If we ask around, one of the biggest arguments that atheists use against Christians is the existence of evil. It is commonly asked if God exists, then how could evil exist? If God is all good, then why would He create evil?
These are some interesting questions to ponder and at first glance it is easy to jump to conclusions. However, if you seek to understand the true person that is God, then it becomes easier to understand why evil would exist, and why it should exist for God to exist.
The first part of our research must come from getting a deeper understanding of the original plan. As we all know from creation and from John’s account, all that existed before the universe was the trinity in a vast empty space. John 1:1-5, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
So, in this passage we learn a few things. First, we see who is in this picture. The Word, which we all know as Jesus, God, who we know as the Father. Then a key passage in verse 3 teaches as that God made everything that was made. We also learn that now God was the light, there was no sun, God was the light, and darkness already existed. From this passage, we can see that light and darkness, or good and evil already were at play before God started creating the universe.
Then God starts the creation week, He makes a perfect island type paradise where all the animals lived in harmony and they all ate the plants and fruits to survive. Then we see the creation of Adam and eventually Eve. God gave them dominion over everything. This is where we already see the fatherly attribute of God taking place. He gives Adam his first set of freedom and tells him that he can do whatever he wants and we will live in this paradise together. However, interestingly God does something that at first glance we miss, but after careful observation we see the battle already being introduced.
Before I continue the verses that are generally overlooked is Genesis 2:9 which says, The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then in verses 16 and 17 he says, And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
If we collect what was just said we come to some interesting questions and conclusions. Firstly, God intentionally planted two trees in the middle of the land and specifically let us know this before he made Adam aware. Then he tells Adam he oversees cultivating the land, and that he can do anything he wants except eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If we take a step back, we can ask ourselves, why did God put the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil right next to each other? Also, why were they placed directly in the middle of the garden? Then, why would he tell Adam that this is the only thing you are forbidden to do?
With these questions, we start to understand how meticulous the creation is. God intentionally placed those trees next to each other and specifically wanted Adam to see them to tempt him every single day. Basically, forcing Adam to make a choice every day. Also, to note if God created evil, then why when God was creating the universe, did a tree of knowledge of good and evil exist, when God literally just created everything. This shows us what we saw in John 1, that before anything was created, good and evil already were at play.
So, if we can get into Adam’s shoes for a second, we will start to see what he was thinking. He had power to do whatever he wanted, he had no guidelines, but then God throws him a curve ball and says, oh by the way you just can’t eat from that tree. Now I know myself and I know if someone tells me not to do something, especially when I was a kid, I want to do it even more, because someone told me I shouldn’t do it. I bet Adam wanted that fruit more than anything and was obsessed by it, because it was the only thing that he couldn’t have.
With understanding this, we can formulate that God was showing us the purpose of our creation. It was partly to live with Him and have a relationship with Him, but also it was to test us. See, God could have created us to follow certain rules and guidelines that we had to obey. He could have forced us into submission, just like a communist leader would do. However, we all know that God is not like that, so He intentionally gave us power. He gave us the greatest power in the universe, and that is the power to choose, the power of free will.
With this power, great countries have been formed. Great cities and amazing inventions have developed due to this power. Great wars and arguments have happened due to this power. What we are seeing in our news today comes from this power. We see people taking a stand, we see them able to do whatever they want, because God granted them that gift. He didn’t want us to be an obedient lap dog. Instead He wanted us to be free, He wanted to see us grow and to see us do something that is beyond ourselves. That is why He gave us this power. This power that was granted to Adam, is granted to all of us.
The reason that evil exists is because it has always existed. It existed before anything was in this universe. However, God created us knowing that we would be tempted by this evil. Yet, He created us anyway, because He knew that there would be people that would take that power that He granted us to change the world. He knew that there would be a remnant that would recognize this power, and use it for God’s glory. He knew that the majority would abuse the power for their own gain, but He wanted to see the remnant grow and make a little light in a dark world.
Even though evil exists, we see that good never seems to vanish completely. Even in this fallen world we see that a glimmer of hope never dies. During a hurricane or an earthquake or any other sort of devastation, there always seems to be a time of hope and community that overtakes the darkness. Now, we know that evil exists and that God uses evil to turn people back to Him, but that will only last so long. If you understand the plan, then you will know that God created us to use that power to choose Him. However, one day God will say enough is enough and He will destroy that evil all in one fell swoop.
The reason that He hasn’t is because He is still giving us a chance. Allowing us to use the power that He granted us to change the world around us. He wants us to show that hope and love with the rest of the world. While we remain, we still have a chance to save those that need to be saved. We can use the power to save this broken world.
What will you do with the power that He gave you?