The mantra of the church in modern times is that God is love. Jesus loves. This view is taken to such extents that now the question arises… If God is love, how can he allow such evil in this world? And we can be honest here… modern peoples don’t deal with problems very well. A loving God that allows a pandemic. A loving God that allows gun violence, domestic abuse, sexual predators, climate change, racism, inequalities, … Why, if he is love, would he allow this?
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
To answer the “Why God?” question we must understand our own progression through, faith, hope, and love, in relationship to God.
Faith πίστις (pistis) is believing that God exists. Faith is believing God is who he says he is as reviled to us in the beauty of creation and even more specifically who God says he is as revealed in the Bible. The Bible is a love letter from God to the people he made. He spells out details of his nature and details of his expectations. Faith is that first step. Faith is a transforming step where the creation interacts with the Creator. Without this agreement that God is the creator and author of life then why do we even need to answer the question why would God allow evil in the world?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 ESV
After faith comes Hope ἐλπίς (elpis) and it is here that we recognize the reality of evil. The very existence of Hope demonstrates that we recognize the shortcomings of this present reality. It seems strange that on the topic of Hope that I immediately bring up the topic of evil but hope represents an acknowledgement that the present circumstances are messed up. My hope is in Jesus not this evil world. My hope is in the strength of God the creator not my own limited abilities. My hope in the pandemic rests in God’s mercy and grace not in a government of flawed individuals. In the same way my hope for this life and the life to come rests in what Jesus, God in the flesh, has already done. Faith leads to Hope. And Hope is a realization that this world is not home. Why God is there evil? That question becomes less imperative when I recognize my hope is not in the present but in the future.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:22-25 ESV
Faith, Hope, and now Love ἀγάπη (agapē). With agape Love being the greatest. Agape love is the love of a benevolent Creator God. Agape love is the love of a brother and a love of good will toward others. Agape is not selfish. Agape is not demanding. Agape is not evil. God is agape. He loves the world so much that he took on the human form and then paid for my crimes by dying on the cross on my behalf. That is a benevolent fatherly love that is the greatest of all acts. In this pandemic the government and those with no hope demand that everyone get vaccinated. They shame. They demand. They wish death on those that are not vaccinated. This is what a faithless, hopeless, and most importantly loveless world looks like.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
As we grow in faith we grow in our understanding of God. With that faith we can hope against all hope in a future. This world is in fact evil and in hope we understand and trust that God will undo the curse of sin and death that this present world is suffering from. Why does God allow evil? His love is not demanding. He will not force people to be “good”. He permits evil, death, and destruction here and now. This temporary cursed world is not my hope. God will not allow death and destruction to carry on forever. It is temporary and this world is not our home. Are you making this world your home? Then you will be the saddest person to have ever lived. As a faithful and hope filled follower of Christ it is my job to continue on loving those in this world of evil. You who make your home here in this world. The greatest action I can give is to love you by writing these words today. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus saves from the evil of self and the evil of this world.