All of us at some point in our lives have asked this question and wrestled with it? If God is all powerful, he can stop evil. If God is all good, wouldn’t he want stop evil ?And yet evil exists. So some skeptics would say maybe all-powerful good God does not.
It’s a question that Christians certainly wrestle with. We see in the Bible people like David, people like Joseph asking for justice. We also see a lot of non-believers like Einstein, who’s clearly one of the great thinkers in history of the world, who believe that somehow the science and math of the universe pointed towards god, but he couldn’t believe in the Christian God, because of the existence of pain suffering.
People like Darwin, who gave us darwinian evolution really at its core his problem was suffering and evil within the world.
When do we began to tackle an issue as big as this? What is evil? Sometimes when we think about evil, we think there’s good and evil. These equal and opposite forces that kind of are competed against each other. That’s not what evil is. You can have good without evil, but you can’t have evil without good. Think about truth and a lie, you can have truth without somebody telling a lie, but you can’t tell a lie unless there’s first such a thing as truth to be corrupted.
Where does evil come from?
Evil is a corruption of something that is first good. If evil is a corruption of good, then good must exist, and if good exist that interestingly, there must be a God.
When somebody raised the problem of evil, what they assuming is, there’s a real standard of goodness that exists, objective good and if that is the case, then there must be a God to ground that good.
So raising the problem of evil is kind of an indirect piece of evidence, that there first must be a good moral standard,namely a god, a moral lawgiver to ground that good.
This helps us frame the question, but it doesn’t tell us why God allows evil. Why doesn’t he stop it? One way to make sense of this, is the purpose for which human beings exist. Why are we here? God has not made us like trees, he’s not made us like mountains, he hasn’t made us like animals. God has uniquely given human beings the ability to make meaningful choices.
That’s because God wants to be in a relationship with us. He wants to allow us to have meaningful relationships with other people, and if you create beings capable of loving, you also have to have beings capable of choosing not to live.
God gave us the ability to choose to follow him, and to do good ,and to do wonderful things and courage and fight for peace, and show justice.
If god give us the ability, by definition without free will, he has to give us the ability to choose wrong things and bring suffering into the world.
God knew that we would do horrible things of that free will, but God also knew that it’s only by giving us that free will, we could truly love God, truly love other people, and experience the good best things that life has to offer us.
What does the bible say about evil in the world?
We have seen how the Book of Zohar answers the question: Where does evil come from? But once evil emerges, why does God allow it to exist?
Some Kabbalists believe that rather than destroy evil outright, God assigns the righteous to destroy evil in his name. As I understand it, we are in the lower world because sometime, somewhere we gave a part of ourselves to the Other Side. God sends us back to the lower world so that we might balance the karma we made when we allowed the light of the sefirot to be stolen by the forces of the fallen Din.
The process of balancing our karma must include championing justice and challenging stern, unmerciful judgment.
The Zohar also teaches that God uses evil to punish the wicked and to test the mettle of our determination to return to the Tree of Everlasting Life. In order to illustrate how God uses the evil inclination to initiate us, the Zohar uses an allegory of a prince who is tested by his father. The king commands his only son not to consort with an evil woman. Out of his love for his father, the son agrees to obey his father’s will. One day the king decides to test his son. He orders a beautiful seductress to entice the prince.
If the son is worthy and attentive to his father’s commands, says the Zohar, he will rebuke her and send her away. Then the king will rejoice, invite his son into the innermost room of the palace and give him gifts and great honor. “Who will have brought all this glory upon the son?” asks the Zohar. “The whore, without a doubt.
She should be praised on every side … because she enabled the son to earn all this goodness and the deep love of the king.
When you are tempted to stray from the paths of righteousness and violate God’s laws in small ways or great, think of the king, the prince and the whore. And remember that God has a right to test us, we have a right to be tested, and we have a right to pass—or fail—our tests. The Zohar also cites the trials of Abraham and the Israelites in Egypt to show that God uses evil to test and purify his children.
Abraham went down to the “lower degrees” in Egypt, and probed them to the bottom, but clave not to them and returned unto his Master. He was not seduced by them, as was Adam, who reached that level and was then seduced by the serpent, and brought death into the world. Nor was he seduced like Noah, who became intoxicated…. But of Abraham it is written, “And Abram went up out of Egypt” (Gen. 13:1). He went up and not down, and returned to his place, to the upper level to which he had attached himself at the beginning [that is, the sefirah Hesed (Love), the first of the seven lower sefirot.
The mystery of the matter is: If Abram had not gone down into Egypt and had not been purified there first, he would not have had a portion in the Holy One, blessed be He. Similarly with his descendants: the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to make of them a single people, a perfect people, and to draw them near to Him. But if they had not gone down into Egypt first and been tested there, they would not have been God’s chosen people.
“Abraham’s descent into Egypt and safe return is a rite of passage,” writes Daniel Matt. “Having confronted and experienced the Abyss, he is transmuted into a divine hero, apotheosized as Hesed, the Love of God.” Kabbalah teaches that Abraham embodied the sefirah Hesed and that he represents the attribute of Love, just as Isaac represents Gevurah/Din and Jacob represents Tiferet. This means that Abraham, by his spiritual attainment, was the vehicle through which the light and energy of Hesed was able to come to earth. Isaiah Tishby says the Zohar’s teaching on Abraham’s and the Israelites’ descent into Egypt means that we are all tested and purified through our contact with the power of evil. “In order to achieve perfection in his desire to serve God, man must first enter the domain of evil and purify himself there as in a refiner’s crucible,” he writes. “Only after this can he ascend to the level of perfect goodness. Man has to prove his devotion to God by going out to fight God’s adversary, and by returning victorious from the fray.