How we answer “Why, God?” in times of distress is critical to our relationship with God. We must avoid any misconceptions or mistruths about God’s role in suffering resulting from evil. Evil is not some grand scheme by God. God is not responsible for choices His creations make any more than human parents are responsible for the decisions of their offspring. Our need for an all-powerful, invulnerable God often comes at the expense of freedom. Even God cannot create and guarantee life without death, violence, suffering, and struggle and yet there be genuine free will.
The overwhelming evidence is that God chose to be vulnerable, even putting Himself spread eagle on a Cross, to respect individual freedom. A genuine relationship is only possible if one is free to choose to return one’s love in return. As long as there is freedom, there must be the opportunity to love or hate. God is a respecter of freedom and does not manipulate or override such a choice. The biblical writers didn’t attempt to explain evil, because they understood God gave people the choice to live out their own selfish desires or the selfless desires of God.
God obviously does not intervene by preventing freedom. From God’s perspective three murders are not better than four murders, two women raped is not better than three women raped, and one child abused is not better than two children abused. If God rid of everyone who has caused pain by an act of selfishness, no one would be left. All evil is not the same, but if God was to stop evil before it happens and to be true to character, He would have to stop any wrongdoing. God’s total or constant interference would make a mockery out of freedom. Where there is a free will apparently there will always be evil.
God obviously does not intervene by destroying or annihilating people at the first sign of opposition or when there is continuous, severe rebellion. Future generations after Noah’s proved beginning anew does not destroy evil permanently. At the first sign of rebellion, are we going to destroy our children? Aren’t parents going to attempt to influence and win a child back without denying the freedom to choose? God tolerates evil, rather than instantly judges, in hopes of change and a relationship. Justice though is eventually served for victims. God is extremely patient, merciful, forgiving, and perseverant. God is always seeking to “break through” to human beings to restore what has been lost.
Once evil was chosen suffering become part of God’s story to lead us of our own volition to a paradise appropriate for free beings. Parents, as God, are always attempting to persuade their children to reciprocate their love for their own benefit. If you love something you must set it free. If it comes back it is yours. If it doesn’t, it was never yours in the first place. No amount of good resulting from evil justifies the evil actions of others, but God’s risk in allowing freedom was necessary to obtain the highest good in relationships. Should parents never have children because they may inflict suffering on others or could potentially suffer at the hands of others?