WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL?
In preaching through the book of Acts last year, we came to this fascinating verse in Acts 2 where Peter, speaking of Jesus, says, “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross” (Acts 2:23).
Notice the wording, “God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge.” Then notice the means God used—He employed the use of wicked men, who killed Jesus by nailing Him to a tree. The Bible is telling us that God clearly planned, orchestrated, purposed, ordained and used wicked men to carry out the most infamous murder in human history—the murder of His one and only Son. How does this work? you ask. I’m not sure. Are these wicked men culpable? Absolutely! Are they guilty? Clearly! But didn’t God’s plan involve them doing evil? Yes. Is God guilty of doing evil? No! The Bible is very clear about this.
Notice another such dilemma only two chapters later in Acts. Once again, Peter is preaching, and he says, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (Acts 4:27-28).
Notice the wording once again: “To do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.” What was the predestined event being discussed in this context? Once again, the murder of Jesus. Here, Peter says that God predestined to have His Son betrayed by Herod, Pilate, the Jews and the Gentiles. Again, how does this work? you ask. I’m not sure. Are these wicked men guilty? Absolutely! But didn’t God’s plan involve them doing evil? Yes. Is God guilty of doing evil? No!
So, why does God allow evil? He never tells us in the Bible. He’s often silent when it comes to the “why” questions. The only hint given in the Bible is that God does all things for His glory. Somehow in His eternal plan, He determined that He would be more glorified if He allowed evil to exist than for it not to. This was St. Augustine’s conclusion also.
This is a reminder, once again, that God will be God. That His ways are not our ways. His glory is both majestic and mysterious. Romans 11:34 says, “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” I, for one, am glad that I cannot figure God out! What kind of God would that be!?!? Shouldn’t God’s ways give us a headache at times!? Praise God today for His infinite, complex and mighty ways.