This is a more serious post than usual for this blog, but it is part of my “days.” 🙂 I wrote this essay for school, and my mom (who is also my teacher) helped me edit it after I turned it in. It’s about the existence of evil and free will. Let me know what you think!
I believe that everyone, at some point, wonders why there is evil in the world. This question can be considered as one of a series of related questions, with each answer helping to explain another.
The first question I’ll address is “Why did God make the world?” The simple answer, and in a way, the answer to all the questions here, is “for his glory.” At some point, God decided to make a world with time, beauty, creatures, and companions. Those companions are you and I; God desires us to be his friends! In his words, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). That thought leads us to the next question: if God made us to be his companions, why would he even give us the option of being his enemies? Why would he give us a free will?
God lets people choose him or reject him because if he forced us all to choose him, we might not love him as much as we can now. If we were created for compulsory worship, how deep would our devotion be? Consider the following analogy: if the weather were always sunny, we would enjoy it, no doubt. But how much more do we enjoy the summer when we have experienced bleak winter? We can truly love God’s goodness when we have experienced evil; therefore, God gave us the option to choose evil because he desires friends who choose to love him. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
The problem we face is that our ability to choose involves the ability to choose to sin (to commit evil acts). Everyone does choose sin at some point, and that sin brings God’s just punishment. Dwight L. Moody said, “One of two things you must do; you must either receive Him or reject Him. You receive Him here and He will receive you there; you reject Him here and He will reject you there.” That conclusion leads to the next question: why did God create mankind at all, if he knew we would choose to sin? He made us because he is love, and true love must be demonstrated, as God does through his forgiveness of our sins. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
God knew he would need to forgive our sins before he ever made us; he did so by sending his perfect son Jesus to take the punishment for us: death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Because Jesus took the punishment that we deserve, we have the option to believe in what he did for us and be saved from our sins. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). However, just as he doesn’t force us to love him, he doesn’t force us to accept the gift of redemption. “[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Accepting redemption seems the obvious choice. So, why do many people choose not to accept God’s forgiveness?
The sad truth is that some people don’t want God. Many either refuse his existence or refute his character, choosing to believe something false that pleases them more. They do so because humans are naturally selfish and don’t always want a God to rule over them. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). Other people are taught lies and never think to question their veracity. C. S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.”
- Why did God make the world?
- Why would he give us a free will?
- Why did God create mankind at all, if he knew we would choose to sin?
- Why do many people choose not to accept God’s forgiveness?
As I stated earlier, the answer to every one of these questions is, at least indirectly, “for God’s glory.” The final question, then, is “Why does God want glory?” God may appear selfish for wanting glory, but the opposite is true. He is the greatest giver of all – he loves his creation deeply and knows it intimately. “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17). Therefore, he knows what is best for us. When we choose to glorify God by accepting his gift of redemption and obeying him, we receive joyous fulfillment. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
I hope this made you think! Writing it certainly made me think. 🙂