Why does God allow evil in the world?

Why did God allow evil in the world? God did not make a devil. But why did he permit evil and not prevent it? Love takes risks. Freedom to love must happen in the context of a freedom of choice.
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Co-Host:  Next let’s go to Portland, OR and talk with Gary.  Hi, Gary.

Caller:  Hi.

Pastor Doug:  Welcome to the program.

Caller:  Thanks.  I listen to you quite a bit and I’ve been wanting to call in.  It’s a pretty good show.

Pastor Doug:  Well, thank you.  We’re glad you called.  Is this your first time?

Caller:  Pardon me?

Pastor Doug:  First time calling?

Caller:  Yes I am. 

Pastor Doug:  Good for you.

Caller:  I know God’s loving and all that and I know He’s not the cause of this, but I’m just wondering why God, being as loving as He is and everything, why He would allow the evil to come to us.  Why would He create Satan knowing, in His omniscience, that he was going to fall and knowing that Adam was going to sin?  I’m wondering why He allowed this to happen?

Pastor Doug:  Now I’m going to answer your question, but before I answer the question I’m going to give you the phone number we just gave to Bosso and I want you to call we’re going to give you a free gift because there’s a lot more information in this booklet—it’s free—than what I can give you over the radio. 

The number once again is 1-800-835-6747.  Amazing Facts has a Bible study guide that goes through a number of scriptures in the Bible and it’s called “What you Don’t Know Will Hurt You”, and it talks about where did sin come from, why would a loving God make a devil.  Now what you just said is a very common misconception, Gary.  God did not make a devil.  God made a beautiful angel and every good and perfect gift is from God.  When you read-

Caller:  I understand that.  I know that.

Pastor Doug:  Okay.  Everything was good, good, very good.

Caller:  Right.

Pastor Doug:  So why did He allow it, in other words?

Caller:  Yeah.  You see, okay, now what –I know He didn’t create the evil but why—like the evil in God’s sight –you read that in the

Bible why did He allow the evil to go on?  Why didn’t God put a stop to it?

Co-Host:  Why does He tolerate it?

Caller:  Why doesn’t He prevent it, let’s say?

Pastor Doug:  Well, first of all, are you a parent?

Caller:  Yeah.

Pastor Doug:  Okay.  When you and your wife decided to have children assuming you planned ahead, did you get any kind of written guarantee

from the courthouse that they would always be obedient and submissive and cooperative?

Caller:  No.

Pastor Doug:  Okay. But you took that risk nonetheless.  Now follow with me. 

Caller:  I’m following you.

Pastor Doug:  Are you aware—how many children do you have if you don’t mind my asking?

Caller:  Two.

Pastor Doug:  Okay.  What are their ages?

Caller:  They’re old.  They’re grown men now.

Pastor Doug:  That’s all the better for my illustration.  It’s really going to work.  Were there times in their life when maybe they were disrespectful or rebellious? 

Caller:  Well, for sure.

Pastor Doug:  Okay, and yet you still chose to have them knowing that they might not choose to submit to your will completely at all times. 

Caller:  Okay.

Pastor Doug:  Love takes the risk because love—love can’t come from a robot, that’s what I’m trying to say.

Caller:  I understand that.  But why didn’t God then just create us with that loving attitude to obey Him?

Pastor Doug:  Well, if you’re preprogrammed like a tape player to say “I love you, God I love you, God”, that’s not love.  Love comes from a free choice and in order for us to be really free-

Caller:  I understand that.  Okay, we’re really free and so now, why didn’t God create us with that desire to always obey Him?  Couldn’t God do that?  Couldn’t God create us with a desire to always obey Him and follow His will and still have a free choice?  Don’t angels still have a choice?

Pastor Doug:  You’ve just contradicted yourself.  If God preprograms us to always obey Him, we are not doing it freely we’re doing it because we’re programmed.

Caller:  Do you believe that God could create us to love Him?  In other words, why couldn’t God….

Pastor Doug:  Now Gary, let’s give Him credit.  God has a pretty good record.  He’s got a universe that probably has millions of angels and probably unfallen creatures from other….

Caller:  I’m not taking any credit away from God.

Pastor Doug:  What I’m getting at, though, is, here in this world there was this new race called Man that chose to doubt God and He made them free where they could choose to listen to Him or listen to the enemy, Lucifer.  And they chose not to trust God.  God gave them that freedom.

Caller:  But what I’m still wondering is like, well, okay, He gave them that freedom, and I realize that they chose to believe Satan rather than God, and they chose to believe a lie, and what I’m saying is, Can’t God make us—couldn’t God have created the universe without sin in it?  Without the possibility of sin being in it?

Pastor Doug:  Alright.  I understand your question.  Now first of all, God did make the universe without sin, but what He didn’t do is make the universe without the possibility of sin. 

Caller:  Okay, why?  How?

Pastor Doug:  Well, first of all, the Bible speaks about a couple of mysteries.  One mystery is called the Mystery of Iniquity and if we could explain and define, and put in a test tube and give all the reasons why sin entered the world there would be no mystery.  But the Bible says it’s a mystery that’s inexplicit….It’s like someone says, Where did AIDS come from?  We don’t know where it began but it’s here.  You know what I’m saying?  It’s like a germ that’s amalgamated.

Caller:  I think that the evil and the iniquity, I think it originated with Satan.

Pastor Doug:  I believe you’re right.  But then….

Caller:  Okay, now we know that but why—see it’s back to the same old question.  Why didn’t He create a universe, you know, that would be totally perfect from beginning to end?  Why did He have to incorporate a fall into His creation?

Pastor Doug:  I don’t think God said “I’m going to plan a fall”.  I think God planned for freedom.

Caller:  Well, before the foundations of the earth—the Lamb was slain before the foundations of the earth…

Pastor Doug:  You’re right.  Gary, you hear the music.  I don’t want you to go away because you’re asking a good question and any of our friends who are listening out there, if you’ve got questions dealing with where did sin come from and why did God allow it?  We welcome your calls.  1-800-God-says.  Stay with us, Gary.  Stay with us, friends, we’ll be back in just a minute for more of your Bible questions on Bible Answers Live.  Thank you, friends, for staying with us, and if you’ve just joined us, my name is Doug Batchelor.

Co-Host:  And I’m Dick Devin.  We’re hosting Bible Answers Live, sponsored by Amazing Facts and we are on the phone with Gary in Portland, OR.

Pastor Doug:  Gary, are you still with us?

Caller:  I’m still with you.

Pastor Doug:  Thanks for your patience.  You know, I was able to have an intermission there and I collected some thoughts.  You’ve asked The Big Question—the big question is “If God is Good and if God is Love, why would a loving God make or allow a creature to become a devil, to turn into Lucifer?”  You know, I was reminded that part of being a parent, and God is The Great Heavenly Father, part of being a loving parent means you allow children to sometimes learn, because to really learn sometimes they need to be exposed to potential danger.  Let’s see if I can illustrate. 

I raised three of our kids while living in a home where we used firewood to heat the house, and at some point along the way we told the kids, “Don’t touch the stove, don’t touch the stove”—we had a heating stove there, and they would toddle up and look at it and reach out and we’d say “No, no, no hot, hot, hot”.  Ultimately they would have to find out for themselves, and when they did they then trusted Mommy and Daddy and lot more.  So that’s one aspect is God, in creating the universe, He said, “Love is really the key trusting Me, believing in Me, loving Me is the key to happiness.” 

He knew that somewhere through infinite time keep in mind we’re talking about eternity past and present, this one awful experiment with sin is so brief, somewhere through eternity He had to allow His creation to see that they had the freedom to make the wrong choice.  And if they made the wrong choice they would learn from that.

Caller:  You know, I understand that argument, and that’s a wonderful argument for love and choice, and without any choice there is no love—I realize that.  I just don’t understand why God, sitting there, okay, you know, where was He when Adam or Eve, we’ll say, were about to partake of the forbidden fruit?  Why didn’t He intervene at that point? 

Pastor Doug:  Well, now, you just answered the question and I’ll give you as good an answer as I can.  We do have some other callers standing by.  God did intervene before Eve ever went to the tree.  He said, Please, don’t eat this.  I’ve given you everything, if you live according to My will this is Paradise. 

There’s one tree on the whole planet—don’t eat from that tree or you’ll die.  The devil said, Go ahead, eat from it.  You won’t die.  He gave them the freedom to choose to trust Him.  He wasn’t going to force Himself on them.  He wanted them to love Him.  Not to fear Him.

Caller:  Okay, I understand that, but it still doesn’t explain why He allowed that to happen. 

Pastor Doug:  Because God did not create a universe where we are all preprogrammed and shielded from potential danger.

Caller:  I understand that.  But what I’m saying is, couldn’t He create a loving, obedient—couldn’t He make a loving and obedient creation without….

Pastor Doug:  I think we did our very best to explain He made His creatures free and because they made a conscious, freewill choice not to trust and obey, that opened the door to sin.  You know, the whole creation right now is groaning and travailing….

Caller:  I’ve read that and I believe that.  I’m one of the groaners.

Pastor Doug:  Me, too.  God is suffering more than anybody, and if you want to find out how much God hates the sin experiment, look at the cross and you’ll see how much Jesus suffered to save us from it.  If you want to understand the price of the freedom God gives all His intelligent creatures, look at the cross.  That’s what our freedom cost.

Caller:  I agree with that.  I want to make one little hypothesis of this whole thing:  I’m thinking about grace I’m thinking about mercy I’m thinking about forgiveness and how is God going to introduce that into His creation—by Man.  And I think that’s why God allowed man to fall.  That’s my answer to why.

Pastor Doug:  And that’s  actually a pretty good answer because that’s why we’re going to live and reign with Christ and be exalted above all the creatures because we have been redeemed and we experienced the suffering of sin.  Thank you, Gary, for your question.

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