If you haven’t asked this question or heard it asked, you will. The fact that pain and suffering are prevalent in this world seems absolutely incongruous with the concept of a loving and omnipotent (all-powerful) God.
The problem can be expressed this way: (1) If a loving and all-powerful God exists, and He wants to deliver mankind from suffering but can’t, then He isn’t all-powerful. (2) If a loving and all-powerful God exists, and He can deliver mankind from suffering but won’t, then He doesn’t love. (3) Therefore, a loving and all-powerful God does NOT exist, or God may exist, but evidently He is loving and weak, hateful and strong, or hateful and weak; He cannot be both loving and omnipotent and allow suffering to exist.
How does one explain the existence of evil in our world if God is both loving and omnipotent? In theology, an argument which attempts to solve this dilemma is called a theodicy (from theos/God + dike/just), which literally means justifying God. Can the idea of a just God be reconciled with the existence of evil? Brilliant minds have argued this point throughout the centuries, and the conclusions have varied—God does not exist, God is vengeful, God is weak, evil is illusionary and doesn’t really exist, and so on. Is there a reasonable answer to this?
The Scriptures reveal God as not only loving, omnipotent, omniscient (all- knowing), holy, and just but also longsuffering, patient, kind, and much more. His creation of all things was good. Repeated throughout the Creation account in Genesis 1 is the phrase “and God saw…that it was good.” His crowning creation was mankind—a man and a woman made in His image and after His likeness. This likeness was not physical, but moral and spiritual.
God created mankind with intellect, emotions, and volition (a free will). Adam and Eve were created with the ability to exercise their will through choices. They were not created with false intelligence, without emotions, and programmed to behave a certain way. They were not created as animals with instinctual behavior. Human beings could think, reason, and choose their course of action accordingly. The possibility of the entrance of evil into the human experience was a consequence of our being created as free moral agents. Had we been created without a free will, without emotions, and programmed with false intelligence, perhaps sin could have been avoided.
Why didn’t God destroy His creation as soon as sin entered the picture? Like most why questions, that is difficult to answer, for who can comprehend the infinite mind of the Creator? Clearly, He doesn’t operate on our time scale. Perhaps He is allowing evil to run its course in order to destroy it once and for all. And He will destroy it, as recorded in Revelation 20:7–15. The last two chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21 and 22, describe life without sin.
A good answer to the issue of reconciling a loving and omnipotent God with the existence of evil in mankind is that God created human beings with a free will, yet without sin. Inherent in having a free will is the possibilityofrebellionagainst the loving Creator. Adam and Eve eventually chose to rebel, and they fell into sin as a just punishment for their decision to disobey God.
Though Adam and Eve were created with innocence, they chose sin, and sin became part of their nature. That sin nature has been procreatively passed on to every one of their descendants, as is revealed in Romans 5:19, “…by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,….” Sin has existed in the human experience ever since Adam and Eve fell, hence the overwhelming magnitude of pain and suffering. But God will eventually destroy it.
Community Connection is an outreach magazine and blog from Valley Forge Baptist to provide relevant and uplifting articles for the families and homes of Collegeville, PA and area residents. Articles are not just from staff but from other community members who’s lives have been touched by Jesus Christ. If we have been an encouragement to you please let us know at email@example.com.