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Theodicy— Why Does God Allow Evil to Exist?

Many good people commit evil by permitting it to exist. Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.

Psalm 37 1-2

Because of our human limitations, God can only be partially known. And only that which God wishes to reveal to us. Christians and Jews believe God lacks physicality and is an eternal spirit or force and creator of all that exists both visible and invisible. God has no beginning and no end. God is beyond the physical universe yet somehow is present to us. God is all knowing and from whom we cannot hide. God rules the universe yet places limitations on Godself so that we may have the freedom to accept or reject God’s sovereignty and to work out our own salvation. God can and does change God’s mind. Nothing is programmed and nothing is pre-determined by God. God grants us self-determination and input into the way our universe is managed be it according to God’s moral order or grasping possessiveness, power grabs, and narcissistic hedonism.

Christians and Jews believe God is like a loving parent. God is good and desires us to be good. Because of God’s love for us, God desires a personal a relationship with us but will not force us into that relationship. God wants to occupy a place in our hearts. Unfortunately, humanity often has ideas and feelings of its own. Often we are disobedient and listen to the calling of the serpent who suggests that we can become like God thereby causing our separation from God. We come to know God’s attributes and God’s desires for us through God’s self-revelation through Moses, the prophets, Jesus, scripture, and other people. They teach us to seek forgiveness for our sins so that we might be restored to a right and healed relationship with God and each other.

We who struggle with the question of evil and the chaos it causes wonder why a good God allows evil to exist. Could it not be caused by the absence of God in people’s hearts? Could it not be that God wants us to rise up and do our part to overcome evil with good?

Should we allow the lords of chaos and evil to dominate our institutions and beliefs regarding private ownership, equality, discrimination, ecological deterioration, distorted religious beliefs, and businesses? Our time and space on earth is transitory. What we do or fail to do in our lives will determine our immortal existence with God or in separation from God. Divine justice is inevitable and determines our final destination.

Ask yourself. Where do you stand in this earthly drama? What role do you play?