WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL?
Author Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church
horrific mass murder of innocent Americans leaves all rational people shocked,
angry, grief-stricken, and numb. Our tears flow freely and our hearts carry a
deep ache. How could this happen in our nation?
week as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, and co-workers
begin to share their stories, this tragedy will be become even more personal. As
this tragedy becomes more personal, it will become more painful. As our pain
deepens, so will the questions.
Why does God allow evil to happen? If God is so great, and so good, why
does he allow human beings to hurt each other?
answer lies in both our greatest blessing and our worst curse: our capacity to
make choices. God has given us a free will. Made in God’s image, he has given
us the freedom to decide how we will act and the ability to make moral choices.
This is one asset that sets us apart from animals, but it also is the source of
so much pain in our world. People, and that includes all of us, often make
selfish, self-centered, and evil choices. Whenever that happens, people get
is ultimately selfishness. I want to do what I want, not what God tells me to
do. Unfortunately, sin always hurts others, not just ourselves.
could have eliminated all evil from our world by simply removing our ability to
choose it. He could have made us puppets, or marionettes on strings that he
pulls. By taking away our ability to choose it, evil would vanish. But God
doesn’t want us to be puppets.
He wants to be loved and obeyed by creatures who voluntarily choose to do
so. Love is not genuine if there is no other option.
God could have kept the terrorists from completing their suicidal missions by
removing their ability to choose their own will instead of his. But to be fair,
God would also have to do that to all of us. You and I are not terrorists, but
we do harm and hurt others with our own selfish decisions and actions.
may hear misguided minds say “This must have been God’s will.”
In a world of free choices, God’s will is rarely done!
Doing our own will is much more common. Don’t blame God for this
tragedy. Blame people who ignored what God has told us to do: “Love your
neighbor as yourself.”
heaven, God’s will is done perfectly. That’s why there is no sorrow, pain,
or evil there. But this is earth, a fallen, imperfect place. We must choose to
do God’s will everyday. It isn’t automatic.
This is why Jesus told us to pray “Thy will be done on earth, as it is
Bible tells us the root of evil: “This is the crisis we’re in: God’s light
streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the
darkness...because they were not really interested in pleasing God.” (John
3:19 Message Translation) We’re far more interested in pleasing ourselves.
are many other questions that race through our minds during dark days. But the
answers will not come from pollsters, pundits, or politicians. We must look to
God and his Word. We must humble ourselves and admit that each of us often
choose to ignore what God wants us to do.
doubt, this weekend, houses of worship across America will be packed. In a
crisis we cry out for a connection with our Creator.
This is a deep-seated, universal urge. The first words uttered by
millions on Tuesday were “Oh God!” We were made for a relationship with God
but he waits for us to choose Him. He is ready to comfort, guide, and direct us
through our grief. My prayer is that you will attend a house of worship this
weekend and reconnect with God. But it’s your choice.