follow. He told them not to eat fruit from one particular tree in the garden – and, if they do, they will surely die.

God established a law, and the penalty for breaking His law was death.

So, what did Adam and Eve do? Well, with the help of Satan, Eve decided to take and eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. Then she gave it to Adam, and he ate.

God had one law, and because of their pride and rebellion against God’s authority, they broke His law.

Because of their sin – that’s what sin is, the breaking of God’s law – God cursed man and nature. From that day forward, mankind was born in sin. You, me – we’re all born with a sinful nature. Our default disposition is to reject God’s authority over our lives, because we want to be our own bosses. The Bible says we are at enmity with God. We are His enemies.

To illustrate what it means to have a sin nature, think of a car that has its alignment off. If you leave your hands off the steering wheel, it veers to one side or the other. By nature, we are constantly veering away from God, because our alignment is off. We’re born with this sinful nature, because of what Adam and Eve did in the garden.

However, not only was man cursed, but nature was as well. God said that man would now have difficulty tilling the ground – and that nature itself is groaning because of man’s sin. We have natural disasters and fear wild animals, because we live in a fallen world. Man is fallen, and the world is fallen – and together, along with Satan, we produce the evil that’s in the world.

But God is patient, not willing for any to perish. Which is why he allows evil to continue in this world today. If He were to get rid of all evil in the world, He would have to wipe out all of mankind. He almost did that with a flood six thousand years ago, but because of His great love for us, he kept a small remnant safe from His judgement.

So, love is why God allows evil.

God’s Law

Remember how I defined sin? It’s the breaking of God’s law. Well, after Adam and Eve fell and were banished from the Garden, God gave us more laws through Moses. The most famous of these are the Ten Commandments. If you want to know what sin is, just look at the Ten Commandments.

Do you think you’ve kept them? Let’s go through a few and see…

The ninth commandment is You shall not lie. How many lies do you think you’ve told in your lifetime? I’m talking about lying to get out of trouble with your parents, or lying about your charitable giving on your tax return, or lying to your spouse about what you did last night with your friends. Do you think you’ve told one or two lies in your lifetime? Hundreds, maybe thousands? What do you call someone who tells hundreds of lies?

A liar.

Let’s look at the eighth commandment – You shall not steal. Have you ever stolen something in your life? I’m talking about shoplifting, or taking home office supplies from work, or showing up late and leaving early at your job yet reporting a full day’s work, or checking that box on your tax return saying you paid sales tax on all your online purchases this year (yeah, right). This is called stealing. What do you call someone who takes things that don’t belong to them?

A thief.

The seventh commandment is You shall not commit adultery. Now, some of you may have actually committed adultery by cheating on your spouse with another person. But if you haven’t done that, listen to what Jesus said about this commandment… He said that even if you’ve looked at another person with LUST, you’ve committed adultery with them in your heart. Have you ever looked at another person with lust? Either through pornography, or gawking at people at the beach, or through the bombardment of sexual advertising we see everyday?

In the same way, Jesus said if you hate your neighbor, you’re guilty of breaking the sixth commandment – You shall not murder. Have you ever hated another person? I have.

So…

I’m not judging you, but by your own admission (if you’re honest), you’re a liar, a thief, an adulterer and murderer at heart. And those are only four of the Ten Commandments!

The Bad News

If God were to judge you based on the Ten Commandments, would you be innocent or guilty of breaking His law? If God required perfect obedience to His law in order to be with Him in Heaven, and you were to die today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?

You would go to Hell.

Does that concern you? It should! We’re talking about your eternal destiny here. I don’t even know you, but I don’t want you to go to Hell!

Did you know that 150,000 people die each day? One hundred and fifty thousand people die every single day. You could drive down the road today, be hit by a drunk driver and find yourself facing God’s judgement. Today. And based on your performance, it’s not going to be pretty.

The bad news is that you – and I – have broken God’s law countless times and deserve to die physically and spiritually. God says the wages of sin is death. That liars and murderers and adulterers will be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity.

How many times did Adam and Eve have to sin to be judged by God as guilty and condemned to death? Just once.

That’s the bad news. And, indeed, it is bad news.

But do you know what God did so that you wouldn’t have to go to Hell? He provided us a way to escape His judgement.

The Good News

God sent His one and only Son to Earth to live as a man, perfectly obey His law (something we are incapable of doing), and die in our place on the cross. Jesus gave up His glory, majesty and privilege in Heaven to come down here and pay the penalty of our sin.

Have you ever been to court? I have. I went for reckless driving. I fell asleep at the wheel one night, ran off the road and hit a tree. Now, imagine if that turned out differently – that instead of running off the road, I swerved into the oncoming lane and hit another car head on, killing the other driver. And imagine if there was a traffic camera that captured it all on video.

I would go to court and plead guilty. I’m guilty. It’s obvious and everyone knows it. I’m guilty of breaking the traffic laws and I’m guilty of murder. The penalty for what I’ve done is death – I’m going to the electric chair. But just before the judge pronounces me guilty and sentences me to death, a man I don’t even know rushes into the courtroom and says, “Stop! I will pay the penalty for this man.” This man volunteers to get strapped into the electric chair and die in my place. Now, the judge can let me go free. The penalty has been paid by someone who wasn’t guilty of the same crime. Justice has been served.

This is what Jesus has done for you and me. We broke God’s law, and Jesus paid our fine. It’s a legal transaction. God is a good judge. He cannot let sin go unpunished. But because He loves us so much, He punishes His Son in our place. Instead of requiring us to die and go to Hell, God kills His Son and sends Him to Hell.

But Jesus rises three days later, conquering death and giving us hope in a resurrection.

Summary

So, the bad news is that we’re all guilty of breaking God’s law and deserve death, but the good news is that Jesus will pay your fine, if you repent from your sins (that means turn away from them) and place your trust in what Jesus has done for you to save you from God’s coming judgement. Give up control over your own life and submit to God’s authority over you. Make Jesus your Lord.

Don’t trust in your own goodness to save you on Judgement Day. None of us are good enough to get to Heaven. We’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Only Jesus Christ was good enough, and it’s only through His righteousness applied to our account that we can enter Heaven. So trust in Jesus to save you.

Read the Bible and do what it says, and God will never let you down.

Following Jesus isn’t easy. It’s hard, and it gets harder in this country everyday. But salvation from God’s eternal judgement is worth it. Momentary sacrifice in this short life is worth eternity in Heaven.

Think about these things. Get right with God today, because you never know if you’ll be gone from this world tomorrow.

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