Posted by: Randall Niles | May 8, 2009

The Problem of Evil

“If God is real, and God created everything, why did he create evil?”
The answer to these questions isn’t simple, but it can be summed up in one word, “Love.” Throughout the ancient scriptures we learn that God’s nature is Love. We also learn that his desire for mankind is Love.
“Surely, an all-knowing God of Love would not allow evil to exist in His world.”

Well, let’s look at the logic: How could God allow for love without the potential for evil? God could have created organic robots programmed to forever say, “I love you,” but such creatures would be incapable of a real love relationship. Love is a choice, and the ancient scriptures say God desires a real love relationship with His creation. Love is not real unless we have the ability to not love. God knew that in a world with choice, there would be much evil. However, there would also be the capacity for real love.

“Why did God give man freedom to commit evil acts?”

The scriptures also reveal that the potential for love outweighs the existence of evil, especially if evil can only exist for a time. Evil is a side effect of love. Suffering and death are side effects of evil. The scriptures explain that these side effects are only for a time. Evil serves the limited purpose of establishing real love relationships between creation and the Creator, and evil will be done away with after that purpose is achieved.

In his first book, On Order (386 AD), Augustine wrote: 

“There is nothing that even the most gifted people desire more than to finally understand how, taking into account the amount of evil in this world, one can still believe that God cares about human affairs.”

For the next forty years, Augustine grappled with the reality of this paradox. He focused on God’s nature in scripture and God’s apparent desire for humanity. He determined that God created us for a relationship with him, and that authentic relationship is impossible with puppets. Apparently, God wanted us to have the capacity to freely choose or reject him. Of course, if we have free will, we have the capacity to choose love or hate — good or evil. After four decades of writing on the subject, Augustine concluded that “God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil at all.”



  1. For further reflection on these matters:


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