Something I’ve been mulling over for some time… not provoked by any particular incidence so much as a general misunderstanding of the situation. There’s a question that I have seen seasoned pastors, and fresh young Christians freeze up over… a question that is self fulfilling, so it is a wonder that anyone gets stuck on it. However, at the same time is so simple, we convolute it with intricacies that make it far more complicated than it should be. I have been guilty of this, and until recently was blind to the simplicity of the situation. You see, the answer to the age old question “If God is so good, why does evil persist?” was answered to me shortly after hearing about the story of Ariel Castro and the three women that he tragically held captive for 10 years… I’ve not been naive to the fact that there are still millions of slaves in the world… mostly young women used as sex slaves… but somehow putting a face to an assailant brought a revelation that I had never seen before… I’ve even known the answer to the question… but giving it a face woke me to a reality that never existed before. I do not intend on convincing anyone of anything that they have never believed before… science shows us that we find truth in our pre-conceived ideas, and even with correction only find reaffirmation of those ideas no matter what the facts or corrections say.
What people are really asking “If God is so good, why doesn’t he hold us captive and force us to his will?” For some reason we are receptive to the idea that a human keeping someone else captive for their pleasure is evil… but if God does it he is good? I think not! Evil, is evil, and God cannot have any part of evil… However, God desires relationship, even love, but how does the Infinite Being have company without captivity? Anyone, or anything that He creates must be perfect… and in perfection is a captive… therefore the answer to this perplexity must be two fold. First God must create a being that reflects Hist glory so much so that this being sees perfection in His shadow, and falls into nothing but shadow. Then God creates a being that is designed to Love Him… But how can Love exist without evil? You see, if God forces Love on us, nothing but evil exists… So God must allow Evil to exist for a time, in order for Love to exist. Without choice, Love does not exist… How can one love their captor? If God took us at his pleasure, could love exist for any of us?
The popular saying goes “Bad things happen so that we can recognize the good that is around us.” assuming that we would become numb to and bored with the good if nothing bad ever happened… this is only partially true, if only “good” existed we would never become bored with it, only delight in it… but if only good existed we would be trapped, in turn that “good” would be evil as their would be no escape… not even the existence of death. You see, evil exists not because God is powerless to extinguish it… but rather because without it there is nothing but emptiness. An emptiness that can only be quenched with Love… a Love that may only exist with a choice… a choice that requires a stark contrast that is evil. Evil does not have to persist forever, but must be allowed to prevail for a time to give the choice of Love to those who would choose it.