Evil Is Permitted
“If there really is a God…WHY?
things as they are?
Why is there
terror, sickness, hunger, death, cheating, war, poverty,
fear, confusion, prejudice, unemployment, pain,
Is there an
is an answer—a rational one. Here is the answer
in an abbreviated form. It is offered as being
satisfying, adequate, harmonious, comprehensive, and
capable of being well-documented. It is an answer
which, unlike most answers, includes all men as
recipients of its ultimate benefits. It is not a
answer must have legitimate support. Even in the realms
of philosophy and religion, any conclusions not
consistent with observable or recorded fact, any
conclusions ignoring major related questions, are weak.
Thoughtful minds refuse to take note of them, let alone
embrace them. The answer presented here claims total
harmony with observable and recorded facts.
system of thought requires an authority. Available
authorities fall into one of two general
classifications: (1) men, and (2) superhuman sources.
(1) In the
classification of men as authorities, people rely on:
ideas or preferences of another man;
traditions established by groups of men.
these “authorities” presents problems of its own:
on our own preferences and reasonings as the path
to truth assumes that our personal thought processes are
superior to all others.
on the ideas of another man as the path to truth
assumes that his thought processes are superior
to all others.
on traditions established by groups of men leaves
us open to deception by human error.
(2) In the
classification of superhuman sources as authorities,
there two main categories:
personal revelation (visions, etc.), and
is easily fraudulent. It is frequently inconsistent
from one occurrence to another. It also tends to
establish an “elite” class—those who have received such
“revelation.” It leaves much room for misrepresentation
has some distinct advantages. It is recorded in black
and white. It can, therefore, be compared carefully
with fact and, thus, its reliability either established
We hope here
to answer a major question—to give an answer in harmony
with reason. We will give an answer based on a reliable
authority—an authority which has been greatly
misrepresented and maligned, even by those who have
claimed to be its supporters. That authority is the
Bible—but its contents are better than most men could
dream. It is imperative that no prior assumptions be
made by the reader as to what this great authority
answer herein presented is merely an outline or a
summary, it will not be well documented. If, however,
the answer is appealing, complete documentation and
expansion of its many facts is easily available for
those who desire it. We feel that no
question need go without a reasonable, consistent, and
documented answer. The “take-it-on-faith” attitude of
traditional religion is carefully avoided.
If God does,
indeed, exist, why does He not do something? Why would
an intelligent, powerful Being permit the atrocities,
the accidents, the illnesses, the sufferings (physical
and mental) to happen or to continue?
Understanding the answer to this question depends upon
understanding both what God is like and what His purpose
is. His character (a balance of Wisdom, Justice, Love,
and Power) is revealed in His plans and purposes.
Consider a seven-point paraphrase of His considerations
and purposes in creation. (Each point will consist of a
question, an answer, and a summary.
1. Why did God create?
According to the Bible (which claims to be a written
revelation of God), “God is love.” (I John 4:8) If
love, (and, therefore, God) has one pre-eminent need or
quality, that need is GIVING. God created so that He
would have beings to whom He could GIVE the kinds of
delights that He could offer them.
God created because He wanted to share blessings with
2. What qualities would He give His creation?
God could have made men like computers or
robots—machines programmed so that they could not make
mistakes. Had He done this, there would have been no
problems: no wars, no illness, no mistakes, no fear, no
pain, no emotions—yes, that’s a problem—no emotions!
Without emotions there is no thankfulness, no joy, no
love. If God had made men infallible, they would be
incapable of receiving the LOVE that He wanted to extend
to them. Therefore, it was a necessary part of creation
that man be made free to choose and to think—not a cold,
God made man
free in choice and thought so that man could receive and
appreciate the good things God would give him.
How can individual freedoms be regulated?
to create free beings did, indeed, pose a problem.
Liberty is a peculiar thing. It implies restraint! If
one individual carries his liberty too far, it robs
another individual of his liberty—and liberty no
longer exists. God, therefore, saw the necessity of
imposing legitimate restraints on the free being He
would create in order to guarantee the liberty and
happiness of everyone. He is the author of liberty; it
is only right that He also be its definer. God
determined that man must learn the one simple but
imperative lesson: OBEDIENCE. Without obedience
there would be infringement of liberties. With
infringement of liberties would come chaos. God did not
want chaos in His universe.
determined that His creation must learn the lesson of
obedience to His perfect laws so that the universe would
run smoothly for the ultimate benefit of all
without infringement of the personal liberties of
4. How could the importance of this lesson be learned?
Answer: It was
necessary that man learn obedience—not only to obey, but
the importance of obedience. Man must obey not
just because he is told to, but because he wants
to. This makes him free—the desire to comply
rather than the constraints to comply.
God as Creator knew
that the available means of learning were instruction,
observation, and experience. Man could not learn at
first by observation, because there was no
disobedience to observe. God would have preferred if
man could have learned without experience,
although He knew that the tendency of a free mind would
lead it toward experimentation. So God first taught man
man that disobedience would result in death. He wanted
to impress upon man that disobedience, because it would
result in chaos, was so serious that God’s Justice felt
compelled to demand death (extinction) for it.
did not satisfy man. Man disobeyed. He was condemned
to death, and he continues to die.
God foresaw that man would never learn the importance of
obedience by instruction only. He knew (but did not
force it) that man would ultimately have to learn not
only by instruction, but also by observing and
experiencing the results of disobedience.
Why die for eating an “apple”?
God made man
on earth and told him he was free—except that he was not
to eat the fruit of a certain tree. (We have no
evidence that it was an apple.) Why was this seemingly
peculiar test applied? Why, instead, wasn’t man given
some great moral law to obey? Why didn’t God say, “You
can be free except that you are not free to murder”?
God chose the simple, not easily understood test,
because it was not easy to understand! God was
testing OBEDIENCE, not intelligence! God wants
to be certain that man will obey even when man does not
understand. God wants man to want to obey just
because he values the arrangements God has provided.
God wants man to know that disobedience will cause chaos
and, therefore, is justly punishable by extinction. God
wants man to learn to love righteousness for its
inherent beauty. Lack of obedience will injure others
and alter the balance of the universe. Considering
these facts, the sentence of death was not too severe.
Summary: Obedience is
so important that it must be carried out without
question. Extinction will be eternally the result of
How is man to profit from his plight?
disobeyed. Man was condemned to death. Man now
is learning through experience and observation that the
results of disobedience are ugly. God has permitted
evil so that we will appreciate our liberty to avoid it
later. God did not design or cause evil. Man was
warned against it. Man chose it. But God respects
individual liberty; He does not interfere with the free
choice of His beings—that, remember, would be contrary
to His original purpose in creation.
God, in Justice,
cannot excuse disobedience. The original man, and we in
him, die because of one original act of disobedience.
God’s design appears faulty. It seems like
everything is futile! Man is dying, and God’s Justice
is too exacting for us to expect a pardon. We could
never trust a God who changed His mind!
God, however, was
wise and economical in allowing one act to be the
catalyst for teaching us all. Because of this, the love
of God could easily provide a JUST remedy. God wants
man to live; that is why He created man in the first
place. So God has arranged a way to remove the sentence
of death from Adam (and from us all who came from
Adam). God sent His son, Jesus—not a son of Adam, but
yet a man—a perfect man as was Adam—no more, no less.
This man, Jesus, had a right to life because he
was always perfectly obedient. But he voluntarily gave
up his human life rights as an exchange or “ransom” for
the life rights of Adam. (I Timothy 2:5, 6; I
Corinthians 15:22) Justice is satisfied by this ransom
or exchange (“a life for a life”—Deuteronomy 19:21). A
human life still is claimed as the price for
disobedience, but Adam now is legally free to live
again—and so are all of us!
Man now is learning the results of disobedience so that
he can choose later to obey—a choice which will be an
intelligent, experienced choice. The death of Jesus
guarantees that man can live again—that God’s creative
efforts with man will not have been in vain. We now can
expect an awakening of the whole human race.
Why is man still dying? Why the delay?
two primary reasons why the permission of suffering and
death continues. The first reason is population. God
is allowing enough men to have lived (now and in the
past), and enough to have experienced evil, to populate
the earth comfortably (perhaps 20 billion). When the
earth ultimately is perfected it will easily sustain
this size population. At that time even the
“desert…shall blossom as a rose.” (Isaiah 35)
The second reason
for the delay is a noble mystery, hidden from the view
of most men. God is in the process of making a “New
Creation.” The same love that stimulated the creation
of men and angels also determined the creation of a few
beings in the very likeness of God Himself—an intimate
family for God, so to speak. These being will be
death-proof—meaning that they will be absolutely
incapable of extinction under any circumstances. (While
all other beings will actually live forever, they will
be mortal—that is, they will live by God’s permission
rather than by being inherently death-proof. II Timothy
It is manifest that
God would not want to give death-proofness (immortality)
without first certainly establishing the obedience
of the creature, for if God created an immortal being
which became disobedient, the universe would forever be
plagued with the results of disobedience. Therefore,
God determined that He would make His “New Creation” out
of an old creation so that He could first test
What an opportunity
for such testing exists on the earth! And God
determined to utilize the earth to develop His “New
Creation”—which He also calls His “church.” (Church is
form the Greek word “EKKLESIA” which means “a calling
out.” God will “call out” of the earth those characters
He wishes for His “New Creation.”)
A period of about
2,000 years (between the two advents of Christ) was set
aside for finding a small number of such people—people
who under adverse conditions would be faithfully
obedient to the instructions of God. It is God’s
intention to “CHANGE” faithful Christians into spirit
beings (like Himself) before the earth is restored and
mankind is resurrected. It also is God’s intention that
His “New Creation” will be the active agents in
awakening man from the dead and bringing man to the
point of perfect obedience. After all, this “church”
will have been men! Imagine the sympathy they will
be able to exercise toward mankind! (I Corinthians 6:2;
Man has not
yet been restored to life, and God has not yet stepped
in to do away with all ills because (1) the earth’s
population must first reach its proper size, and (2) the
candidates from among men for God’s “New Creation” must
all be selected.
SUMMARY & PROSPECTS
permitted evil because it was the only method by
which He could develop an informed and obedient creation
which possess freedom of intelligent choice—a creation
who ultimately will worship Him because they want
seeming failure of God (to human eyes) is due to His
secret work of developing a “New Creation” which
will be used to restore man to perfection. Meanwhile,
the population of the earth has approached its desirable
prospects for the near future are better than man’s
fondest dreams. When the long-spoken, but rarely
understood, prayer is answered, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy
will be done in earth….,” the earth will be an
ecological and social paradise. We have hardly begun to
live! We have hardly begun to dream!
* * * * *
is covered in detail in
THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES. See
Available Literature link.
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