When evil things happen, people sometimes ask why God doesn’t do something about it. Why Doesn’t He stop it?
We think of God as the one who has the power and resources to change things. We’ve been told that God loves us and cares about our lives.
What exactly do we want Him to do regarding evil?
We certainly don’t want God to run the world on a principle of immediate justice. This would bring judgment down on everyone! Since we’ve all sinned, and the wages of our sin is death, living sinners ought to be grateful for how God’s mercy and grace restrain His judgment. Is it only the evil of other people that we want God to stop?
Here we have a problem.
Certain risks are involved when God allows the world to go on with sinners living in it. When we sinners are permitted to make choices with real consequences, bad things happen.
It’s not entirely strange that we long for a better world. Perhaps even our impatience toward God points to some important aspect of human nature. Pervasive awareness of how things are not the way they ought to be (along with universal longings for a better world), join to testify to something profound about humans.
- Why do we so strongly oppose evil and long for a world without it?
- Why do we cry foul?
- Why do we long for a lost Paradise?
- Why do we even think in terms of good and evil?
An impersonal evolutionary development of humans does not logically lead to these kinds of expectations. Universal longings for justice, love, and meaning are difficult to explain in philosophy of naturalism. We are beings who think, feel, and choose in profoundly moral and relational ways – with real consequences.
Why are we as we are?
We are beings made in God’s image with God-like capabilities to rule the earth in creative and beneficial ways. But we don’t always use our God-given abilities for good. The same minds that invent life-saving machines and medicines, devise instruments of war and torture. We are paradoxical beings, Jekylls and Hydes; combinations of dust and glory. We have plenty of empirical evidence for the duality of our lives.
We have God-like moral sensibilities that allow us to recognize right and wrong, and to participate in benevolent activities. We are capable of distinguishing justice from injustice; love from hate, and freedom from oppression. Yet our vision of these things is consistently blurred in self-serving and evil ways. Were we made from dust into the glorious image of God, and then sent back to the dust for rejecting our Creator?
Evil is our responsibility
God handed responsibility for conditions on earth to humanity. For example, He gave an ordinance requiring punishment of murderers.
“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind” (Genesis 9:6).
This ordinance teaches that it’s our responsibility to restrain evil and violence in the world. This does not diminish God’s sovereignty, but is the way He chose to order things. It doesn’t mean God will never use other means for restraining violence, but it’s a wakeup call for those who fail to restrain and punish evil.
- What is God’s involvement in the world?
- Does God look on evil with deep sadness while being unable to change things?
- Does He mean well but lack the power?
- Does He arbitrarily pick some people to protect and leave others unshielded?
- Is He too busy answering prayers for sunny days to be bothered with the really big tragedies?
Answering these kinds of questions involves multi-layered considerations.
Let’s be clear that (according to Scripture), God “does according to his will in the host of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off his hand or say to him, What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35). The God revealed in the Bible is repeatedly recognized as absolutely sovereign over everything. The Psalmist, for example, declared that “the Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and in their depths” (Psalms 135:6).
We must learn to think of God not only in relation to His sovereignty and benevolence but also in terms of His patience, mercy and grace. And there is also an evil one who is at work in the world.
Take seriously the advice from Ecclesiastes 5:1 – “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”
And let us give much more consideration to the stewardship and responsibility God has given to us for conditions on earth (see: Romans 13:1-5). Let’s be quick to ask what we should be doing in the face of evil. God’s will for human authorities is that they would “punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right” (I Peter 2:14).
Some good news
The greatest demonstration of God’s care and kindness did not come through words but when “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
When “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).
God’s final expression of care for us is in the place He is preparing for our eternal home. In this place, “God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). We long for this home.
see also – 7 consequences from the fall of humanity