I’ve heard this phrase “God, why’d you do this to me,” or a variation of it from non believers to Christians alike. For some misguided reason, many have this belief that God causes evil things to happen to them. To set the record straight, God does not, and literally cannot cause evil to happen. God can in fact allow bad situations to happen, but he cannot cause them—and yes, there’s a difference between the two. This belief stems from multiple misinterpretations of the bible, and a lack of understand of how God operates as a lawful just God. Let’s discuss the most popular arguments regarding this question.
The Edmund Burk Argument:
A famous quote from Edmund Burk says, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This quote, when applied to God, sounds like “By God having the power to stop evil in this world, doing nothing is the same as causing it.” While this logic seems sound at first glance, for two reasons, it is not.
The first issue with this argument is that the logic is backwards. It’s not the fallacy that God causes bad to happen in a good world, it’s the fact that God causes good to happen in a bad world. This world is already evil without him; God doesn’t need to create it. If God completely removed himself from this world like we deserve for being sinners, there would be worldwide constant 24 hour 7 days a week evil—but there’s not, there’s goodness everywhere we look. Therefore, God’s not causing the evil, but he’s the one causing the Good. Without Christ causing this good on a daily basis, this world would end in chaos rather abruptly.
The second issue is, He already restrained evil in his original design by never introducing sin in the beginning. When humans were placed in the Garden of Eden, God proclaimed it was good and sin and evil didn’t exist in the world. We were perfect beings living in a perfect world. Adam and Eve, under their own free will, chose to disobey God, thereby allowing evil to enter the world, which disconnected us from perfection. Now pay close attention: at this point, God in his every right, could have left us alone to destroy ourselves in sin and everlasting evil. Instead, God sent his only son to die for our sins so we can reconnect to perfection one day. Therefore, God allowing evil in the world is IN FACT an act of love, because the longer God takes to banish evil, the more time a sinner has to be forgiven and return to God. Second Peter 3:9 says that Christ is longsuffering towards humans that none should die in sin, but get a chance at redemption. In sum, Christ is doing us a favor the longer he waits to return.
Side note: Take a moment to consider how frequently God has to intervene in believers and non believers lives for everything not to constantly be overrun by evil. God is keeping evil at a minimum for now, which is a true reflection to Christ’s grace, mercy, and love.
The “God created people knowing they’d become sinful, so God caused sin” Argument:
Again, this logic seems sound by cause and effect, but at a closer look, it falls apart as well. Knowing sin is going to happen doesn’t always give reason to prevent it. For example, my wife and I knew our children would be born sinners before we decided to conceive, did that stop us, or anyone else in the world from having children? No. Love beats sin every time. In society, Parent’s aren’t blamed for birthing a child that ends up becoming a criminal. Why? Because it was the individuals choice, despite the Parents deciding to have a child knowing it was capable of evil. It’s the parents job to teach the children to be “good” after birth. God loves us so much he created us despite knowing what would happen, just like a loving parent, and he gave us a way to be Good again after birth as well.
Additionally, God did not force man to sin. If it was man’s only option to engage in sin after creation, then yes, it would be God’s fault, but since God created us sinless first, it was our choice to sin, which made man the cause of sin. Remember, Eve had two choices to respond to the serpent; yes, and no. We must understand that God created us with free will because he had to in order to be a just God. If God forced humans to obey him, he would no longer be just, thereby losing his perfection. It is impossible for God to be anything other than good and fair. The choices we make with our free will is all on us.
The “God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and killed man in The Flood” Argument:
Yes, God did in fact cause these events to happen, but they were not evil acts, they were judgements. God is the Great Judge which all law is founded by his Words, and in these two instances, his laws were constantly broken. Therefore, him passing judgement is not evil nor a sin. For example, in a court of law, would we condemn the judge and jury for sentencing a man to death for murder? No. It’s a judges’ job to pass judgement. The only thing evil in these examples were the people.
First John 1:1 says, in God there is no darkness at all. It is impossible for God to sin or do anything bad. He can only produce goodness. Since the world is already sinful on its own, it is completely within Gods right to allow bad things to happen since he’s not obligated to help us in the first place. Humans have long since condemned ourselves, and the only reason there’s still good in the world is because of God’s love not fully turning away. God does allow bad things to happen on occasion, but it’s always for a good reason since good is all he can do. See Why Bad Things Happen to Good Christians
If you have any other arguments on this topic, feel free to let me know.
- The Christian Realist