November 30, 1993
Remember the question Gordon Sinclair often asked guests on Front Page Challenge: “If there is a good God, why does He allow so much evil in the world?”
Some viewers were annoyed with him, but this is a legitimate question. After all, the Bible says God is not only loving and merciful but all powerful. Since there is nothing impossible for Him, why do people suffer? Why do we have wars and accidents and illnesses? Why does He let criminals victimize innocent people? Doesn’t God care?
The guests on Front Page Challenge had various responses. One pastor even asked Mr. Sinclair another question: if God were not “good,” why do we call anything evil? In other words, the standard we have for goodness is based on God’s standards. He says love is good, kindness is good, justice is good, so we also call them good. Some might think human beings know goodness instinctively (God also gave us a conscience), but there are people-groups in the world who think it is “good” to betray someone or “good” to kill female children.
Certainly that pastor’s response argued for the existence of a good God, but it does not answer why He allows evil. A better answer might be a cartoon I saw somewhere. It pictured a man on his knees with hands stretched up toward the sky. He says, “Oh God, why do you allow so much evil in the world?”
The next frame shows the answer booming down from heaven: “I might ask you the same thing.”
Why insist the fault lies with God? He did give dominion of the earth to people and if people fail to choose goodness (even just the goodness they know), then people are responsible for the lack of good that exists.
That answer is difficult too. Most of us do not like the idea of being responsible for evil, particularly if there is any suggestion that as victims we brought it on ourselves. However, is that what the cartoon intends?
Try this; God has determined certain cause/effect relationships. Those who make poor choices find out they were poor by the results. For instance, His people were drifting into idol worship so He told them, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword” (Isaiah 1:19-20).
Clearly, there would be consequences for either choice. If the people obeyed God, their lives would go much easier than if they did not. He did not promise a rose garden but they could avoid certain thorns.
Think what life would be like if God didn’t permit those consequences. Can we even imagine such a world where people could do whatever they liked and no one would suffer? God would have to intervene in every detail to avert the suffering. For instance, if I didn’t feel like making supper, God must miraculously make it instead or my family would suffer. If a gangster felt like robbing a store, God would have to construct more money so the owners would not suffer any loss.
In that kind of world, where God undid bad, would anyone ever obey Him and do good? Would anyone ever be encouraged to make unselfish choices? Would anyone turn to Jesus for forgiveness and the power to defeat sin?
Perhaps our concept of a “good” God needs to allow Him the freedom of when to “fix” our mistakes. Otherwise, we might never quit making them, nor have the desire to repent so that He can change our lives.