It may seem like if we believe God created all things in the universe, then He must have created evil. After all, evil exists, right? Well, yes and no. Evil is not really a "thing" like rain or a butterfly. You cannot capture evil and put it in a jar. Evil doesn't exist all by itself; it is actually the absence of good. Everything God created was good, but He also made humans and angels with the freedom to choose good or reject it. What do we call it when those creatures choose to reject the good? Evil.
Evil is the rejection of the good that God has made. It is the absence of good. But it is not a "thing" that God created. It is a void of goodness.
Think of it this way: Does a hole exist? Does darkness exist? Does cold exist? Does emptiness exist? Yes and no. There may be a hole, but the hole wouldn't occur without the dirt around it. Darkness may be present, but it is only dark because there is no light. Cold doesn't really exist on its own, rather it is merely the absence of heat. Emptiness may happen, but it only because something is missing.
Yes, evil exists in a way, but only because it is the absence of good. Evil would not be evil without knowing what good is in the first place. To put it another way, evil is the absence of God Himself. No, God did not create evil, but He did allow for an absence of good to happen.
Because He loved us so much that He wanted to give us the freedom to choose Him or reject Him. If we did not have this freedom, we would be like robots, blindly serving a master creator. That's not love; that's obligatory programming. Instead, God gave us free will to choose whether or not we wanted to serve Him. That's true love; allowing someone to choose to love you rather than forcing them.
Maybe some days, you wish God would set you straight so that you no longer fell to temptations or sins in your life. But He loves you too much to control you. He wants to help you choose wisely because that will be the best thing for you spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.
It's often hard to understand God's ways because our knowledge is so limited (Romans 11:33-34). Sometimes we think we've figured out what He's up to only to be blindsided by a totally different outcome. But that's okay because God can see infinitely more than we can, and we can trust that He's leading us the right way.
To our eternal God, our past, present, and future are already complete stories. He knows the results of every choice we could possibly make and knows which choice is the best one. All we can see are fading memories of the past, the tiny moment in front of our noses, and can only guess at the future. Thankfully, God sees much more than that!
Wouldn't it have been great if God just created humans and left us in Heaven, where we would all be perfect and never suffer and never choose to sin? Why couldn't it have gone down like that? Wouldn't that be much easier for everybody? Truth be told, we will never know the answer to those questions on this side of eternity. When you get to Heaven, get in line to ask God why He chose to do things the way He did. ;-)
One thing we DO know for sure is that God is holy and perfect, and everything He does will bring Him deserved glory. We know that He loves us so much He granted us free will even though He didn't have to. He wanted His creations to worship Him by choice—not out of obligation. As cool as robots are, I am definitely grateful that I was given more freedom of choice than they have!
God loved us so much that He wanted to give us the freedom to choose Him or reject Him. That means giving us the freedom to choose sin, which is a rejection of God. But if we did not have this freedom, we would be like robots, blindly serving a master creator. That's not love; that's obligatory programming. Instead, God gave us free will to choose whether or not we wanted to serve Him. It's often hard to understand God's ways because our knowledge is so limited (Romans 11:33-34), but we can be assured that God can see infinitely more than we can, and we can trust that He's leading us the right way.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.