How does God bring good out of evil: When a 5 year old girl is raped and murdered?


The story I’m referring to is here.

But familiarly with that story in particular is not necessary for the question.

How do we account for God’s allowing of evil when something so heinous can occur to young children – especially when their life is cut short? What good is brought from this? Do we just say Heaven awaits such victims?

Do we not expect God to prevent these kinds of things in His Providence?


She was 8, but look at the story of Megan Kanka and how “Megan’s Law” came out of that tragedy.


The short, unfulfilling answer is that we simply cannot know. It would certainly be better had this never happened, which is what God would prefer, but since it did, let’s consider what could come of it.

Perhaps it can make some parents more acutely aware of the circumstances that lead to this tragedy, making them more vigilant and thereby protecting other children.

Maybe this will result in some new understanding of warning signs to look for that precipitate this behavior, which will allow us to avoid similar tragedies in teh future.

Maybe it will ultimately result in the healing of the diseased individual who performed this evil act. The leader of my men’s group knew a man who had become involved in viewing child pronography, and it took getting caught and going to jail to get healed. Now that man helps other men overcome their sinful desires. Perhaps this man will do likewise, and help other men avoid the path that lead to this evil.

All of these are guesses, and we probably won’t know until the end of time. That’s why the belief that God brings good out of all things is an article of faith.


Did that girl receive justice, personally?

How does God bring good out of evil for each person individually? Or is it only collectively?


All of these are guesses, and we probably won’t know until the end of time. That’s why the belief that God brings good out of all things is an article of faith.

But what about the girl, personally, as an individual? How does good come to her?


Presumably in some way we will never understand this side of heaven.


She was five years old, incapable of committing any kind of grave sin. We can rest in the hope that she is in Heaven now.

However, I would like to stress that there isn’t always going to be a good outcome for the victim. God bringing good out of evil doesn’t necessarily mean that that good is imparted to the people against whom that evil was perpetrated.

This was a child, so we can be fairly well assured of her innocence; however, being the victim does not impart innocence on someone. It is wrong to conflate victimhood with special favor from God…


Often times the thought is that if God works the way we want, then he is a good God; if he does not do what we want when and how, he somehow is seen as failing us. The horrific and salvific dichotomy of free will of humans is alive and well, and often times does not walk with the divine will.


What happened was horrible.
Some possible thoughts: Perhaps if this had not happened, the girl would have grown up to sin mortally, and deprive herself of heaven.
Perhaps she would have gone on to suffer even worse pain --the loss of her own child, maybe.

One final thought: Even children, sweet innocent children, do not ‘deserve’ heaven. No, they really don’t. None of us deserve heaven. Even after we are cleansed of original sin, and assuming we die immediately after that baptism in a state of grace, we don’t ‘deserve’ heaven, we are merely at that instant of temporal time, ‘fit’ for it. At any other time we are in some way tainted with venial and/or mortal sin, and if those are forgiven, we go on to commit more. In a lifetime of ‘70 years’ or so, imagine how many sins even an ‘average good’ person can and does commit. How does such a being ‘deserve’ heaven?" We don’t. God’s grace grants us the free gift to choose.

Maybe that grace gave that child, at the best or even the only moment of her life, the opportunity for accepting salvation. We don’t know.

But however ‘good’ we think we ourselves are, God is infinitely greater. Trying to limit Him to what we think, right now, is ‘good’, is utterly wrong. For heaven’s sake, look how many ‘good Catholics’ today think that abortion can be ‘good’ in some circumstances!!! Or that adultery might, in some cases, be ‘good’, if the first marriage didn’t ‘work’. . .etc etc. Our ideas of ‘good’ aren’t exactly perfect.


Couldn’t we simply cut out the middle man (or the middle God in this case). For if out of evil comes a greater good, then isn’t it just as true to say that no matter how evil we may believe ourselves to be, the good that we do is ultimately far greater.

That would seem to be more equitable than blaming us for the evil while giving God the credit for the good.


She could be saved so there’s that.


No, we can’t. Any ‘good’ that comes out of evil never comes through us, but through God.

As for humanity doing ‘far greater good than evil’, a brief perusal of world history would put that notion to rest quickly.


What seems to be a real point of struggle for many of us is that we give lip service to God’s omniscience, but we don’t really believe it. We believe that our minds, neither omniscient nor omnipotent, have the ability to judge what we see of God’s actions, or what we see as His lack of action. We believe in the miracles of Christ, particularly the part where we get to be saved, but we frown and doubt His goodness when things don’t go according to our sense of justice. We are mad at Him instead of the perpetrator or at the evil that rules this world.

I wish it were different, too. I wish there were no daily atrocities that leave us reeling. I understand the concept of free will, and I enjoy mine, but I don’t want the consequences that come with it and I sure don’t want the consequences of the free will of others.

In the end, what is left is faith. Faith that He is Who He says He is and that good triumphs over evil, right now and at the final battle, even if it can’t be explained in a way that fits human minds.


I would say collectively, or universally.


We don’t have the capacity for the good that we do without God, nor would God permit the evil if a greater good wasn’t brought out of it.


So the consensus among theists is that we give the credit to God, and the blame to man.

But this combination of good and evil would seem to indicate that God is neither omniscient nor omnipotent, for simple evolution can do as good of a job as God has at creating good. Evolution has led to mass extinctions, and the suffering and death of the innocent and the weak, but out of it has also come a greater good, for out of it has come life, and us, and of course we consider that to be a greater good. So even mindless evolution can create a world with a greater good.

In a world that’s a combination of good and evil there is no evidence of God, only the law of survival of the fittest. If this is a world designed by God, then even the mindless laws of nature can do as well.

So I say give man the blame for the evil, he deserves it, but give him the credit as well, he’s earned that too.


There is something problematic with your post.

Saying that had the girl not been murdered at the time, she would have mortally sinned is problematic. This is not a good thing to say and certainly not to her grieving family. This gives us Christians a bad name.

We could say the same thing about abortion because it gives babies the chance to exit life before they have a chance to sin mortally and lose heaven.


In response to the title…

By demonstrating that the justice which is not received here on earth will be fully and perfectly delivered in the age to Come. The God of our fathers and Christ his Son will be glorified in the manifestation of both his justice and his mercy. Moreover, sometimes the horrendousness of a crime causes the perpetrator to convert. Consider St. Maria Goretti and her murderer who died living a saintly life and beloved by her family!


With all the vile acts committed by humans every day perhaps God simply never intervenes in the goings-on in the world? He created everything and ‘walked away’ and either you live a just life or you do not and when you die judgment comes only then?


No, we don’t look to him to prevent these things because this is part of the punishment of Original sin- death and suffering and concupiscence, a will tending toward evil without the freedom to be supernaturally pleasing to God apart from Christ. It’s the tragedy of our condition, as taught by the Catholic Church. But the glory is the possibility of rescue, initiated in this life and completed in the life to come. He has not left us as slaves to the devil (the condition in which we are conceived) but in his great mercy has looked upon our suffering and is well disposed to save every man.

Also, in reflection (and I have 5 children) it teaches us something- we are not the god of our children, we do not own them, and they are not our gods. We do not worship our children. Heaven would be heaven even if they were not there (God forbid). And we are not their owners. God is their owner. They are on loan to us and he may dispose of them in whatever way he sees fit, and it WILL be good because HE is good, and there is nothing that can escape his oversight. It sounds harsh, but our snowflake society needs a reality check-

Your children are not your god. Christ alone is your God and he alone is your ultimate happiness, not your Children. I think some children are lost because only in the loss can the parents learn to call upon he who alone can save them.

I know, I know, I am a monster, all that putting God first and recognizing him as our sole end and stuff, what was I thinking? :wink:

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