I want to share with you some big ideas on evil. Where does evil come from? Why does evil exist? Did God create it? If God created evil, is He good?
To cut right to it, God did not create evil. Evil is the consequence of rejecting God. However, God temporarily permits evil to exist. Let me explain…
In the beginning, God created human beings to experience a loving relationship with their Creator (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7). God designed humanity with the ability to love him as he loves us (Mark 12:29-30). In order to truly love, you must also have freedom not to love. This is a part of what it means to be “created in God’s image” (Gen 1:27).
Unfortunately, Adam and Eve chose to love themselves, not the Lord. They doubted God’s goodness and thought they were better off independent of God (Genesis 3:1-6). By rejecting God, they rejected what is good since God is good (Mark 10:18; James 1:17). The opposite of good is evil. Third John 1:11 says, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”
Remember God did not create evil. Evil is the consequence of rejecting God. However, God temporarily permits evil to exist. Let me explain further…
Evil is not a substance–meaning you can’t hold it or weigh it. It’s immaterial. Evil is like a hole. Ponder this thought… Can you hold a hole by itself? No, you can experience a hole, but a hole can’t exist independently. Imagine I carved a hole in a piece of wood and handed the wood to you. You could experience the hole but only because of the absence of the wood. If you were to dig a hole in the ground, you could experience the hole but only because of the absence of dirt. A hole always requires something else to exist. Evil is the same way. Evil is present when God is rejected. The absence of God brings the hole of evil. Evil doesn’t exist in and of itself. God didn’t create evil. However, God permitted evil by permitting creatures to reject him. God gave mankind opportunity to love or reject him. Adam chose the later. and Rejecting God is evil.
Now that we have discussed evil and its existence, let me give you a few encouraging thoughts about God’s goodness and his sovereignty.
#1 God is good and doesn’t tempt us to evil (James 1:13). This means God is for you. He wants you to overcome evil by coming to him who is good. God came so that you could have abundant life. God wants you to walk with Him. He doesn’t want you to sin, he doesn’t force you to sin. He wants you to win, because he is good (Romans 8:31-38).
#2 God is good and will judge all evil. No tear you have shed and no pain you have ever endured will be wasted (Psalm 56:8-11). God will bring it all into account. He will judge it all. God will work everything out for his good (Romans 8:28). How do we know God can turn all pain and suffering into good? The cross of Christ! Think about it. The cross was the most despicable image in all of human history. It was the worse torture a human could endure. Yet, God takes the cross, defeats it, and turns it into the symbol of victory for the Christian church (1 Corinthians 1:18). If God can turn that image of defeat to an image of victory, he can do the same thing in your life. The end of Revelation reminds us “No more pain or suffering (Revelation 21:4-5).”
#3 God is good and giving you the opportunity to escape judgement. Did you know the early church wrestled with questions of evil? Some Christians started doubting the goodness of God and his promises, but Peter gave a powerful thought in response. He said, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent (NLT 2 Peter 3:9).” What Peter is saying is that God will fulfill his promises by ending evil and rescuing his people. At the same time God is being intentional about delaying his judgement. Why? Because God wants us to be rescued from his wrath. We should not want to find ourselves in the path of his wrath. God is delaying judgement to give us the opportunity to embrace forgiveness in Jesus. If you weren’t aware, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23)! This means we will face God’s judgement (Hebrews 9:27). Good news, God provided a way to escape wrath (John 14:6). That escape is through Christ (John 3:16-17). My hope for your life is that you are covered by the grace of God because of the cross of Christ. Have you embraced Jesus as the rescuer of your soul and the one who paid for your sins (Romans 5:8)? To reject Jesus is to reject what is good. Embrace Jesus. “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).