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Existence of Evil
Of all the suffering in this world, a great quantity of it can be attributed to the evilness and depravity of mankind. One man's anger may maim or kill hundreds of innocent people. The depravity of another may wreck the life of pure and innocent young children. There is hardly an act of evilness which has not resulted in the hurt or injury of many blameless bystanders.
Cause of evil
Some people imagine that God is responsible for the evilness in this world, that He is its cause and source. But God is loving, merciful and fair and He created man in the same way. However man has turned against God. Humans have rebelled against God's laws and have not been thankful for His kindness. It is not God that is responsible for evilness, it is due to the sinfulness of man.
Although God is not the Author of evil, surely He could still prevent it? If God is All-powerful why does he not stop evilness from triumphing? These are very good questions that need to be carefully looked at. I will try to explain why I think God permits some evilness to succeed, even if it is only for a short time.
Firstly God loves and cares for us. He does not want to punish us unless He has to. He perseveres with even the most evil men, giving them the opportunities to ask for forgiveness and to follow his laws. John Calvin expressed it like this:
"How richly does he supply us with the means of contemplating his mercy when, as frequently happens, he continues to visit miserable sinners with unwearied kindness, until he subdues their depravity, and woos them back with more than a parent's fondness?"
God tries to bring us to Him by showing us His mercy rather than His anger. Were God to punish all of mankind as is deserved not one of us would survive as we have all sinned and come short of His glory. We each deserve His wrath and condemnation, yet He perseveres with each of us trying to draw us to Him with his love instead of His judgement.
Another reason for God permitting evil is that it makes us look forward to the Final Judgement when God will take account of everything that has been done. Augustine put it like this:
"Were all sin now visited with open punishment, it might be thought that nothing was reserved for the final judgement; and, on the other hand, were no sin now openly punished, it might be supposed there was no divine providence."
John Calvin added:
"And though God often permits the guilty to exult for a time with impunity, and the innocent to be driven to and fro in adversity, nay, even to be wickedly and iniquitously oppressed, this ought not to produce any uncertainty as to the uniform justice of all his procedure. Nay, an opposite inference should be drawn. When any one crime calls forth visible manifestations of his anger, it must be because he hates all crimes; and, on the other hand, his leaving many crimes unpunished, only proves that there is a judgement in reserve, when the punishment now delayed shall be inflicted."
A final reason for God allowing evil to continue in this world is so that we can really appreciate Heaven. If this world were sinless then Heaven would be unnecessary because we would already be there.
Only by experiencing the depravity of evil, can we fully appreciate the goodness of God.
God will not allow evil to continue. He will punish, not only the Hitlers and Osama Bin Ladens of this world, but everybody who hurts others, everybody who breaks the laws He has set for our own good. We all must turn to God for forgiveness.