Genesis 1 and 2 tell us about God’s creation work. God Himself saw that what He had created, was good (Genesis 1:25). Later, when He had also created human beings in His own image, He saw all that he had made and said it was very good (Genesis 1:31). In the Psalms, God is praised because of his great handiwork: “How majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1). David looked to the sky with the moon and stars and he felt little, awed by the fact that God appointed man to have dominion over God’s works (Psalm 8:3-8). Psalm 19 teaches us that God’s creation declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). When we go to the mountains or when we examine beautiful flowers, we can relate to this: God made everything beautifully and wonderfully.
Unspeakable evil and suffering
But there is also unspeakable evil and suffering in this world, both in the animal world and among humans. The creatures that should have taken care of this earth, men and women, have proven to be the worst perpetrators of evil. How can evil exist when God created everything, and it was only good? Did He not also create evil?
God created everything for His own glory
The Bible teaches us that the works of God point to his glory. God has created everything for His own glory. Since God is good (Psalm 86:5), He did not create evil. Evil is the absence of good, just like darkness is the absence of light. Good things are things that honor God; obeying God is good, but disobeying Him is evil. God instructed Adam and Eve to obey Him and not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16,17). However, He did not take away the possibility of disobedience. Adam and Eve chose to disobey and so they got to know from firsthand experience what evil means (Genesis 3:6). Disobedience to God means that the commandments He gave to us, are treated with contempt. These commandments are for our own good and when they are ignored, ruin and suffering follow (Psalm 32:10). When Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan, their relationship with God was affected, their relationship with each other and their relationship with the earth (Genesis 3:14-19). Everywhere we look we see the fissures caused by sin, that have disrupted the beautiful order created by God: in relationships and in nature.
Why does God allow evil?
Many people wonder why God allows evil to exist. We will never be able to come up with a fully satisfying answer, because we are not God and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8, 9). However, we can be sure that God uses evil to bring glory to His name. This may not sound comforting, but ultimately, all that counts is that God’s name is glorified. God allowed Jesus to be crucified: the most evil deed that has happened on the surface of this earth; and yet the deed through which God has saved sinners and has brought back life and light and hope to a world lost in darkness. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and open the way for the Kingdom of Heaven to take root in the hearts of those who are born of God (1 John 3:9)!
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