“If God is all-powerful and all-loving, then God should stop all the evil and suffering in the world.” While this judgment of God may be convincing for some and a struggle for many who doubt, one should think of the implications. How can God give free will and yet remove the consequences of free will? God could change every bullet fired to murder into bubbles and all knives intended to harm into rubber. God could send an angel to stop every great human tragedy. However, if every act of evil concluded with neutral or positive effects, then evil no longer reveals the depth of its depravity. The reality of evil will become distorted before human eyes.
Evil, death, and suffering have come into this world by the sin of humanity (Romans 5). Removing all evil removes free will and its consequences. Such a world would not allow the coming of the heavenly kingdom where the faithful and holy live by free will, good choices, and loving one’s neighbor. Instead, many want this present world to become a “paradise” where free choice has no real effect and where causality no longer applies. Such a world would exist without ethical reasoning, morality, consequences, or the need for any good actions and thus negates the need for love.
Why does God allow evil? God allows evil for good reasons. God allows evil to a great extent for the complete and ultimate destruction of evil and sin through Jesus Christ (Col 2:13–15; Heb 2:14–18; 1 John 3:8). God allows suffering to communicate that the greatest tragedy in this life is temporary and minimal compared to God’s overwhelming recovery from the hurt that every faithful person endures in this life. God allows great suffering as those who suffer can experience the grace of God that gives peace in Jesus Christ (Rom 8:16; Phil 1:27–30; Jas 1:2–4). God allows evil and suffering as God’s grace strengthens a person’s character through suffering that cannot exist without suffering (Rom 5:3–5; 8:16, 28; 2 Cor 12:7–10).
God allows evil and that allows the greatest acts of good — repentance, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, comfort, and relief — that cannot exist otherwise (Luke 5:32; 6:20–49). God gives free will and the ability for humanity to choose to flee sin and pursue holy living rather than living in a world with no real consequences for one’s actions (Rom 6:15–23). God allows evil so that people who sin can continue living by God’s mercy and have opportunity to repent because God loves all and wants everyone to repent and be saved (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9).
God resolves suffering justly and overcomes death in Jesus’s resurrection. God will give eternal life by restoring creation from its corruption and decay (Rom 8:18–25). This restoration includes the redemption of the faithful by bodily resurrecting from the dead (1 Cor 15:53; 2 Cor 4:17).
The atheistic worldview is always in a continuum of collapsing so that unbelievers are always struggling to hold on to morality, meaning, causality, and reality. The atheistic perspective of reality often sets people in opposition to their definition of “evil” while often changing “good” to fit them, and this denies the reality of good and evil. Secular society is always questioning, overturning, and moving every moral position. Isaiah prophesied, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20).
Thank God that He will make all things right. God is the Source of all good for God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). By Christ laying down His life for all, every repentant and baptized believer can know God’s love and so love others (1 John 3:16).