One of the most difficult questions that Christians have posed to them concerns the problem of evil and human suffering. People frequently ask, if God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, why is there evil and human suffering in the world?

THE PROBLEM OF EVIL- A Product of Choice
According to the Bible, the evil we encounter in this world is the direct result of choice on the part of free moral agents. Because God desired to create a world where genuine love was expressed, he gave his creatures (both angels and mankind) free will. Because genuine love can never be coerced, it was necessary that God’s creatures have freedom. Mankind therefore had the choice either to obey God’s loving commands or to rebel against them. Genesis chapter three records in detail how the first man and woman used their freedom to rebel against God. This rebellion, which followed an earlier such rebellion on the part of the angels, is the true origin of evil. Evil and suffering are therefore the result of choice on the part of God’s creatures.Atheists frequently marshal the argument that the presence of evil in the world proves the nonexistence of God. But this argument is self-defeating because the atheist has no reliable standard upon which to judge what is good or evil. The atheist also has no guarantee that evil will ever be overcome.

The Christian, however has such a guarantee. Not only does the Bible teach that the responsibility for evil rests with angels and men, but it also affirms that God is actively combating evil through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ’s first coming has provided a way for rebellious mankind to be reconciled to God. At Christ’s glorious second coming He will do away with evil forever. We rejoice with the Apostle John when he said “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4). God’s sovereignty has conquered evil. While the origin of evil rests with us, the solution is found in God.On the problem of evil, that’s the CRI perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.

A good introductory discussion on the problem of evil can be found in Reason to Believe (Zondervan) by R.C. Sproul (SB839/$8), and When Skeptics Ask (Victor Books) by Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks (B241/$24). For an advanced treatment on the problem of evil, we recommend God, Freedom, and Evil (Eerdmans) by Alvin Plantinga (SB880/$10). These resources are available through CRI. For shipping and handling information, please call CRI or refer to our Resource Listing. To place a credit card order, call toll-free (888) 7000-CRI. To receive a free copy of our Resource Listing, fax us at (704) 887-8299 or write us with your request at P.O. Box 8500, Charlotte, NC 28271.