If God is All Powerful, Why Does Evil Exist
Bob Pellien: In today’s world, we have all seen evil all around us. No one is immune from witnessing tragedy anymore. But do you, dear friends, find yourselves wondering, “If God is all powerful, why does evil even exist?”
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Bob Pellien: I’m Bob Pellien, and welcome to the program, That’s in the Bible. We received an email question from Tom in Garden Grove, California. Tom asked:
Why is there evil if all of us were created good in the beginning?
Bob Pellien: First of all, thank you Tom for your question. And to help us fully answer Tom’s question, let’s frame our topic of discussion around three sub-questions.
1: What does it mean that people were created good?
2: Why then is evil widespread?
3: Why doesn’t God stop evil from occurring in the first place?
Tom, you’re correct in believing that we were created good. What does it mean, though, that people were created good? Let’s begin discussing and reading responses from the scriptures on this topic and we go first to Ecclesiastes 7:29, where the following is recorded in the Holy Bible:
Here is what I have figured out: God made humanity for good, but we
humans go out and scheme our way into trouble.
[Ecclesiastes 7:29 The Voice]
Bob Pellien: Here, dear friends, the Bible clarifies that “God made humanity for good.” Now does this mean that everyone today is good? Well, just look around and what do we see? That’s not true. Some might phrase it even “in a perfect world,” that would be the case, right? But what’s the biblical explanation as to why, in fact, that’s not the case? Well, the Bible said, “we humans go out and scheme our way into trouble.”
Bob Pellien: So, because God made us all for good, what exactly is that good that we were made for? Well, we can read, once again, in the Holy Scriptures. This time, we turn to the New Testament writings of Apostle Paul in Romans 7:12.
So then, the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and
[Romans 7:12 Good New Translation]
Bob Pellien: Dear friends, although many people nowadays think that good is merely a relative feeling, that we could be comparatively good next to other people, or that, maybe, we’re nice, we’re kind, we’re generous, or all the other “good” attributes that society has defined today. But the biblical truth is that good that we were made for is God’s laws, His commandments. You might ask then, “well, how would God’s commands be for our good?” Again we get the answer from what is written here in the Holy Scriptures, and we turn this time to the writings of one of the ancient prophets of Israel, Jeremiah 7:23, wherein he wrote:
This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well!’
[Jeremiah 7:23 New Living Translation]
Bob Pellien: So, dear friends, now what we’re learning here is that it is only when we obey God’s commandments or do precisely as He says, that His laws and commands– it will do us good and all will be well in our lives. Therefore to answer the question, “Why does evil exist?”: It exists because there are people in this world who have decided not to obey God. Dear friends, it has to be understood well–should be understood well– that well, although God created us for good, He does not force us to be good. He does not force us to obey His words. God gives us the ability, or let’s say, the freedom, to make our own decisions on how we want to live. He gives us what’s come to be known as free will.
Bob Pellien: So, if a person decides not to follow God’s laws, refuses to obey Him and instead lives by the standards of the world around, will he or she ever be better off? We turn to the Holy Bible again, this time, Ephesians 2:2:
Yes, in the past your lives were full of those sins. You lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers over the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God.
[Ephesians 2:2 Easy-to-Read Version]
Bob Pellien: So the answer is a clear no. They will not be better off. Why are we so sure? Well, because we read here, because the biblical truth is that those who refuse to obey God have now chosen to give themselves over to whom? To what the Bible calls “the ruler of the evil powers over the earth.” Therefore, evil is widespread in the world because there are people choosing the ruler of evil instead of the God of good. I repeat: because people are choosing the ruler of evil instead of the God of good. And this happens when they insist on living the way the world lives. Dear friends, as we read, who is the ruler of evil powers over the earth? Who is that that we read about here? Let’s read Ephesians, chapter 2 again but we’ll read it this time in a different rendition of the Bible that gives us additional information. In Ephesians 2:2, here in the New Life Version of the Bible, reads this way:
You followed the sinful ways of the world and obeyed the leader of the power of darkness. He is the devil who is now working in the people who do not obey God.
[Ephesians 2:2 New Life Version]
Bob Pellien: Here, dear friends, the Bible is teaching very clearly that it is none other than the devil that is “now working.” Where is the devil working? The Bible says he’s working “in the people who do not obey God.” Notice just as God does not force anyone to obey Him, the devil cannot force anyone to disobey God, but rather merely tempts and encourages, entices disobedience to the Creator. And if one then falls victim to that enticement and disobeys God, dear friends, aren’t they then obeying the will of the devil since that’s what the devil strives to accomplish in the first place?
But then, someone might be thinking “Well okay but why doesn’t God just stop all these bad things and all this evil from happening?” and “If God is all-powerful, can’t He prevent Satan from tempting people into disobedience?” Well since we have learned many times in our other episodes of this program and in other of our religious programming here in the Church Of Christ, God is all-powerful. By the way, that’s even mentioned in Genesis 35:11.
There should be no question whether God has enough power to do anything and everything. All things are possible with God. He could, at any time, just eliminate evil yet He’s not doing that. Let’s focus on why He allows trials and tests to happen. Why does God allow tests and temptation to come to us? This is what we can read in the writings, this time of apostle Peter. He wrote in chapter 1, verses 6-7:
Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.
[1 Peter 1:6-7 Good News Translation]
Bob Pellien: Dear friends, according to apostle Peter here, God allows the tests [and] the trials. Why? Because they have a purpose. But what is their purpose? The Bible stated here, “Their purpose” [is what?] is to prove that your faith is genuine.” Since we already learned that God gives us the free will to decide if we will obey Him or not and He doesn’t force us to follow Him as if we’re mindless robots. No. So the testing of our loyalty, our faith is necessary.
What’s an example given to help us understand the reason God allows us to undergo such tests? The example given here by the apostle Peter, he said “Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested.” In what way is gold tested? The Bible says here that “gold… is tested.” How? It is brought through the “fire.” What would be the result if we obey God’s laws despite the fiery trials and tests of temptation encountered in the midst of this evil world? What’s the reward if, in fact, dear friends, we pass the test? The Bible teaches, we just read there, “Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Because we are living in a world with temptations from all evil powers, what is one of the many commands that God gives us for our own good? The answer is again recorded here in the Holy Bible, this time in the writings of apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-16. The Bible answers this:
So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise. Live wisely. I mean, that you should use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.
[Ephesians 5:15-16 New Century Version]
Bob Pellien: Dear friends, God instructs us to be not only careful, “very careful how you live.” How should we live? He said, “Do not live like [foolish people]..live wisely.” What should we do to prove that we are living wisely? He said, “Use every chance you have for doing good.” Remember doing good, as we learned earlier, is obeying God’s laws, obeying His commandments. Why should we all the more decide to follow God’s teachings? Because the Bible clarifies “these are evil times.” And it’s easy to agree with that, wouldn’t you say dear friends? We look around us today, these are indeed evil times, right?
So in review, we began our discussion with three, what we call “three sub-questions,” right? We broke down Tom’s question even further.
1. What does it mean that people were created good?
The answer of the Bible: God made us for the purpose of obeying His laws and instructions so that everything would go well in our lives. That’s good.
2. Why then is evil so widespread?
We learned evil happens when people decide to not obey God which results in them obeying the enemy of God, of which, of course, is Satan.
3. Why doesn’t God stop evil from occurring in the first place?
Answer of the Bible: God allows us to encounter trials and temptations to test our obedience and to find out who is genuinely faithful to Him. He didn’t create us as robots but instead He wants us to choose to follow Him.
If you want to do that and you choose to know more about God’s laws that He wishes us to obey so that we can fulfill His intention of creating us for good, we invite you to continue learning, then, more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo the Church Of Christ. How do we do that? We invite you to visit us online and browse the different topics and set up an appointment to meet with a minister of the gospel. And if you still have any questions about the Bible or salvation, please email them to us. We thank you for viewing our program. I’m Bob Pellien. Thanks for watching. See you next time, right here, on That’s in the Bible!