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Why Does God Permit Evil?

God desires us to be His friends and not just His puppets. To want free will is, at the same time, to allow for the abuse of free will.

Natural disasters, genocides, disease, and social injustice are all terrible so why doesn’t our almighty and loving God just put an end to them? A quick answer is that we can’t judge the infinite mind of God with our tiny finite minds, so His reasoning must be good. We know that God is fully involved in our lives and deeply loves us, but that doesn’t mean that everything that happens is according to His plan. To dive a bit deeper we can look to Bishop Barron, who has spoken numerous times on this subject, for explanations that can help to give us satisfying answers to this tough question. Here are some of the Bishop’s solutions and examples:

God can never be construed as the cause of evil for two reasons:
1- God is love. Therefore, He cannot directly will something evil.
2- God is being itself. Therefore, He cannot cause the non-being which is evil. Metaphysically, evil does not exist, it is a lack of being that ought to be there (ex: cavity in the tooth, it’s a lack of integrity that ought to be there).

We can say that God permits certain evils in his creation to bring about a greater good.

The Bible has great insight as to why God allows bad things to happen. In the Book of Job, we learn about Job and how he is a righteous man (although at time self-righteous), but overall a really good person who ends up really suffering. Job’s friends are determined that he must have greatly sinned to deserve all these punishments. The Lord answers Job and directly challenges his understanding of all of creation. Bluntly, God states that our small view on the matter is nothing to God’s view of all of space and time, so we can’t ever really understand why exactly people must suffer during their lives.

Where were you when I founded the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its size? Surely you know?
Who stretched out the measuring line for it?

Job. 38:4-5.

God wants the great good of free will. He desires us to be His friends and not just His puppets. To want free will is, at the same time, to allow for the abuse of free will. You can’t have free will without allowing for the abuse of free will. This suggests that God allows people like Hitler, Stalin, and any other wicked person, so as to bring about the greater good of free will itself.

Nature has it’s own integrity that God permits to unfold according to it’s own rhythm and structure. Our planet Earth operates the way it is because of the movements of our solar system to the shifting of tectonic plates, which causes earthquakes and potentially deadly Tsunamis. Random genetic mutations that gives rise to evolution also gives rise to cancer and health complications. From our perspective we can see both good and bad in these natural processes, and we can again reflect that God permits evil to bring about a greater good. The awful things that happen at any given moment could bring about something great at a later time.

Bishop Barron on God, Tsunamis, and the Problem of Evil
Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how God permits bad things to happen without actually wanting for them to happen.