“And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.” — James 1:13-16
When evil acts happen, people often raise the same question: How could a good God allow such evil? I have to admit to you, that’s a tough question. Billy Graham, when preaching at the memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., for 9/11, admitted that he didn’t have the answer to his fullest satisfaction but had faith that God knows what he’s doing and has a purpose for everything that happens. “Could God prevent evil deeds? Of course. If not, he would not be all powerful. Does God know evil is going to take place? Yes. If not, he would not be all knowing. Was God there when evil takes place? Absolutely, or he would not be everywhere present.”
One answer to the problem of evil was pointed out by a 2001 Break Point article by Charles Colson, as “to why bad things happen to so called good people.” God, Coulson points out, loves us so much that he made us free moral agents in his image. He designed all of us — regardless of race, ethnic background or religious allegiance with the ability to make choices — to choose either good or evil.”
It all started, according to the book of Genesis, with the very first humans, Adam and Eve, who were free moral agents. They exercised a choice — and chose to disobey God. In doing so, they rejected God, thus creating sin and opening the door to death and evil. We call it the fall of man (Gen. 3:1-7). “What happened through the acts of evil people,” Colson continues, “(is) raw, naked evil — committed by people who have made evil choices. But it (is) something else as well: It is . . . a consequence of the fact that there is sin in the world and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. God could erase the consequences of sin immediately. But then we’d no longer be free moral agents, we would be robots. For without consequences, there is no real choice. God cannot simultaneously offer us free choice and then compel one choice over another — which is what would happen if he stopped all evil.”
Now for the good news. It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to commit evil deeds. God’s gifts are good and perfect and clearly seen by all in his heavenly light — not in darkness and shadows of evil deeds. Our spirits can be reborn through the truth of the gospel that Christ dies for our evil deeds and offers us new life. That’s where the hope of our world lies — in the new birth that comes through a personal relationship with the one true God through his son Jesus Christ. If you never have, why don’t you make that choice today?
Let’s do what is right and good. When we do we honor God and His Word and we make our world a better place in which to live. Maranatha!