Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered ways to view how God’s goodness and evil and suffering could co-exist rationally?
- Some may question why so much evil exist if God truly cares. The problem of evil is one main reason people indicate why they don’t believe in God. How we answer this question for ourselves can determine whether in the midst of suffering we wonder if God truly exist.
- Freedom is the only path to authentic relationships which brings the most joy in relationships. Not even an almighty God can force true love. There is no greater feeling than your partner, child, or friend loving you because they want to and not because they have to. God’s interference can prevent true love from developing as a result of the moral improvement of free creatures. Even humans know “controlling love” is a contradiction in terms. This may explain why God can’t stop evil that results in so much suffering. What God’s love can do is prevent evil is by appropriately influencing one’s free decisions to change or intervene in the lives of others.
- God knew the risks of freedom as do human parents. Are we wrong to bring children into a world hoping they will want to reciprocate our love but knowing our children could cause suffering or suffer at the hands of others? Suffering is avoidable only if God had not created or allowed freedom. Few argue that no freedom is better than freedom.
- C.S. Lewis suggested that wars, crimes, and injustices – evils that come through bad choices make by cruel and lawless people – account for at least 80% of humankind suffering. If God is truly going to control suffering, God must prevent every murderer, every sexual abuser, all natural disasters, and adulterers since adultery destroys lives? Until we make the assumption that God prevents as much evil as possible without violating the freedom to change, we may never be satisfied with God.
- God is tireless in working through individual lives to change the world. Hitler may have been stopped if others had gotten involved in his life as a child or when plotting his evils early on. Perhaps the only way to defeat evil in us, other than destroying at the first hint, is for us to persevere and overcome evil. Jesus’ miracles turn heads but Jesus’ suffering changed the hearts of billions. Martin Luther King’s suffering moved the scales from the eyes of many how they tolerated bigotry. Suffering enables us to be of use to others in a world where suffering is inevitable if any freedom is present.
- God doesn’t cause evil to accomplish good, but God is determined to bring good from the evil choices of others. We cannot prove there are no good moral reasons for allowing freedom resulting in so much evil. If God stops the bullet, the murderer may never change from killing even more people. Instant justice doesn’t allow God to save as many people as possible by changing of their own free will. God clearly values mercy and forgiveness over instant justice.
Moral evil as a result of freedom gone awry is the most explainable in how a good God could possibly exist in the midst of evil. But, even harder to understand is why God doesn’t intervene more in natural disasters since no human freedom is imposed upon. We know some disasters are made worse by exploiting and destroying nature by pollution of air and water and other acts of destruction. One may surmise that God even built freedom into nature but it is surely harder to comprehend since nature is not a living being. Is freedom and not controlling necessary for any creative act to be loving?