I’m not sure why this has been on my mind the past few days, but it has. “The problem of evil” is a philosophical argument against the existence of God that is both all loving and all powerful. Basically, it goes like this:
If God is all loving and all powerful, he would get rid of all evil because he wants to (his love) and he can (his power). But there is evil so either, he is not all loving (he can get rid of evil but chooses not to) or he isn’t all powerful (he wants to get rid of evil but can’t).
This is definitely a hard question to answer, especially in our current culture where evil is showcased online on a daily basis. Shootings, human trafficking, politics, scandals, natural disasters, the list goes on and it quickly become overwhelming. It’s natural to wonder, “Where is God and why won’t he do something about all of this?”
But imagine for a moment what would happen if God did get rid of all evil. Don’t think to the big issues like those above, think about your own life. If God got rid of all the evil right now, how much of you would be left? How much of me would be left?
Ok, let’s define some terms here, because perhaps you just caught that I implied that you and I are evil. So, what is ‘evil?’
When we think of evil people, we think of people like Hitler. People who are so beyond anything redeemable. Am I suggesting that you or I are like Hitler? No, not really.
What would God have to do to get rid of all evil? He would have to get rid of everything, from the smallest thing to the biggest thing, that goes against what is good. If even the smallest bad thing is left, evil can still happen.
So God has to get rid of even the smallest inking of evil, which comes back to us. How much of us would be left if God were to get rid of all evil? I can look at my own life and see how much ‘evil’ is in it. I yell at my kid. I get impatient with my wife. I think only about myself far more than I should. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated. I’ve stolen. I’ve been lazy when I should have been working. I’ve worked when I should have rested. I’ve treated people as if they were objects, things to be used rather than image bearers of a holy God.
Does this put me on the level of Hitler? No and I don’t think you are there either but the reality is, I am quite capable of doing what is not right so I still have to ask myself, what would be left of me if God decided to get rid of all evil, of everything that wasn’t good?
Now, as a Christian, I don’t have to worry about this because everything I’ve done wrong and everything I will do wrong has been covered by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Maybe this is why God hasn’t dealt with evil yet. Maybe he’s waiting for more of us to reconcile ourselves with him. He doesn’t want to destroy us and he knows that by destroying evil and everything not good, he would have to destroy us as well.
Jesus seemed to think this was the case. I read this in Matthew 13 this morning:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (v.24-30)
For now God is letting the good and the bad grow together, but one day he will deal with it.
Those are my thoughts. Why do you think God hasn’t dealt with the problem of evil?