Finding Hope and Comfort in God

Understanding the Role of Evil in the World: God’s Will or Human Responsibility?

If God cares so much about humanity, why is there so much evil in the world? There’s a war going on between Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Hamas, and many other issues here and there. Not to mention those other issues between individuals that result in devastating consequences. Why isn’t God stopping them? This question has been a topic of philosophical and theological debate for centuries. Some argue that God allows evil to exist as a test of faith or to promote personal growth and free will. Others believe that humans, not God, are responsible for the presence of evil in the world due to their choices and actions. Ultimately, understanding the reasons behind suffering and evil is a complex and deeply personal journey that varies from person to person. I tell you, God doesn’t support evil and doesn’t want it to happen. The things happening in the world are a result of our choices as human beings.

But how can we reconcile this with the fact that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving? If He has the ability, the knowledge, and the desire to prevent evil, why doesn’t He do it? This is what is known as the problem of evil. It is one of the most challenging questions that Christians face, especially when they encounter tragedies or injustices in their own lives or in the lives of others.

One possible answer is that God has a greater purpose for allowing evil and suffering than we can comprehend. He may use them as a means to accomplish His will, to reveal His glory, or to shape our character. For example, in the book of Job, we see how God allowed Satan to afflict Job with various calamities, but also how God restored Job’s fortunes and blessed him more than before. Job learned to trust God even when he did not understand His ways, and he praised God for His sovereignty and wisdom.

Another possible answer is that God respects our free will and does not interfere with our choices, even when they lead to evil consequences. He created us in His image, with the ability to love Him and obey Him, but also with the ability to reject Him and disobey Him. He does not force us to do His will, but He invites us to follow Him. He also holds us accountable for our actions and will judge us according to His righteousness. For example, in the book of Genesis, we see how God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to eat from any tree in the garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They chose to disobey God and eat from that tree, which brought sin and death into the world. But God also promised them a Savior who would redeem them from their sin.

silhouette of man illustration
Exploring the intricate balance between understanding the role of evil in the world and deciphering whether it stems from God’s will or human responsibility is a profound philosophical endeavor that challenges our perception of morality and divine intervention.

A third possible answer is that God does not leave us alone in our suffering, but He comforts us, strengthens us, and helps us through it. He also promises us a future where there will be no more evil, pain, or sorrow. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, to defeat the power of evil, and to rise from the dead for our salvation. He also sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to guide us, and to empower us. He also gave us His Word, His Church, and His grace to sustain us in our trials. For example, in the book of Romans, we see how Paul declared that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These are some of the ways that Christians have tried to explain why there is so much evil in the world if God cares so much about humanity. However, none of these answers can fully satisfy our curiosity or remove our doubts. We may still wonder why God allows specific instances of evil or suffering that seem unnecessary or unfair. We may still question why God does not intervene more often or more clearly in our situations. We may still struggle with anger, grief, or fear when we face hardships or losses.

That is why we need faith. Faith is not blind acceptance or irrational belief. Faith is trusting God even when we do not understand His ways or His plans. Faith is relying on God even when we do not feel His presence or His peace. Faith is hoping in God even when we do not see His promises fulfilled or His justice executed.

The Bible tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It also tells us that faith comes from hearing the message of Christ (Romans 10:17). Therefore, if we want to have faith in God despite the evil in the world, we need to listen to what He has revealed to us in His Word. We need to study the Scriptures, meditate on them, and apply them to our lives. We need to learn from the examples of those who trusted God in the midst of suffering, such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Esther, Ruth, Job, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, and many others. We need to follow the teachings of Jesus, who taught us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to imitate the attitude of Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy set before Him, despising the shame, and who is now seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2).

We also need to pray. Prayer is not a way to manipulate God or to change His mind. Prayer is a way to communicate with God and to align our will with His. Prayer is a way to express our praise, thanksgiving, confession, petition, and intercession to God. Prayer is a way to receive His grace, mercy, forgiveness, guidance, and provision. Prayer is a way to share our joys, sorrows, fears, and hopes with God. Prayer is a way to draw near to God and to experience His presence and His peace.

The Bible tells us that we should pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It also tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us according to God’s will (Romans 8:26–27). Therefore, if we want to have faith in God despite the evil in the world, we need to pray constantly and earnestly. We need to pray for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our enemies, for our leaders, for our church, for our nation, and for our world. We need to pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We need to pray for God’s protection from evil and deliverance from temptation. We need to pray for God’s healing from sickness and restoration from brokenness. We need to pray for God’s wisdom in making decisions and courage in taking actions. We need to pray for God’s glory in all things.

Finally, we need to act. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). If we claim to have faith in God but do not show it by our deeds, we are deceiving ourselves and dishonoring God. If we see evil in the world but do nothing about it, we are complicit in it and guilty of it. If we hear God’s voice but do not obey it, we are rebellious against Him and liable to His judgment.

group of people standing under string lights
Delving into the complex question of understanding the role of evil in the world, we are confronted with a fundamental theological quandary: to what extent can we attribute it to God’s will or should we shoulder the burden of human responsibility for its existence?

The Bible tells us that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand for us to walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). It also tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13–14). Therefore, if we want to have faith in God despite the evil in the world, we need to act according to His will and His purpose. We need to do good deeds that reflect His character and His love. We need to resist evil and overcome it with good (Romans 12:21). We need to seek justice and love mercy (Micah 6:8). We need to share the gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:19–20). We need to serve others and bear their burdens (Galatians 6:2). We need to be peacemakers and reconcilers (Matthew 5:9). We need to be faithful stewards and generous givers (Luke 16:10–13). We need to be humble learners and wise teachers (James 3:13–18). We need to be joyful witnesses and hopeful sufferers (1 Peter 3:15–17).

These are some of the ways that we can have faith in God despite the evil in the world. They are not easy or simple ways. They require commitment, sacrifice, perseverance, and grace. They may not always produce immediate or visible results. They may not always prevent or eliminate suffering or evil. But they are the ways that God has called us to live as His children and His followers. They are the ways that He has shown us through His Son Jesus Christ. They are the ways that He has empowered us by His Holy Spirit.

If we live by these ways, we can be confident that God cares so much about humanity that He sent His only begotten Son into the world so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). We can be assured that He is working all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We can be hopeful that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes; there will be no evil that will overtake us because God is our protector and will guide us through any challenges we may face (Psalm 121:7-8). Additionally, we can find comfort in knowing that God’s love for us is unconditional and everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3).

In conclusion, instead of allowing these negative sentiments to demoralize us, let’s have faith that God cares about our well-being because He does. This becomes more true if we have been living according to His Word. In a world filled with chaos and uncertainty, it is easy to question whether God truly cares about us. However, we must remember that His love for us surpasses all understanding. No matter what challenges we face or how dark the world may seem, we can find solace in the fact that God’s care for us remains unwavering. So let us hold onto our faith and trust in His plan, knowing that He is always by our side, watching over us and guiding us with His infinite love and compassion.

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