Pastor John MacArthur once stated, “God wills evil to exist.”
I can assure you that he thought long and hard about this answer before giving it to his audience.
So the first question you must ask is, does anything exist outside God’s will?
The answer is no. That answer makes this idea of evil seem odd and uncomfortable. The discomfort we feel in accepting a response like this likely comes because we don’t understand God’s will and the underlying selfishness we hide. After all, we frequently are only willing to have His will align with our understanding and goals, and that doesn’t happen.
Evil, by definition, is, in this case, adjectives like profoundly immoral and wicked. Hence, it has the following synonyms: “wicked, bad, wrong, morally wrong, wrongful, immoral, sinful, ungodly, unholy, foul, vile, base, ignoble, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous, depraved, degenerate, villainous, nefarious, sinister, vicious, malicious, malevolent, demonic, devilish, diabolic, diabolical, fiendish, dark, black-hearted.”
Sadly, these grievous words could have been used to describe any of us at some point.
Evidently, evil existed before the beginning of time, lurking in the dark. But, in the case of Adam and Eve, it was just waiting to be picked and eaten.
Our introduction to God/Jesus through John’s gospel tells us in the third verse of that book that,
“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
(John 1:3 NASB.)
If all things came into being through Him, then evil was also part of that plan, but why?
An aspect of the answer is seen almost immediately as God describes the warfare between the woman’s seed and Satan’s seed.
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
(Genesis 3:15 NLT)
So, before God decided that humanity would be “created” and Lucifer rebelled, God had a plan (an aspect of His will) to rid His world of Satan and the evil associated with his rebellion. Genesis 3:15 explicitly tells us that He/God would cause hostility between Satan and the woman. Most would perceive hostility to be evil.
Let’s assume that evil/sin was introduced into the earth through Satan.
In that case, evil must exist until he and it – the corruption built into us, are entirely removed from existence
(If you are following the logic, then you may have gasped as you realized that means that somehow this body must die. Since we have no clear definition of what transpires at the Bema – a time of rewards associated with the catching away of the church, it may be that the body dies, purging us permanently from the corruption of sin.)
The only other place we see this happening is after the end of the millennial reign and after the great white throne. Until that happens, God has to be willing to tolerate evil and, therefore, wills evil to exist in this world.
Don’t think for a moment that evil has mastery over God or runs rampant in the hearts of all humanity, having its way; it will not, and that is why we were given the Holy Spirit of God.
“But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit’s teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ.”
(1 John 2:27 GNB)
Well, surprise! When you accepted Jesus Christ into your life, you received the Holy Spirit.
I am making this next comment about me because I can’t speak for you.
The verse above does not explain why my own life was so bland and powerless until I was about 23 years old. I wanted to add that the changes that happened in me were NOT directly related to some teaching about the Holy Spirit. I had been invited to a men’s retreat where a young man named Jerry Savelle was going to be speaking. At this point in his life, Jerry was running around with Kenneth Copeland as they taught on faith, another theme that was not spoken of in church with such emphasis. Well, God got my attention, and I came away from the retreat with a burning desire for the Word of God. Reading the Bible as though I had never read it before, along with the teaching of an enthusiastic local Bible teacher, I began to experience some powerful changes as I began to trust God and apply faith to everyday life. It saddens me to tell you that my first marriage turned into a nightmare, and I, once again, turned my back on God. Fortunately, He never turned His back on me, and I was aware of that. This dark period lasted about ten years.
Yes, I am aware that I received Christ when I was very young; however, I cannot remember ANYONE telling me that I received the Holy Spirit and the empowerment He brings until I met Brother Jerry. In a sense, I lived in fear of a God I understood to be angry and for whom I could never work hard enough to please. And all this was under the guise of religion.
Scripturally, we see evil taking a tremendous advantage over followers of Christ in the last few days. Fortunately, all this evil and the damage caused comes out in the wash at Jesus’ return for His church, at the beginning of the millennial reign, and again at the great white throne.
No matter what things look like, justice will win out.
Since God clearly seems to have known of evil, did He introduce evil into the mindset of His creation when He created ‘âdâm/humankind?
[Strong’s concordance in defining the word ‘âdâm, indicates a human being (an individual or the species humankind.]
The answer is NO, for humanity (two reproductive people) were created in the image of God, a perfect being, and one that cannot be tested with evil or lies.
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
(Genesis 1:27 NASB)
His will included the actions of Adam and Eve in the garden. Even though their actions caused all of us grief, the end scenario is one where God’s own Son (Jesus) removed the judgment and penalty for sin and made the way (acceptance of the one Jesus, who paid it all) for all to spend eternity with the Father in Heaven (this all happened on the cross.)
The idea that something untidy or painful is typically selfish and evil is fraudulent; because the Father’s will is often untidy and occasionally painful, but it is still His will.
Jesus’ death on the cross was both untidy and painful, and yet it was the will of the Father because it showed His love toward us. Since God gave us the freedom to choose something other than His love, it is still His will; therefore, we should be able to understand that God wills evil to exist for the moment, but that door will soon close, and the age of grace will be over.
Oh, His love will never end nor go away, and therefore, you will continue to see people coming to Jesus, knowing full well that it will cost them their lives here on earth. Such a small price to pay for a life with the Father.