Why Does God Allow Evil?

June 2nd, 2010


My health may fail

and my spirit may grow weak . . .

But God remains the strength of my heart.

He is mine forever.

Psalms 73:26 NLT

The writer of Psalms 73 cries out to God and asks “why do the wicked seem to prosper.”  That is a question that many struggle with in their path to God.  Today, people frequently ask, ‘If God is good, why does he allow evil.”

Even the greatest mind of our time, Albert Einstein, struggled with that same question and even though he believed in a Creator and appreciated perhaps more than anyone else the magnificence and magnitude of the creation, he still could not accept God and his plan for salvation because of that obstacle.  At least as far as we know.  We can hope that he came to accept God before his death.

While God made a perfect creation, he also created man with a choice.  A choice to follow and be with God or to reject God and choose self.

When we see the evil in the world and ask, “Why?”  We have to remember that every single choice we make has a consequence.  Sometimes the consequence is good, and sometimes it is bad.

Also, the consequences always affect more than just ourselves.  I am sure there have been many times that you have suffered the consequences of someone else’s wrong decision.  Just as I am sure that many of your decisions have negatively affected others as well.

No one lives in a vacuum.

So what is the answer?  Why does it seem like those who do bad or wrong things get away with it?

The truth is that they don’t.

Regardless of your belief system, this is one universal truth.  No one gets away with anything.  We will all experience the rewards of our actions.

We yearn for justice and we want it right away.  If someone does us wrong, we want God to strike them with a lightening bolt (or at least convict the with remorse) right then and there.

But God’s timeline isn’t our timeline.  He has shown every one of us mercy and given us time to come back to Him when we have been rebellion.

Psalms 73 describes this so well:

But as for me, I almost lost my footing.

My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone

For I envied the proud

when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.

They seem to live such painless lives;

their bodies are so healthy and strong.

They don’t have troubles like other people;

they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.

v 2-5

This is just an illusion.

They wear pride like a jeweled necklace

and clothe themselves with cruelty.

These fat cats have everything

their hearts could ever wish for!

They scoff and speak only evil;

in their pride they seek to crush others.

They boast against the very heavens,

and their words strut throughout the earth.

And so the people are dismayed and confused,

drinking in all their words.

“What does God know?” they ask.

“Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”

Look at these wicked people —

enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?

Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?

I get nothing but trouble all day long;

every morning brings me pain.

v 6-14

The writer of the Psalm, Asaph, tried to do right and felt like it didn’t matter because he was suffering while the wicked prospered.

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.

But what a difficult task it is!

Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,

and I finally understood the destiny of  the wicked.

Truly, you put them on a slippery  path

and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.

In an instant they are destroyed,

completely swept away by terrors.

When you arise, O Lord,

you will laugh at their silly ideas

as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.

v 16-20

Asaph realized that the wicked do get their just rewards.  God gives them, and us, chance after chance to turn around . . . to make a change and right decisions for their life.

But there comes a time when the last chance is passed and that person gets the full measure of justice they have coming.  For some people, that will be a truly terrifying and horrible experience.

“. . . in an instant, they are destroyed.”

Even though we have our times of doubt and spiritual struggles, God is still with us.

Then I realized that my heart was bitter,

and I was all torn up inside.

I was so foolish and ignorant–

I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.

Yet I still belong to you;

you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

leading me to a glorious destiny.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

I desire you more than anything on earth.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,

but God remains the strength of my heart,

He is mine forever.

Those who desert him will perish,

for you destroy those who abandon you.

But as for me, how good it is to be near God!

I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,

and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

vs 21 – 28

problem of pain c.s. lewis

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

For a more indepth analysis of the question, “Why Does God Allow Evil,” read “The Problem of Pain” by C.S. Lewis, available in paperback, hardcover, audio, and Kindle format from Amazon.

Life Application New Living Translation study bible

The verses in this post are from the New Living Translation. If you are new to studying the Bible, the NLT version uses modern language and is easy to understand while still being faithful to the accuracy of the translation from the original text.

There are a number of study Bibles available in the NLT translation, including Life Application study Bibles. These will help you gain a fuller and deeper understanding of the verses, as well as explain the context of the culture and times in which they were written. The NLT study bibles are also available in a digital format for Kindle on Amazon.