“If a thing is free to be good, it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” ~ C. S. Lewis
You have likely heard the phrase, “God is good all the time; all the time God is good.” But is it true? When you read stories from the bible, especially some of the violent episodes in the Old Testament, how do you reconcile that with the idea that “God is good all the time?” If God is omnipotent (all-powerful), then why does evil exist? Why must humankind suffer from diseases, COVID-19, catastrophic storms, and evil acts? Why doesn’t God step in and put an end to all of this darkness, suffering, and pain? What if there is no God, and this experience we call life is simply an entire season episode of Survivor.
First, if you don’t believe in God, then let me ask you a question. Would you please look around and pick up a book? Now be honest with yourself; could this book create itself? Of course not; now consider human DNA, the storybook of life, and what defines you, e.g., your hair color, skin color, height, build, feature, etc., could it have created itself? Of course not, so let’s acknowledge there is a creator, a Higher Power, Intelligent Design, etc.; the world didn’t create itself out of nothing. Even Richard Dawkins admits that the world and all its belongings come from something.¹
Second, now that we have established that the universe didn’t originate from nothing, and Intelligent Design is the author of creation in some form or another, let’s discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many of us grew up with the idea of a punishing God, myself included. That God is a God of justice, and if you don’t abide by the spiritual principles of the universe, punishment is unavoidable. One of the myths about God is that He has always punished those who fail His expectations. This theory connects God to all the evil in the world and suggests that this is why we witness God’s wrath and punishment on humanity. e.g., COVID-19, wildfires, hurricanes, cancer, etc. This is delusional, and let me explain why and prove my point.
God is a God of justice, but also love. Let me ask you a question, should the serials killers, religious extremists, rapists, murders, child abusers, animal abusers, etc., be punished? Should they be held accountable for their actions? Yes, of course, they should. Why? The simple answer is justice. Now apply that mindset to God; if humankind was designed to live, let’s say, by the Ten Commandments, but then chooses not to adhere to God’s commandments, should justice prevail? How can you say “no” if you said, “yes” to the so-called “bad people” of the world? Of course, justice must prevail because God can’t compromise God’s own principles.
Because God is a God of both justice and love, He had to deal with the problem. The bible tells us that God so loved the world that He personified Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and by way of the incarnation came to earth to settle matters once and for all.² Since justice must be served; God took it upon Himself to suffer the consequences for humanity by allowing God’s only Son (Jesus’s decision) to take on the world’s sin by way of the cross and resurrection. So not only did He put an end to the power of sin, provide acquittal for humanity, He also opened the gates to paradise where we can spend eternity with the Creator of the universe. Friends, that’s not a punishing God; that’s a God of love and the ultimate act of love. Can I get a witness!
God created angelic beings first, and then came human beings. He created both with free will, and with free will comes the propensity for evil—one-third of the angels fell from God’s presence by choosing evil over good. Humanity was created with this same free will. Influenced by the principalities and powers of this earth (fallen angels), the first humans chose to exercise their free will and attempt to become something they could not, which was God. Like the angels, humans chose to separate from God, and evil entered the world and corrupted all creation. This action paved the way for misfortune, poverty, oppression, systemic injustice, disease, accidents, catastrophic loss, and the countless evil atrocities we witness every day in the world.
Because of the cross and resurrection, God reconciles humankind once and for all (requires surrender and acceptance on our part). The bible tells us that God will reconcile all of creation and restore it to its rightful place and order on earth as it is in heaven. This great event will happen when the timing is right, and only God knows the day and the hour that salvation for all of creation will occur (only God knows, not AM Radio prophets).³
The best news ever is that God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good, even when it doesn’t appear that way. The principalities and powers are still at work behind the scenes creating chaos and suffering for all creation. One day the dark forces on planet earth will be quieted once and for all, but until then, our job is to help usher in the kingdom of God, which means we get to play an active role in the salvation process on earth as in heaven. How? By loving God and loving all of creation as ourselves. What a gift and opportunity to live in the presence of a loving God and help change the world.
My Creator, thank You for the gift of life and creation. I know we live in a fallen world and that humanity lives in a failed state. This life experience is a mystery, and it takes all the faith I can muster to trudge my way through it. Would you please allow Your Spirit to reveal Your truth and inspiration inside my soul and grant me the humility and willingness to embrace it in every aspect of my life? In Your Spirit and Name, I pray these things. May Your will not mine always materialize, now and forever. Amen.