Its beginnings occurred long ago and its empire has grown, touching every living thing with its poison. Evil is a problem that has intruded upon the universe. And yet, before evil came into the world, an infinitely good God existed. He created the world as a lush garden of pure delight and innocence. What happened to spoil this goodness?
The Bible tackles this question concerning the problem of evil by telling us a story. It does not give us a philosophical defense of God, although many can be made. This story reveals to us the wondrous God as someone so utterly different from us and yet somehow strangely familiar. The Bible does not seek to answer all of our speculations or questions of fairness. It tells the story of both the God who arrives on the scene and the world that fails to recognize his coming in the person of Jesus, who appears in a particular place and time in history.
Jesus is God’s ultimate response to evil. His story of infinite love cannot explain why evil has happened, but it does say that evil will never have the last word. This God has done the unspeakably good and great thing in sending his Son in the likeness of human flesh “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Heb. 2:14–15).
How can God be infinite and good? There are a lot of mysteries surrounding God and why he would let evil into his good world. The real test for this mystery comes when we read the newspaper or experience personal tragedies. How can we affirm God’s sovereignty and goodness amidst the horrific evils in the world?
Christians have a real answer to the problem of evil. That answer is seen in the resurrection and second coming of Jesus Christ. God is not simply infinite or simply good, but he is wonderfully both. We know we can trust God’s response to this galactic evil because:
- God’s Word consistently describes his unfailing character.
- God is love, and he will not falter in his loving-kindness.
- God has answered evil by sending his only Son to redeem us from sin, death, and hell.
- God will make all things right on the last day when he turns evil on its head.
While we might not understand why evil exists, we can be confident that God will keep his word to eradicate it.