The Problems Of Evil And Free Will

For some people, the idea that an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God would permit evil in the world, is a contradiction.

Others object to the idea that the cause of evil in the world is the result of free will, i.e., human beings exercising their choices.

The reason that people have difficulties with these ideas is because they don’t know God, nor understand who He is.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. ~Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)

The Answer Is In The Stars

Scientists tell us that in order for human beings to be able to exist on earth, there must be second generation stars. When the universe began, pure energy that would become everything that exists today in the universe, was densely compressed into a particle smaller than an atom.

Because of gravity and the laws of physics, this matter was carefully controlled to an exact process that permitted it to transform into matter. First generation stars formed, but they did not have the necessary elements required for human life on earth. It was by the long process of the first generation stars dying and second generation stars being formed from the remaining matter of these first generation stars, that the elements of our periodic table came into existence. Human beings are made from the elements that came from these second generations stars and the earth, much later.

Psalms 19 says that the universe is telling us a story of who God is. That day unto day its speech is heard without uttering a word. In other words, God designed the universe so that it would speak to us—qualities of who He is and what He is doing.

Certainly God could have created the entire universe in an instant, if this was His desire. Instead, it is clear that His plan was to take a very long time.

It is clear from what we know today that God wanted everything that is connected with human life, to take a very long process of time. Some people object to the idea that the universe is 13.799 billion years old. When we examine the first line of the Bible, we read that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” When this beginning was, the Bible does not tell us. The six days of creation described in Genesis 1:3-31, are a creative process to make earth ready for man, not six day for the creation of the whole universe[1]

God wanted to show us something very important by allowing a very long process in His construction of the universe: He wanted to take His time with human-kind for very good reasons.

Before God made the universe, He knew that in order to get out of His creation—people who wanted to love and trust Him—it would take a great deal of time. God could have created beings that were programmed to love Him and obey His command, but this would not produce genuine love, nor sincere trust.

We all understand that any meaningful relationship we can have with another human being, must be willing and and natural, or it will not be sincere love. No one wants a robot that says it loves us by rote. We want a person who has taken the time to know us, really know us, and yet loves us sincerely. This takes time, and it must be willing if it will be meaningful.

In order for God to enable people to really love Him, He must allow us to make that choice for ourselves. He must let us see Him for who He really is. It was for this reason that He came to earth in the form of a man and let the world see God face to face. The Bible says that in Jesus was all the fulness of God in a human body.

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. ~Colossians 2:9 (NLT)

God is interested in the long term, not fast results. We humans are interested in the here and now, and we do not like to wait for things that take a very long time.

Before the Lord made the universe, He had a plan in mind. He knew that in the first generation of human beings, He would not be able to achieve the kind of people that were necessary for eternity. God would have to create us in His image, with the ability to choose our own destiny. In order for there to be the opportunity for real choice, there has to be more than one choice.

God created a tree in the Garden of Eden with fruit upon it. He told Adam that this tree would represent a choice for him and this choice would affect every person who would come after him. Either Adam could trust God, and not eat, or he could exercise his right to choose and eat. The tree represented a choice between good and evil.

We were created innocent of any experiential knowledge of evil. Man already knew what good was; he had walked with God and had seen all his love and goodness every day. By eating the fruit, Adam would signify that he no longer wished to trust God but would, instead, take his own path and experience what evil was all about. At that moment, evil overtook Adam and evil entered the world.

From that day, evil has been present in the world. The results are sickness, suffering, and death for every person—just as God said would happen.

God knew all this before He made Adam. The question is; why then would God make a world where people would live in the presence of evil and suffer so greatly? God was looking ahead to what would result from the catastrophic mistake of Adam. Before we condemn Adam for causing sin and evil to come into our world; before we blame God for letting this happen to us; we must look in the mirror at ourselves.

We make our own conscious decisions each day to sin, and thereby bring evil into our lives and the lives of others in the world. This has nothing to do with Adam or God—they are our choices. God could stop us; He could end evil right now. This being certain, why doesn’t He do it?

This is where many people have a hard time with God. This is the barrier that some say is impassable.

Remember The Illustration Of The Stars?

Just as first generation stars were necessary to give the universe second generation stars so that people could exist on earth; God created a first generation of human beings who would each make their choices. Some would choose poorly and be lost—the result of their own choice. Others would turn to God and be saved—the results of their own choice.

It is this second generation of those who are willing and make a choice for God, that He was thinking of when God permitted this process of evil, suffering and death, a reality that was necessary. Out of this present evil world, God is gathering a group of people that Jesus called His church; all those who place their trust in Him.

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. ~Ephesians 3:10-12 (NLT) 

When this age is complete and the time of Grace that God has allowed this world to make its decision, Jesus will return to remove His church from this world. Paul described this is vivid detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

If God intervened and stopped evil before people had a chance to decide for themselves, we would never know who really loves God and who does not. There is a very specific timeline that God is following in order to complete the salvation of mankind. He has engineered this present time as a sort of grace-filter to sift-out those who will be saved from those that will not.

A Perfect World With People Who Choose To Live There

This new world with perfect beings would not be possible unless God allowed all the descendants of Adam to go through this process of deciding for themselves where, and with whom, they wanted to live.

God also makes His choice about who He wants to live with. He chooses people who recognize their need for salvation and call upon Jesus to save them. The only way that this was possible was by the long process of first giving the world an opportunity to decide.

Out of this entire first generation of human beings that is made up of willing and unwilling persons, God can save some. It is these that will inherit the perfect world God planned long ago.

We who choose to love and trust God, are a part of this new world that is coming very soon. Those who foolishly rebel against God and refuse to turn from their sins as God commanded, He will give them what they ask for. Those who do not love God or trust in Him, will get what they want; to live for eternity without God.

In this, we see that the presence of evil in the world, and the existence of our free will, make perfect sense. When we understand exactly what God had in mind when He created the world and allowed sin and evil to arrive, we see that the only way God could get the people out of the world who would willingly love Him, was by allowing the world to go through this entire process of rebellion, suffering, and death.

Out of this world where most do not want God, there are a few who do. It is these that God was thinking of when he allowed the world to exist for a time in its fallen state, so that He could get the true treasure out of the world.

Jesus said: “the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. ~Matthew 13:44 (NLT)

God wanted everyone to be saved. He wanted every person to be a part of the perfect world He has planned. He had to allow each one of us to decide for ourselves, and then—because of His great love for us— He respects our decision and does not force anyone to love Him.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. ~Genesis 1:27

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” ~Genesis 2:16-17

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil… ~Deuteronomy 30:15

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… ~Joshua 24:15

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” ~Acts 16:30-31

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. ~Revelation 22:14-15

God has planned a perfect world, from before the universe existed. He is gathering a family of people who willingly love Him and want to live in His righteous kingdom forever. I hope that you will join us!

Categories: Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics, Chosen/ Elected, Common errors of Atheists, Defending the Gospel, Following Jesus, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus is God, Origin of the Universe, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation through Jesus, Suffering and Trials, We must repent, Why evil exists, Why God Permits Evil

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2 replies

  1. Dear Mr. Robinson,

    I know that you just got back, therefore my remarks will be astonishingly brief.

    Remark 1). In one of your essays you mentioned how books on theology are heady, perhaps for the sole
    sake of being an edifice of esotericism. I have such a book entitled “Jesus Christ”, a two-volume set. It is so
    complex that it is virtually unreadable. I use it as a doorstop. Your material, on the other hand, is straightforward, understandable, and most importantly, useful.

    Remark 2) You said in this essay: the only way God could get the people out of the world who would willingly love Him, was by allowing the world to go through this entire process of rebellion, suffering, and death.

    To reinforce you, the nature of love I believe has a supernatural element built into its practice. Love cannot be fully embraced or emanated unless the source has that independent, free will volition of “givingness”.
    And, once we release this love, it is as though a seed of Heaven blossoms forth from within us supernaturally.
    We need to have this fallen world to allow us this indispensable component of freedom of choice.

    Your writings are a blessing.

    Steve Rodak


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