What’s Love Got to Do with It?
Some would argue that a loving personal God could not allow the existence of evil and social injustice. Others blame an omnipotent God for malignancies like terrorism and the trafficking of young girls for sexual slavery. God foreknew evil. By the act of creation, God instilled evil's feasibility. But does that make Him responsible for it? Not according to 1 John 2:16.
Enter: Free Will. Some may scoff at the notion, as if by supplying it God has given us license to misbehave. But free will does not hinder God’s ability to encroach upon choice. He can stop the madness anytime he chooses. And let’s not forget Jesus Christ—the one who endured more suffering than any other due to humanity’s free will. We can’t blame God for creaturely abuse of freedom. Just because God allows evil, it doesn’t mean He approves of it. God could make us obey him perforce. But perhaps he wants us to obey him out of love and adoration instead. B.J. Oropeza contends that neither love for God, nor the desire for godliness could exist without free will.
Well what about temptation—why does God allow it if he expects us to live in holiness? Doesn’t temptation guarantee failure? God created humans, but he did not create humanity’s sin nature. He knows we can’t live without erring. He also knows Satan will not stop tempting us. And although he may not always demagnetize temptation, God does provide a way out of unrighteous behavior (1 Cor. 10:13).
According to Randy Alcorn, God did not create Satan and demons. God created holy angels. Lucifer and many angels, in choosing to defy God, became Satan and demons. Lucifer and Eve chose to sin. Remember, both of these creatures God created as good (Gen. 1:31). Evil cannot exist without God, and some would argue this makes a sovereign God culpable for evil. But a Holy God cannot create evil.
Jesus came to save us from the devil (1 John 3:8). In atoning for sin, Jesus breaks demonic powers, and forgives and frees captives (Heb. 2:14-15.) He may not choose to hinder Satan according to our timelines. But we can rest assured that after God has employed evil for his own purposes, he will destroy Satan and his puppets (Rev. 21: 1-8). In the meantime, it may help to remember that suffering has consummate worth in God’s plan. (James 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-7). Perhaps God allows evil for the same reason he allows pain—for our redemption (translation: because he loves us.)