If God is all powerful, all knowing, just and loving, and if He's all goodness and graciousness then why is there such evil in the world?! Where is God's love then? Where is His justice? If He's all powerful, why can't He stop the injustice? If He's all loving, then why does He not protect His children from evil? Why do we always hear about these terrorists and their heinous acts of evil? Why does God allow such evil?
This is a question that comes to everyone's mind at some point in their lives and the answer to it might surprise you... It is because of God's love, mercy and justice that He allows evil in the world! Perhaps this might sound very strange at first, but allow me to explain and I hope that by the end of this article you might thank God for allowing evil for so long!
There's Evil in the World Because God is Merciful
God is merciful upon all His creation. Some of His children have strayed from His way and inflict evil upon the world. God however is a "gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm." (Jonah 4:2) God is patient because He has "no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live." (Ezekiel 33:11) This is why St. Peter says "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
So because God is merciful, He's being very patient with His children not wanting any of them to perish. Before Jonah was sent to the people of Nineveh, they were very evil. This extent of evil doesn't happen overnight either. This means that God allowed evil to seemingly reign free in Nineveh for a long time till it reached this level! All this because there was hope of their repentance. Such love! Such patience! If God wasn't merciful and patient with the people of Nineveh, then He wouldn't have sent them Jonah for their repentance and they would have all perished very early on. However only because of His love and mercy is why He allowed evil for that long.
God could've taken St. Paul away from the face of the earth a long time ago when he was still Saul because of all the persecutions to the Christians. Yet God allowed Saul to continue persecuting them because there was hope for him to repent and indeed he did. If God wasn't merciful and patient with Saul, he wouldn't have been converted and come to be St. Paul, whose many writings we have now in the New Testament.
If God wasn't merciful and patient with King David, he would have perished before he got the chance to repent and write one of the greatest examples of repentance Psalms in the history of mankind, Psalm 50. It is such a great example that the Orthodox Church uses it in its prayers every day.
If God wasn't merciful and patient with Adam then the entire human race would not have continued. If God wasn't merciful and patient with you and me then at the first sin we would have been judged, condemned and punished or uprooted without a chance to repent. And how many sins did we commit and continue to commit while God allows this evil to happen?
Therefore, it is because of God's mercy that he allows evil to continue for that long in order to provide the chance for repentance.
There's Evil in the World Because God is Just
God is just. And justice calls for everyone to be treated fairly with the same standard. Because of this justice, "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45) If we had any say in it, we would have eradicated all the evil doers from the face of the earth. However, in doing so we would have also brought this same judgment on our own heads because of God's justice. If we want God to punish evil and not delay, then we should also expect the same treatment towards us. God's mercy and justice calls for Him to be patient with everyone. We should instead thank God for being patient and allowing evil for that long because in doing so, we would thank Him for being patient with us as well.
What about the victims who have done nothing wrong? What did they do to deserve this? Where's God's justice in that? Doesn't St. Paul say that God "will render to each one according to his deeds" (Romans 2:6)?
Yes indeed, God will render to each one according to his deeds. However, the answer is in the verses that directly follow: God "will render to each one according to his deeds: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 2:6-10)
If we were to look at this life only, then I would agree that this is not fair. However, this would be a short-sighted view at best. What is our life here on earth? "It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). It is nothing compared to eternal life. If you consider justice during this lifetime only then yes it is not fair for these victims to suffer and die for doing nothing wrong and that would be the end of their story. However, if you consider the eternal glory that they will gain for suffering in the Name of Christ, then the suffering would seem very insignificant compared to what "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
There's Evil in the World Because God is a Loving Father
God as a loving father, wants to reward all His children with His goodness. He always wants to give us more. He allows evil and injustice here on earth in order to reward those who endure with everlasting glory in heaven. "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelations 3:21) So it is out of His love that He allows evil during this short period, which is our life on earth, in order to grant us the glories in the everlasting life.
How Should We Respond to Evil?
So then if God allows evil out of His mercy and His love, then how should we respond to such evil? We could use this evil in this world to our advantage. When responded appropriately, this evil in the world would be a great chance for our own forgiveness of sins! We should respond to evil by forgiving "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." (Matthew 6:14) We should respond to evil by loving our enemies "for love will cover a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8) Lastly, we should pray that God would show the evil doers the err of their ways and that they would return and live. In doing so, you would have the same desire as your Heavenly Father.
Still Not Convinced?
If you're still not convinced then think of Jesus on the cross, where having done nothing wrong, He was crucified to cover your sins and the sins of the whole world.
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