I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things. ESV Isaiah 45:7
The Vegas massacre. Hurricane Nate (and Maria, Irma, Harvey…). Kim Jong Un. Harvey Weinstein. Pills…Heroin…Fentanyl…Carfentanil. A quick glance at the news confirms the horrors of evil in the world. In the midst of all this, we ask “Where is God?” “How can a good God allow such horrendous evil?” “Is He working in the midst of it?”
Some of the hardest verse to wrestle with in the Bible are those that describe God’s role in evil. Contrary to many people’s opinion, the Bible teaches that God creates the calamities and challenges we wrestle with. While God never sins, and can never be charged with wrong, He does create calamity (think hurricanes). He also raises and lowers kings (including Kim Jong Un…see Daniel 2:21). He even acknowledges the horrors Job endured came from His hand at the bidding of Satan (Job 2:3). Nothing takes place that God didn’t ordain. While it’s hard for me to wrestle with a God who causes these things, I find it more comforting than worshiping a God who’s not involved in these things. Some assert God merely allows evil, but that fails to resolve the moral issue. Approving something leaves you morally responsible even if you don’t physically carry out the act. If God ultimately signs off on, and/or even causes all things evil, what do we do with that? Remember, God always works for His glory. Sometimes He raises bad kings so that He can judge them. Other times He allows evil to show His power. On occasion, evil accomplishes His judgment on a nation. In each horrendous circumstance, He reigns victorious, even though it may not appear that way at the time. And ultimately, as evil increases, so does our desire for Christ’s return to set all things straight.
Does God approve of moral evil? Absolutely not. On the contrary, He works judges evil, an action seen most clearly in the crucifixion. Through the evil in this world, God works to exalt Himself through Jesus Christ and redeem humanity to Himself. Perhaps the evil we experience now will draw our hearts closer to God. May we pause and reflect on these evils and come away more in awe of God.