|Where evil came from|
| Theists have a dilemma. They have a good God who allowed evil to enter his world. Theologians have debated this for thousands of years, so it’s about time somebody figured it out. Seriously though, let’s try.
First we must define evil. Evil is what good is not. Whatever good is, evil is the other.
Good is the standard. Good defines evil. Good does not depend on the existence of evil, but evil depends on good.
We have a tricky situation. God is good, so he desires good. Why would God allow something that, by definition, goes against what he desires?
The most common explanation for why God allowed evil is free will. When he made man, he made an individual who had his own will. God had to allow that individual freedom to choose, thus taking the “risk” that man would choose to turn from God.
Chuck Colson says it well; “In order for God to ensure that we could not sin, he would have had to tamper with our freedom of will – to create us not as full human beings but as puppets or robots programmed to do only what he wanted. But that would have rendered us incapable of loving God or one another, for genuine love cannot be coerced.”
This explanation, as convincing as it sounds, has a flaw. It sounds as if God wanted to keep evil out, but our free will required him to allow it. This cannot be. If God is truly God, we cannot make his plans subject to our will.
I agree that free will is a factor. Evil could not exist unless someone chose it freely. If God forced evil upon Adam and Eve, he would be evil, and they would still be good. If the serpent forced Eve to taste the fruit, she would still be innocent. There is no transfer of evil from the serpent to mankind apart from free will.
Free will then is an essential factor. Free will is the vehicle through which evil enters.
However, it is not the determining factor. It can’t be. Our will did not put the universe here. It didn’t even put us here. Our will did not put the tree in the garden. We did not even ask for it. We would not know the idea of evil if God did not tell us about it. If God did not want evil to enter his world, he simply would not have put in the tree.
We would not know what it was. We would have no desire for it. We would be free in our will to love God.
Our humanity includes the ability to choose, but it does not require the ability to choose evil. We would still be human if we had no capacity for evil.
Our twisted minds make us believe that we must have the potential for evil in order to be individuals. Jesus was an individual whose identity required him to do only good. He had no freedom to sin, only to do good.
Which freedom do you want? You have freedom to be a slave to sin until the judgement day. You have freedom to be a slave to righteousness forever. These freedoms were established from the beginning.
Can God ensure that we can not sin without “tampering” with our free will? He can, and he will. For those he saves and those he condemns, he will ensure for both that they can never sin again. Those in heaven will be free to love God. Those in hell will pay what they owe.
If you believe that we must have potential for evil in order to be free, consider the book of Revelation. When God restores paradise, he will put in the tree of life but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We will have freedom even from the potential for evil. We will remember evil and the mess it made, but we will be free from it. Revelation 2:7, 22:2