Non-believers often ask: if God is good, then why is there so much evil in the world? Notably, when asked by, say, their faithful relatives to stop doing something sinful, these same people answer something like “Leave me alone, I know better what I need. I am a free man and I do what I please.”
And that is exactly what happens, they do whatever they want.
It is actually the same with all people. God gave freedom to everyone, and how we use this freedom depends on us. If we use this freedom to do evil, then the evil of this world comes from us, not from God.
Let’s say, someone gave this family a beautiful house. Next thing, they get it all dirty and then they ask, “Why did he give us such a filthy house?”
But you messed it up yourself!
If you don’t like the evil in the world, stop doing it.
But instead, when we do evil, we say, “God shouldn’t interfere.” But when other people do evil, we ask, “Why hasn’t God stopped them?” The answer is, “For the same reason He hasn’t stopped you.”
This earthly life is given to us as a test. God gave us freedom and looks at how we use it in this earthly life.
The time will come when this world with its evil will end, and then the bottom line will be drawn. Those who used the gift of freedom to live holy and be with God will enter paradise. Those who have used their freedom to sin will be punished.
Right now God gives us the freedom and the opportunity to express ourselves. What you see in the world today is nothing but that self-expression. Evil is solely that which comes from personal will.
Neither natural disasters, nor diseases, nor anything else external is in itself evil, moreover, it can lead to good. Sickness, for one thing, illustrates that. At least in my life it did. The time that I spent in intensive care was one of the most spiritually fulfilling periods for me.
There are many people who will testify to the same.
A story comes to mind that appears appropriate here. A father and a daughter are on a bus going from a village to a big city. The girl is really sleepy and closes her eyes now and then, but every time she does that, her father shakes her really hard not letting her fall asleep. She is complaining and crying. Other passengers begin to resent the father treating his daughter so cruelly, but they quickly change their minds when he tells them the reason for his behaviour. It turns out that the girl has been pampering and took a very dangerous drug, and now they are on their way to the hospital. On the phone, the doctors warned the father that the girl should not be allowed to sleep under any circumstances, because if she falls asleep, she will die.
In the same way, God “shakes up” people drowning in sin, sending us diseases and natural disasters preventing us from falling into the tenacious sleep of sin. Just as the father in the above example is led by his daughter’s misdeed rather than his own desire, the aforementioned calamities are caused not by God, but by our unrepentant sins. If we did not commit them, we would not have to face such consequences.
The reasons for everything that happens to us are hidden in ourselves. The father shook his daughter because he cared and loved her. God sends us these shocking experiences as He attempts to save us from perishing precisely because he cares and loves us. In doing so, He tries to help us overcome sin, just as a doctor sometimes resorts to various painful procedures to help our body overcome a disease. Therefore, the essence of such external painful influences as illness or natural disasters is not considered evil in Christianity.
But the evil that comes from our personality is real evil.
We cannot blame God, not only because evil is a product of our free choice, but also because in this evil-infected world God gives us a way to free ourselves from its power and to live holy.
This path is His church as well as the faith and the way of life that it preaches. If we follow this way, no evil in this world will destroy our soul.
But if we say it to those who ask the question what will we hear? In all likeliness, their answer will remain the same as ever: “I don’t need that”.
Well, it’s up to you, after all. Just do not blame God that your choice leaves you one on one with your own evil and the evil of those who made the same choice as you.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds