There is just so much evil in the world, isn’t there? Murders, sexual assaults, invasions, drunk drivers killing innocent children, drug abuse, bullying…there’s seemingly no end to the ways people can do harm to other people.
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Yet, what is evil to some is not evil to others.
There are those who love to watch two people beat each other to death in a boxing ring, but deplore bullfighting in Spain.
There are some who find certain cultural activities horrible and sinful, but the culture that performs those activities finds them not just acceptable, but comforting!
When Satan, that old devil, was thrown out of heaven he didn’t go to hell, he went to the earth: there are biblical reference to this in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18, and also Yeshua, himself, told us he saw Satan fall to earth in Luke 10:18.
Maybe that is why there is so much evil in the world- the originator of evil lives here! He has dominion over this world, and it shows, doesn’t it?
But what about God? Isn’t God in charge? Doesn’t God control everything and isn’t he more powerful than Satan?
Well, DUH! Of course he is! But, if so, then why does he allow this to happen? It’s the old question: “If God is a loving and compassionate God, who loves his children, how can he allow all of the suffering that we see in the world to continue?”
Right now Russia is attacking the Ukraine, people are leaving the homes and dying in battle, so why does God allow this?
I don’t know.
But I do know this- we cannot understand why God does what he does. In Ecclesiastes, the writer, Kohelet, states that everything is useless. He found everything he did under the sun to be a total waste of time, but why was that? It was because he did it to understand why God does what God does! That is why he found everything to be useless- we cannot understand God. If you remember, he said (no less than three times) that the best we can do is eat, drink, and enjoy the things that God has provided for us, concluding that fear of the LORD (i.e., proper worship) is the beginning of wisdom.
And what about Job? Here was a totally innocent, righteous, God-fearing man who was considered by God to be the most righteous man on earth, yet God allowed so much tsouris to befall him. God allowed Satan to first take away all his children and property, then to take away his health. How could God, who knew how righteous and obedient Job was, cause him to suffer the way he did?
I don’t know.
And I am not even going to go through the suffering God’s own chosen people had to endure during the Holocaust!
Why? Why this evil? Why this suffering? Why does God allow it?
(You know what I am going to say.)
I suppose we should try to come up with an answer, and when I think about it, I realize it may actually be as simple as this: without suffering, there can be no joy.
In Romans 5:13, Shaul tells us that, “Sin was indeed present in the world before Torah was given, but sin is not counted as such when there is no Torah.” In other words, without the Torah to identify exactly what was sinful and what was righteous, we couldn’t really be certain of either.
So, in the same way, without suffering and evil, we can’t really appreciate what is joyful and good.
Here’s a personal example: my wife tells me that growing up, her mother wasn’t the best cook in the world, and Donna said she never realized how good food could taste until she was working in the city and going to restaurants that served delicious food.
Another example is when you have been driving your car for years, and you are so comfortable in it. You love that car! Then, one day you have to leave it with a garage and they give you a year model loaner. WOW! All of a sudden you say to yourself, “My car stinks!”
Until we do something different, we can never know how good or bad we have it, now.
As a species, we become inured to the way we live. Even growing up in poverty or a war-torn country, we don’t know anything else. It’s not until we experience something better that we realize how terrible out lives were. Yet- remarkable as this may seem- many times even after living a better life, we miss the old life because it is what we feel comfortable with.
I read a book once called “The Dance of Anger” and it said how in bad relationships, because we become used to the interactions, when one of the members tries to better the situation, the other one will go out of their way to return things to the bad relationship. Why? Because that person became used to it, they were inured to the evil and felt uncomfortable when things started to change.
I guess that God allows evil in the world because without the evil, we can’t appreciate all the good that God can do, and does for us.
You know, when I think about it a little more, the evil can be useful to us because it is so terrible, that to avoid it we must stay obedient to God. In Deuteronomy 28, God promises blessings for those who are obedient to his instructions; so, even with the in-born iniquity (desire to sin) that we all have, the prevalence of evil all around us throughout our lives may actually provide incentive for us to be more righteous.
As silly as it may sound, the evil in this world might just scare us into being more obedient to God if, for other reason, self-protection.
So, nu? I don’t have an exact answer to why God allows evil in the world, but I think we can conclude that there are two things we can be sure of:
1– We will never know why God does the things he does, or allows the things he allows, but we must trust that he knows what he is doing; and
2– Although evil is all around us, God will protect us when we are obedient to his instructions and act in accordance with his will.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem.