Why Does God Allow Evil?
Today’s Scripture: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17
When Christians discuss how and when evil entered the world, they most often point to the serpent’s temptation of Eve. But in fact, we must go back a bit further to the moment when God planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By offering Adam and Eve a choice between obedience and rebellion, the Lord allowed for evil to enter His perfect creation.
Now, you are probably asking the very question that plagues many people, believers and unbelievers alike: Why does a loving God allow evil? Some unsatisfactory answers have been put forward over the years—for example, that the Lord doesn’t care or that He’s helpless to prevent evil. Such responses contradict what God says about Himself in Scripture (Romans 5:8; Psalm 47:8). The truth is, our loving Father wields absolute authority over this world.
God had a purpose for letting wickedness enter the world. The Tree of Knowledge was a testing ground. Adam and Eve had to choose between rebellion and love, evil and righteousness, disobedience and obedience. Because the Lord desired love from the human beings He created, He had to offer a choice. Genuine love is given freely. The alternatives were either to skip the whole creation process or to program mankind like robots to give Him glory and praise.
The Lord gives two assurances regarding evil. First, His purpose is not for us to sin (James 1:13). He desires that we live with righteous intent so that evil can find no room in our hearts. Second, when we are touched by evil, He will cause the experience to work for our good (Romans 8:28).