WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL?
A Study Guide
“Whatever happens on this planet is allowed by God, nothing has ever caught God by surprise.” - Dr. Bruce A. Little
I. THE QUESTION
- If God is an all knowing God and all-loving God why didn’t God intervene in some way?
II. THE FACTS
God gave man the power to choose good or evil.
Free agency is a mark of human beings as such. All humans are free agents in the sense that they make their own decisions as to what they will do, choosing as they please in the light of their sense of right and wrong and the inclinations they feel. Thus they are moral agents, answerable to God and each other for their voluntary choices. (J.I. Packer, Concise Theology)[i]
III. THE OPTIONS
- To avoid evil, man could no longer choose.
- If there was no choice there would be no love.
- If someone is forced to say, “I love you,” we all know that’s not love.
- Love is a choice.
The sin, of men, was rendered possible by the fact that God gave them free will: this surrendering of a portion of His omnipotence … because He saw that from a world of free creatures, even though they fell, He could work out … a deeper happiness and a fuller splendour than any world of automata would admit (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)[ii]
If God is all-knowing and all-powerful what should our response be to Him? (Hint: Deuteronomy 6:5)
If we respond incorrectly to God is this evil? (Hint: James 2:10, Romans 3:10-18)
What is the penalty for an evil action? (Hint: Romans 6:23)
Should God allow or overlook our evil actions? (Hint: Proverbs 11:21, Psalm 5:5)
How is God justified in demonstrating grace and forgiving evil men? (Hint: Romans 3:23-26)
RECOMMENDED FUTHER READING:
If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think about the Question, by Norman L. Geisler
Deliver Us from Evil: Restoring the Soul in a Disintegrating Culture, by Ravi Zacharias
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, by Timothy Keller
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, by John Piper and Justin Taylor
THE ORIGIN AND CONSEQUENCES OF EVIL
God creates universe (“good”)
God creates man with the ability not to sin
For love to be genuine, God gives man a free will
He obeys God He disobeys God
No Fall Fall of man
Satan had no power in the world Satan influences world
World not subject to sin Sin enters world
Mankind remains innocent Sin enters humanity
Mankind in fellowship with God Mankind separated from God
Mankind continues to live in paradise Mankind expelled from the garden
No physical death Physical death
No evil or human suffering Evil and human suffering [iii]
WHY GOD ALLOWS HUMAN SUFFERING
God gives man a free will
Man’s chooses sin
If no moral consequences Moral consequences
No reason to stop sinning Man is accountable for actions
Sin continues unabated Man knows sin is evil
Man turns away from God Man depends on God for reconciliation
Man is eternally lost in sin Man can be redeemed from sin by accepting Jesus
No remedy for human suffering Future life where human suffering is absent [iv]
[i] J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.
[ii] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain New York, NY: Macmillan, 1962, 26.
[iii] Dan Story,. Defending Your Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997, 170.
[iv] Story, Dan. Defending Your Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997, 173.
Dan, Story,. Defending Your Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997.
Lewis C. S., The Problem of Pain New York, NY: Macmillan, 1962.
Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.