December 12, 2019 | By Jay Ashbaucher
Psalm 24:1 reads, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
On my computer, I get pictures of scenery from all around the earth. We live in such a beautiful world. God our Creator made it to be our home and hates to see abuses and evils ruin it. In fact, the earth is important to God, as are its people, and he intends to redeem it and them (Romans 8:18-22). Is God the cause of evil in our world? No! God cannot be tempted to give way to evil, and in the nature of God, there is no evil. God created us in his image, which means one of God’s gifts to humans is the freedom of will to decide things. Evil is in our world because we humans ignored the warning of God and opened the door for evil to enter. As a result, wrongdoing and other forms of evil have corrupted the world around us, and corrupted us by invading our personal lives. We cannot blame God for the world’s evils.
Thankfully, God has not abandoned his creation to suffer its evils without any hope of overcoming. Though marred, God’s goodness and beauty remain as a part of creation and human nature. Our freedom of will requires that we are still responsible, in part, for the direction the world goes. Hope remains that through God’s concern to redeem the world and its people, evil will be removed and total goodness restored. In the meantime, we remain responsible to be defeating evil by faith and by acts of goodness. The Bible says, “this is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). Romans 12:21 encourages us with these words, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
But can we blame God for allowing evil to continue? Apparently, in a fallen world like ours, God deems it necessary for evil to continue as a way to cause us to seek his help and to return to him as our hope and salvation. Without evil’s painful influence, there would be no desire for humans to change, and we would end up caught in self-destruction. Although God’s goodness to us ought to motivate us to repent of wrong and seek the good (Romans 2:4), we seemingly are not moved enough by that goodness to overcome evil and its corruption. Obviously, we lack the power and ability to overcome life’s evils without the mercy and help of God. God allows evil and its problems because it sometimes breaks people to the point of not wanting their way of life to continue, motivating them to find a way out.
Perhaps you have met people who are thankful for their broken lives because it bought them to an end of themselves and back to God. The way out is through faith in God, hope from God, and his love instilled within them to desire the pursuit of all that is right and good. Some who go his way have discovered that God has given them freedom from all wrongdoing and has given them a new beginning and new life. Once God has blessed us with the miracle of new life, we can enter into a life of faith, hope, and love that enables us to overcome evil, and help usher in, by being co-laborers with God, a righteous world that promises to one day be free of all wrong.
The key to such a world is to follow God’s revealed son, Jesus, who leads the way to victory (John 8:12; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58). For those who want to know more, God has left us all the information we need in his book, the Bible. Just as we opened a door and allowed evil to enter our world, God has opened a door for evil to exit. Jesus said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through me, that person will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9). Jesus taught us to pray, “Your (God’s) kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). There is an old hymn of the church that says, “This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done; Jesus who died will be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.” Jesus will not be fully satisfied until heaven and earth become one.