For the believer, there are only three logical possibilities for the evil things that happen in this world:
1) God causes them, and therefore, obviously, allows them. Scripturally speaking, this is impossible, for God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), and no man can say when he is tempted that he is tempted of God, because God can not be tempted, nor does He tempt anyone (James 1:13).
2) God does not cause them, and does not allow them. If this were so, it would mean that evil things that were happening were not meant to happen, that God’s will was being thwarted in His universe. However, since the Bible clearly describes God as all-powerful (Psalm 62:11; Isaiah 26:4), we can easily understand that if God does not “allow” something, then it simply will not, cannot happen. The evil that is in this world clearly disproves that this is the case.
3) God does not cause them, but does allow them. This seems to be the clear explanation from the Bible, since God is at once in complete control of His creation and also completely righteous and good. To suggest that evil events do not come through the loving hand of God (not originating in His hand, but being allowed to pass through His hand) is to suggest that sin, evil men, and satan somehow got around God’s providence in order to dispense chaos, pain, and devastation in this world. However, as we observe in Job’s case, satan is not even able to so much as touch one of God’s children unless he has permission from the Almighty.
As we learn from Psalm 76:10, “the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”While God does allow some wrath of men, He only allows as much or little as will will glorify Himself in one way or another; the remainder he restrains.
In either case – the allowing or the restraining – He is credited with glory and good and is not culpable with the bad.
Although the presence of suffering is by far the most common argument against the existence of God, in reality God’s existence is by far the most reasonable, and most comforting, answer to the reality of suffering. Either a good and gracious God is allowing these evils for a good and finally-to-be-revealed purpose, or all calamity and every tragedy is merely the random outworking of a purposeless cosmos, without any meaning or transcending, counteracting good. And, of course, there is no true “good” or genuine “evil” if there is no transcendent standard by which to measure such things.
The God of the Bible, we are assured, is perfectly good and so will, in the end, perfectly and completely right every wrong and recompense every evil — either on your behalf, in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross, or in your own guilty and everlastingly just punishment.
“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8).All Sermons by Lasserre Bradley, Jr.