The very word provokes an intense sensation of abhorrence, and often horror, which penetrates deep into the heart. Often defined in the minds of many by the most heinous of crimes witnessed on this world, the full meaning and scope of the word is rarely considered by the masses. One common question is often asked in view of the most heinous of horrors, “why is this allowed to take place?” This is the question which echoes in the chambers of the minds of many. Although it would seem legitimate on the surface, more often than not it is twisted as an assault on the overlord of the universe.
It is often asked, “If God is so loving and just, why does he allow all the wickedness on this world?” This perhaps seems a fair question, to which many reply “it is a mystery.” I find such a thought most unfortunate in view of the facts. The monarch of the galaxies has provided us with a complete history of his dealings on this world, and even a record of future events. He has seen fit to pour out on his people a wealth of data in regards to this subject matter, and has even provided much information concerning his character. Such an unprecedented flood of light could not be found anywhere else. And yet, given all this information that his people are in possession of in the form of his word are we to believe that he has left us in complete darkness as to his dealings on this world?
My dear friends, it might surprise us all that our loving heavenly father is more actively involved in the affairs of this world than we give him credit for. Divine revelation is filled with a wealth of data depicting the active involvement of the overlord of the universe in the affairs of this planet, and many dare to ask that question as though he is somehow indifferent to the problems of this world. Such is a vicious assault on the character of the monarch of the universe, of which there seems to be no shortage.
I might first address the issue by asking a very solemn question of my own. Do you generally consider yourself evil? There are few who would answer that question with the word ‘yes.’ There are many on this world who consider themselves “good people”, and they often attach this title to themselves without stopping to look in the mirror. The masses often bleat the cry, “I am not evil!” The truth of the matter is that this entire world is evil.
When questioned by a rich young ruler, Jesus once replied “why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” – Matthew 19:17. We are very clearly told by divine inspiration that only one is good, and that is God. If only one is good, than it is logical to conclude that everyone else is evil to the core. In spite of all claims there is no escaping this fact. In reality, every single living being on the face of this planet is a criminal. Not one has a single shred of innocence.
As though it were an exceedingly infectious virus, the problem of evil runs rampant across the globe. The populace of our world have been consumed and infected, until all of us have become wicked to the core. Even worse yet is the fact that we are all infected right down to our very nature. The facts are that we are all born capable of considerable deeds of wickedness. If certain circumstances are met and the correct buttons are pushed, this aspect of our nature activates. The result is the birth of the basest of crimes.
The real question is, how did this happen? Every human being is in possession of something special known as “free will.” Without the ability to choose right from wrong, a man would be a mere automaton, programmed to obey the Lord’s commandments. Making this fact plain to us, we read in the book of Joshua, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
The ability to choose right from wrong, deciding whom we will serve is something which mankind has been in possession of since his creation. It is an unfortunate reality that this creates a situation in which the arrival of sin on the world scene is inevitable. Without the complete knowledge as to what it is like to live in a world of sin, some one is bound to make a wrong choice sooner or later merely from the presence of the possibility. There is no way around this without the exercise of force. A situation is therefore created in which evil is a perpetual problem.
Somewhere along the line, tracing our roots far back enough, some one made a wrong choice and we inherited the results of their mistake. As if the fact that we all possess the ability to choose wrong did not make the situation worse enough, our natures became bent towards evil. The consequences of the mistakes of others established a condition of things in which wrong choices were easier to make than right ones.
How might this problem then be solved? The most effective means of dealing with evil is nothing less than its complete eradication. Without decided changes in behavior and nature, not one on this planet may be safely spared. Due to the extent of the infection, the problem of evil calls for nothing less than the complete extermination of the entire human race. Isolated intervention directed toward the apparent extreme cases would not be sufficient to solve the problem. Such a course of action is only a temporary solution. There would be no end to such action and it would only hold the wickedness of this world in check.
Yet this course cannot be taken until all the inhabitants of this world understand the issues involved, otherwise many may question the love and justice of God. Evil cannot be safely and effectively eradicated until the masses have reached a state in which they will never choose to sin again, which is something that only a lifetime’s education on a world of sin may bring about. This is the only way that evil can be permanently dealt with, otherwise even wiping this planet clean of life and restarting could result in an endless cycle. Once all of the issues are understood and a lifetime’s education in a world of sin is gained, than the problem may be permanently removed.
It is a most solemn declaration I make that the extinction of evil is around the corner. Our Father in Heaven will one day step forward to administer justice and bring about his wrath upon a wicked world. Yet our Father in heaven is not so quick to engage in such a work. We have been told, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness: but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” – 2 Peter 3:9. Our loving heavenly Father offers the inhabitants of this world sufficient time to learn of him and change their ways, that any who would might escape the judgments over the horizon. He is therefore waiting until such a time as he can no longer do so before engaging in bringing about the complete extermination of evil.
Until we reach the time when wrath must commence, the Lord can only hold the problem in check. Temporary solutions to a very difficult problem are all that there may be in sight for the time being. Knowing our doubts and perplexities, the Lord has placed in the records of holy writ evidence of his past dealings on this planet, so that we may know for a certainty that he is not indifferent to the situation. At one such time, the majority of the inhabitants of this earth were slain by a flood. Of the inhabitants of the earth at that time it has been said, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” – Genesis 6:5.
Such a thought reaches nothing short of horrific. If we thought the evil witnessed in this day and age was bad, perhaps we have not seen anything yet? One can scarcely begin to picture the evil that must have been perpetrated by the inhabitants of the earth at this time in history. However, our father in heaven did not sit back in idleness allowing the situation to spiral out of control. Of his actions it has been written, “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” – Genesis 6:7.
My dear friends, I believe his actions have set up a standard for us to take notice of. When this world reached a stage in which God could no longer wait for the inhabitants of the world to get their act together, he stepped forward to bring about their extermination. It would seem, the Lord will not always wait. We can rest assured knowing that one day he will step in to administer justice. There is a day coming in which the wicked will be rewarded according to their deeds while those true followers of the Lord will be spared. To many of us, it may seem to be that evil men triumph and prosper, exalting in their deeds of wickedness in the process. Yet this will not always be so.
We may also draw from this the knowledge that there has in fact been intervention in the past. At one stage in this earth’s history, our father in heaven stepped forward. In reality, God does not always sit back and do nothing while evil seems to prosper. He is actively engaged in limited intervention, holding the problem in check until such a time as he can safely eradicate all evil from the face of the planet. Although he may allow some things to take place, this will not always be so.
Yet another striking example of this fact is the account concerning Sodom & Gomorrah. In the early days of this earth’s history, two cities had reached a point where God could no longer sit idly by and allow their actions. As of result it has been said, “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” – Luke 17:29. Both cities were completely destroyed.
Historical records within the scriptures are clear upon this point. Divine intervention has in fact taken place. Are we to believe that God no longer intervenes, strictly on the grounds that we don’t always take notice of his involvement? “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” – Malachi 3:6. The scriptures state that God does not change. Than we can rest assured that his dealings in the affairs of this world are not likely to change, either.
Intelligent reasoning individuals however may question, “how are these actions consistent with a character of love?” Concerning God’s character, justice and love have a tendency to blend together. In the book of Exodus concerning himself he once said, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” – Exodus 34:6-7
The Lord is defined as “longsuffering.” Beyond his love for us, this is one reason as to why he does not blast this world out of existence. Our Father in heaven is very patient with the inhabitants of this world. His character is also defined as “merciful and gracious.” The word “mercy” conjures images of sparing the life of an enemy rather than killing them, when you hold the power to destroy them at your fingertips. In like manner God has the ability to wipe this planet clean of life, yet he spares us and waits patiently for change, striving with all flesh and using his people as lights in the world to bring that about.
The same passages from Exodus speak of a God who will “by no means clear the guilty.” This segment of the passage is very clear. God is also a God of justice. One cannot help but apply the same standard earlier set by our examination of Genesis 6:7. In the past, God has had a tendency to step in when people could no longer to be reasoned with and there was no possibility of repentance on the part of the parties involved. Although the Lord is “longsuffering”, it is logical to conclude that this in fact has limits. Once those limits are reached, justice demands action.
In view of all this, it is important to note that direct intervention is not the only means by which the Lord’s hand has been in the affairs of this planet. Do you happen to be fortunate enough to live in a semi-safe neighborhood? Either way, you might take notice of the fact that we happen to enjoy something called “rule of law.” There seems to be some semblance of Government and society, which holds laws that in some cases are targeted at punishing evil doers. Theft, Murder, Rape, and other crimes of a base nature have penalties attached to them.
In the book of Romans it has been said, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” – Romans 13:1-4
According to the fourth verse of Romans 13, rulers are a “revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” This would logically make Governments, Armies, and Law Enforcement agencies a means by which the Lord executes justice on the wicked. With that thought in mind, we cannot always expect more direct intervention in which flames reign from the sky. But it should be clear to us that the Lord may choose to work through other means in order to remedy a particular situation.
Even beyond that, perhaps you might have noticed that the world has not erupted into complete chaos. There are many nations where people are not killing each other in the streets over life’s basic necessities, you may enter and exit most cities and towns without some one attempting to take your life, and perhaps a certain liberty of conscience is enjoyed.
It has been written, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” – 1 Peter 5:8. If there is a devil roaming around this planet, why is he not wrecking more havoc? You would think that if such a being is indeed roaming around this world, this planet should be a smoldering wreck. Our world should have erupted into complete and utter chaos by now. The testimony of scripture is clear upon this point. Our adversary is indeed roaming about seeking whom he may devour. The most plausible explanation for this then is that there are limits placed upon his actions. The adversary of souls does not have free reign to terrorize this world.
In the book of Job, we read of dialog that took place between God and Satan. The discussion was over God’s servant Job. It was claimed by Satan that were Job to loose everything he had, he would curse God to his face. In response Satan was told, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord” – Job 1:12.
The devil was able to damage everything that Job had, but was not allowed to harm Job himself. During this exchange which took place between the two, limits were placed upon what Satan could and could not do. It is very reasonable to conclude that things are no different in God’s dealings with the enemy today. While he might be permitted to cause some problems, he is only allowed to carry it to a certain extent or he is not allowed to do other things. In all reality, the only reason that there is any peace or “rule of law” on this planet at all is due to God’s intervention in our affairs. Were this not the case, this world would be much worse off than it currently is.
In view of all the accusations that are thrown out against the monarch of the universe, we must remember his character. We have been told plainly by the testimony of scripture that he is just, that he is love, and that he is longsuffering and merciful. As Christians we should rest assured that our Lord handles matters in a just and loving way, even if we cannot always discern his providence. I believe that this is how our Father in heaven deals with evil. There is no cause for any of us to attack the character of God.