If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He destroy evil?
Here’s one way this argument goes…
– God is all powerful
– He should be able to destroy evil
– But evil is not destroyed, therefore God must not be all-powerful
Another way of saying it is…
– God created everything
– Evil is a thing
-Therefore, God created evil
Either way the problem of evil is phrased, we conclude that God is not all powerful (and therefore not the Christian concept of God) OR He is the creator of evil and He is not all-good (and therefore not the Christian concept of God).
Let’s look at the 1st argument logically.
– Christians can agree that God is all-powerful.
– We can also agree that He is able to destroy evil if He so chooses to.
– It’s the 3rd part that we would dispute. Just because evil isn’t destroyed yet, doesn’t mean that it won’t be in the future. Or another response is that there may be a reason that the questioner hasn’t thought of yet as to why evil isn’t destroyed. We’ll come back to this in a few minutes.
Now let’s look at the 2nd argument logically.
– Christians agree that God created everything.
– But we disagree that evil is a created thing.
– If evil is not a created thing, then it follows that God is NOT the creator of evil and is not evil Himself.
In both of these arguments, it would help if we defined what evil is.
In the Bible, God made the angel Lucifer as a good angel. But Lucifer rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-17 & Ezekiel 28: 11-19). So, biblically, we can define evil as a corruption of something good. It doesn’t exist by itself. It only exists as a corruption of something else. It’s like rust on a car. Rust doesn’t exist in and of itself but only as a corruption of the car’s metal. Evil cannot exist by itself but only as a corruption of something good and pure. Satan is a corruption of the good angel Lucifer.
Now you may ask the question why did Lucifer rebel against God? God created us (and the angels) with the ability to freely choose what we want. He didn’t create robots who would automatically love Him. He created us with the ability to freely choose to love Him. Without free will, love is meaningless. Would you like it if your spouse had to be forced to love you? We can choose to freely love God or not to love Him. The choice is ours. If we don’t choose to follow Jesus, if we walk away from Him, we have chosen evil.
So the origin of evil is our own free will when we choose to not follow Jesus. The most you can say is that God created the potential of evil but we made it actual.
Can God destroy evil? Yes, He can but He won’t because to destroy evil, He would have to destroy our free will and that would be evil in itself. God created human beings, not robots. So we don’t need to talk about destroying evil but overcoming it. And on that, the New Testament is very clear. By getting to know and practice the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can start to make more Godly choices in our lives. Sin (choosing our way instead of God’s way) eventually produces suffering and destruction and that effects everyone. Sin usually starts out small but unless its dealt with, it can consume us.
Finally, God can use evil to minister to us. An example in my life is that I had to go thru great suffering and pain before I was willing to turn to God. That turned out to be the best decision of my life. So suffering brought about good in my life. Now that’s resurrection power when God can take a bad thing and turn it into a good thing.
“The Problem of God” by Mark Clark, Chapter 5, pages 105-124
“When Skeptics Ask” by Geisler & Brooks, Chapter 4, pages 59-74
For His Kingdom,