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How Can a Good God Permit Evil?

  /   Saturday, May 11, 2013   /   Comments(0)

In my last post, I wrote about why I was going to raise my children to know God. However, there is one thing that deserves special attention, especially in the light of the recent shooting at the school in Newtown, Connecticut and the Boston Marathon bombing. The author to whom I was responding stated that God does not protect the innocent, and this was a reason why she didn’t believe in him. Back when the Newtown school shooting was news, I saw some Facebook postings about how the existence of such an evil was the “most deadly argument” against the existence of God. While there is no way I can make definitive statement on why God allowed any specific thing to happen, I can offer some reflections that I hope will be helpful.

First, let’s keep in mind that God created the world and everything in it. In other words, God made all of those scientific laws that it has taken man thousands of years to discover. What does this mean? It means that God is far, far, more intelligent than we are. He is infinite. We are finite. This also means that God can and will do or allow things that we won’t be able to understand. We need to be careful not to make the mistake of not believing just because our human minds cannot understand something.

Now, the world God chose to create is a real world. We are not puppets in the divine puppet show. We have the real ability to choose, and the choices have real consequences. Ultimately, God gives us the ability to choose to love him or reject him, and he will allow us to get what we choose. If we choose the good, the true, and the beautiful, we will possess it forever in his presence in Heaven. If we choose something less, then we end up separated from him in Hell. God’s judgment is nothing other than the choice we made in this life. This applies to other choices as well. If a husband and wife do not cooperate in helping him bring new life into being, it won’t happen. If we don’t do our job at work, either it won’t be done, or someone else will have to do it. The work God gave us to do in this world is real, and we have the freedom to choose to do it or not. This is also how we have the capacity to really love. We could only have this if we had the ability to choose not to do so.

God’s gift of free will does also mean that our choices can affect others. Let me explain that I firmly believe that God is infinite goodness. He never does evil, but he does allow it. He allows it only to because he can bring some greater good out of it. How can that be? Well, God’s perspective is eternity. He is looking for what can bring about our eternal salvation in the end. In the end, his justice will win. In the end, good will win because God, who is infinitely good, will win.

Let me give an example, but, before I do, let me qualify this by saying that this is only speculation. We cannot know for sure in this life what God has brought out of any event unless he definitively reveals it to us. In 2007, I was in a serious car wreck that could have killed me. The other driver (who slid across the median of an interstate in front of me) was killed. A priest whom I knew told me that it was possible that he was allowed to die because, if he died now, he would go to Heaven. God may have known that, if he had lived on, he would have rejected God and gone to Hell. Remember, we don’t know this for sure, but it is a possibility. Of course, there’s the humbling possibility for me that I might not have made it to Heaven if I had died then. God may have spared me only because I wasn’t ready for Heaven. It’s equally possible that God left me on this earth for some other mission. After all, the circumstances of that wreck also led to my vocation of marriage and family. So, does this mean that God caused the wreck that I was in? No, but he did allow it to happen. Then, he took it and brought good out of it.

We have to remember that this world is passing away and that our true home is with God in Heaven. God’s ultimate desire is for us all to get there. There is no suffering in this life that can be greater than the joy we will experience of seeing him face to face in Heaven.

Category: Catholic, Response, Spirituality


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