The Dilemma Of Good And Evil
If God is good, then how does He stand aside and allow things like the Holocaust to happen? Did God create evil? Then why, for what purpose? Why does God tolerate mankind's inhumanity to man?
If God loves everyone, why is there evil?
If God is a God of love, and is all-powerful, then God should stop evil. That's how many of us react to the question. Why were there Nazi's and concentration camps in Germany? Why do Ethiopians and Somalis starve while their governments wage costly wars? Why does an innocent neighbor get mugged and robbed? Why does a "good" God allow these things to happen?
What is evil? Evil is a noun and an adjective meaning wicked; causing or threatening distress or harm. It is the source of sorrow or distress. It is the fact of suffering, misfortune and wrongdoing. (The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Why is there evil in this world? Does God have any control over evil? Why didn't God make people perfect so we wouldn't do evil things to each other? God has His own reasons for allowing evil to co-exist with good. He sometimes permits evil as a tool for accomplishing His plans. Think of Joseph in the Old Testament. His brothers sold him into slavery. Though they meant evil by it, God saw that it turned out for good (Gen. 50:20). Nothing happens without God's prior knowledge, and His ultimate plan unfolds. God is in control. Look at the cross of Calvary. It was evil that men tortured and crucified Jesus. God used this evil for good, and Christ rose from the grave.
Without God, evil would be a meaningless word. God has set the standard as to what is good and what is bad. If God created everything, and if evil is something real, then God must have created evil. Yet, we believe that God cannot be the author of evil. How could a loving God allow evil to exist knowing that humanity would turn on itself and incite the kinds of war and abuse that would scar the world?
When God created, did He create evil things? "Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good…" (Genesis1: 31) NKJV. No, everything He created was good or pleasing. God did not create evil things; things in themselves are not evil.
So, what is evil? It can be a lack or loss of something. Blindness is not a substance: it is a lack of sight. A person lacks physical wholeness. We look upon this loss of wholeness as a bad or negative thing because people are supposed to be able to see. Evil is a privation of what ought to be. Nevertheless, we would not conclude that blind people are evil because they lack sight. In order for someone to be evil that person would have to lack moral wholeness or goodness.
Why are we bothered when we hear about a parent abusing a child or a person shooting someone over a parking space? What do we think of when we hear about the mass murders of innocent lives at Auschwitz or Treblinka? Most of us think that it's wrong to treat people that way. There is deep within us a sense of injustice and loss. Moral evil can also be thought of as a contaminated relationship: a relationship that is not what it ought to be. Jesus said that the greatest good we can know is a relationship with God (Matthew 22:36-37). But, in order for us to know God intimately, we have to be free to reject Him. True love is a choice. Since we are free to reject God, We can decide not to reject Him also.
That freedom enables us to reject God's love and to abuse and reject other people as well. God is not the one who causes evil. People have free will and can use that will to accept or reject God's goodness. The power of evil resides in our capacity to reject and refuse the love of God.
There is no logical way to create a world where people are free to love God, but not free to reject His love. If there was some other way to do it, God would have thought of it first, not us!
Why did God create us knowing we could turn out as evil beings? God knew the cost of love and the kind of world that would result from creating free individuals. God also knew that the end result, an eternal life of love, would justify the cost of creating independent beings.