Why are we supposed to stop evil when God doesn't?


#1

God is all good.
God allows evil to harm the innocent.
Is it good for us humans to allow evil to harm the innocent?

When a child is killed in an accident, God did not stop it from happening, but he could have done so without expense. Yet, he allows it. Why would it be wrong for a human to do the same thing that God does? If I could easily stop the death of a 5 year old girl, but do nothing instead, it would be wrong - my conscious tells me this simple truth.

This is my first post in the Moral Theology area. I suppose this has been answered many times before, but my search efforts are not finding them.

My thought here is that God permits evil because he has to in order for our free will to exist. But, that if something will happen where “more bad” will result than “good”, then he would intervene and stop it.

I get hung up when it would be “good” for a human to act, but also “good” for God to NOT act in the exact same situation.


#2

We must be careful in judging God because it is a great mystery why God allows evil and seemingly does not prevent it. God did not stop the death of His own Son. Why did God allow Jesus to die? The answer to this might help your quest as well. I can remember a lot of people said to me that Jesus was born to die. This however did not satisfy my answer to the question why Jesus had to die. The question actually goes much deeper than to say Jesus was born to die. You have to look at the circumstances of the death of Jesus to find an answer. We know the Pharisees were a prideful group of people who were in charge in teaching the Jewish people. This type of pride is what actually led to the death of Jesus. Why is there this pride in adults? Where does it come from? Pride if you think about it is the opposite of true love. What the Lord was showing that day was how much true love can overcome the worst of sins which is our pride. Jesus was showing us how much He still loves us despite what we can do to Him. Our own sins which are the result of our own pride and self-will was exposed that day and it was contained in the forgiving furnace of God’s love for us. Jesus was teaching us how we can turn our own self-will and pride into something better. To do that Jesus had to go through this death to point out where His greatest act is to be found which was this great Mercy for all of humanity. Our own sins can be transformed into something glorious if we only see the Lord Jesus who gives meaning to this life so torn by its weaknesses, sins and faults. Jesus was teaching us how mercy works even when it was the darkest.
Now we must conclude from the death of Jesus that God wants all to be saved. God allowed His Son to face great evil in order to transform it into a greater good. That is what God can do with evil. He can turn it into good. We call this Redemptive Suffering. So whenever there is evils in the world small or big or whenever there are undeserved sufferings big or small God in response to these evils and sufferings grants incredible graces. God does not normally prevent these evils or sufferings but He uses them to transform this world back to Him. When St. Maria Faustina prayed for her country of Poland she asked the Lord to see the suffering of all the children of the world as she ask for graces for the suffering of these children. The Lord Jesus appeared to her with tears in His eyes and He said to her “because of them I uplift the world.” Redemptive Suffering is the best way when God grants His life saving graces in incredible abundance. God always responds with His graces whenever evil and undeserved sufferings are present. His greatest action was responding to His Son’s death and Passion with this great Redemption for us. Nothing is ever wasted as it can be transformed into something glorious. We might not see the good done by God as He responds to Redemptive Suffering but it is by far His greatest motivation to send out His Mercy and this world is desperately in need of it.


#3

Chimo gave a good explanation.
I know God is Perfectly Good and Benevolent;
but it is still a Holy Mystery that so much
unearned suffering, especially in children goes on.
I accept that it is joined with Jesus’ Passion because
whatever is done to one of the least among us is done to Him. (ref. Matt. 25)
I do not think I judge God by not understanding this Mystery,
I accept His Acting and Permitting Will; for all things work
for good for those who love God and are called according to His Purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

His Salvation Plan is perfect, and He has much more heart ache over
unearned suffering than us. I wonder why He didn’t leave Holy Angels
physically manifested to shepherd us; but He has His Loving reasons.

I thank God for His Mercy, and that though these unearned sufferers like
helpless children — hurt very much in Providence; that they have
Eternal Joy with God, now. Someday, He will wipe every tear.


#4

Wow, good question!
And one I’ve never seen posed on the forum before–or anywhere, for that matter.

As per your last part…I wonder how a God might, for example, weigh the rape and torture of a child to ever having more “good” than “bad”.
Or, say, the millions of Jews murdered in the holocaust.

If indeed there is more good than bad to evils like those, it would be most helpful if we were made aware of it clearly so it was understood.

.


#5

God works THROUGH US!

Quit blaming God when you don’t take the appropriate action to stop evil.

OWN your errors, learn from them, and do better next time.


#6

Chimo, I’m no authority just a regular person who loves God and tries to study the Bible.

  1. God is good.
  2. God gave us a free will which causes a lot of grief in this world.
  3. God will not interfere with our free will.
  4. We do not know everything.
  5. God does know everything.
  6. God loves us.

God loves us and he wants us to be happy with him in ETERNITY! He doesn’t look at death as evil. It seems evil to us, because we may love the person who died and we will never see them again in this world. That makes us sad. But God has prepared a place for each of us and when we die he is delighted to bestow that place on us. And even though we do evil and cause much evil, God takes that evil and turns it to good. Think of the person who came so close to a tragic end who discovered that there really is an after life and changed his or her whole outlook and behavior so that now he/she is a believer and convinces others of it, too. There are many examples where a terrible evil turned out good. We don’t see the big picture like God does because we are not God. Pray and trust in God, even though the cross is hard to carry… Look at the good, try to see the good and you will see God! IMHO!


#7

In my opinion there isn’t good in those evil events… yet God does take that evil and turn it in to good. The Jews got their homeland back. It doesn’t bring back all those people who were gassed. But God loves those people and they are now probably very happy with him in heaven and they wouldn’t come back FOR THE WORLD!!!

P.S. The evil was done by very evil men… (and women?)


#8

It is wrong because we are the hands and feet for God in the world so it’s up to us to act on Gods behalf. When we fail to do so we are not doing our part as the ‘body of Christ’. When we do good things it “IS” Gods work, not ours alone. Thanks be to God!

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

2 Corinthians 6:6 We are workers together with God. So we beg you: Don’t let the grace that you received from God be for nothing. 2 God says,…


#9

Hello Chimo,

Thanks for taking the time to provide this response!

Yes, God did not prevent the suffering and death of Jesus. It is easy for me to see the great good that came from this. When I was struggling to determine if we really did have a loving God, it was the Passion of Christ that resolved that issue for me.

But, keep in mind that God did prevent the death of His son a few times. 1) He told Joseph not to divorce Mary. She could have been stoned to death, thus killing her son. 2) The magi were redirected so as to avoid tipping off King Herod. 3) The Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, and 4) and then there was the time they were going to chuck Jesus off the cliff. He miraculously walked away from it. 5) Angels minister to Jesus after his 40 days in the desert. Those are the recorded events that come to mind right off the bat.

I can remember a lot of people said to me that Jesus was born to die. This however did not satisfy my answer to the question why Jesus had to die. The question actually goes much deeper than to say Jesus was born to die. You have to look at the circumstances of the death of Jesus to find an answer.

I agree that there’s more to the story. Otherwise, why not just die along with the Holy Innocents?

We know the Pharisees were a prideful group of people who were in charge in teaching the Jewish people. This type of pride is what actually led to the death of Jesus. Why is there this pride in adults? Where does it come from? Pride if you think about it is the opposite of true love. What the Lord was showing that day was how much true love can overcome the worst of sins which is our pride. Jesus was showing us how much He still loves us despite what we can do to Him. Our own sins which are the result of our own pride and self-will was exposed that day and it was contained in the forgiving furnace of God’s love for us.

Freewill gives the opportunity to sin. If God prevented every prideful motion, we’d lose freewill. So, I do think that when God allows evil, there is a freewill entanglement happening.

Jesus was teaching us how we can turn our own self-will and pride into something better. To do that Jesus had to go through this death to point out where His greatest act is to be found which was this great Mercy for all of humanity. Our own sins can be transformed into something glorious if we only see the Lord Jesus who gives meaning to this life so torn by its weaknesses, sins and faults. Jesus was teaching us how mercy works even when it was the darkest.

Amen. May it fall upon me.

Now we must conclude from the death of Jesus that God wants all to be saved. God allowed His Son to face great evil in order to transform it into a greater good. That is what God can do with evil. He can turn it into good. We call this Redemptive Suffering. So whenever there is evils in the world small or big or whenever there are undeserved sufferings big or small God in response to these evils and sufferings grants incredible graces. God does not normally prevent these evils or sufferings but He uses them to transform this world back to Him. When St. Maria Faustina prayed for her country of Poland she asked the Lord to see the suffering of all the children of the world as she ask for graces for the suffering of these children. The Lord Jesus appeared to her with tears in His eyes and He said to her “because of them I uplift the world.” Redemptive Suffering is the best way when God grants His life saving graces in incredible abundance. God always responds with His graces whenever evil and undeserved sufferings are present. His greatest action was responding to His Son’s death and Passion with this great Redemption for us. Nothing is ever wasted as it can be transformed into something glorious. We might not see the good done by God as He responds to Redemptive Suffering but it is by far His greatest motivation to send out His Mercy and this world is desperately in need of it.

Redemptive suffering is an angle that I had not considered yet. Thanks for that.


#10

Thanks IsaiahSpirit for your reply!

As a part of formation, I’m writing a homily for the funeral of a 5 year old girl. The parents and others in the community are mad at God for allowing this death to occur to this child. So, what I am trying to do here is to dive into this mystery. A community can face a crisis in faith, and adding depth to the mystery is what I think will help.

I believe that God could have prevented the death of the child, but made the active decision to allow it.

One problem that I think happens with the comparison between a human and God is that humans are substantially limited. We’re stuck in time and in space. We have limited capacities to observe and we have limited information. We cannot see into the future either.

So, if we have this comparison between what we’re doing and ask why God wouldn’t make the same “holy” decisions that we’d make - it is putting “God in a box.” The box is all of the human limitations. So, it could be that God is always acting for the good - always intervening in our lives. But, in order for us to see the good, we’d have to gain God’s perspective.

We have our own “set of scales”. We can only put things on the side of good that we can know. We put things on the side of evil that we can know. God’s scales would be infinitely bigger, and so our little tiny “good” and “bad” scales will measure something entirely different than what God’s scales would measure. But, both God and us make decisions to optimize the good and diminish the evil (as long as we’re not sinning).


#11

Thanks DaddyGirl for your response!

Twenty years ago, Richard Hagarman’s daughter was abducted and later found dead. She was nine years old. When the abduction happened (it was a witnessed abduction), Richard when into gear alerting the media and the FBI to get their attention on the plight of his daughter.

After her death, he started working with lawmakers to create a system where abducted children could have a better chance of surviving. This system is named after his daughter Amber. Many people have been spared thanks to the Amber Alert Systerm.

So, I could see that God would know in advance that the benefits of the Amber Alert System would be so great, that the death of this child should be permitted.

How many people will Amber Hagerman meet in Heaven who benefited from her suffering? Actually, it will be many many many people. Some of these saved children will have children of their own. Those children will be able to say a big thank you to the Hagerman family. And in about 1000 years, virtually everyone on the planet will be blood related to someone saved by the Amber Alert System.


#12

Hello Crusaderbear, thanks for your reply!

Well, I’m not sure that I am blaming God. Actually, I am fairly certain it is quite the opposite. I didn’t say anything about blaming God (although there are certainly several in our community that will do that in the face of a crisis like the death of a 5 year old girl.).


#13

Hello Petra, Thanks for your response!

Regarding #3 - God certainly does interfere at times. Think about St. Paul heading to arrest some Christians. He is blinded, rendered disabled and helpless. St. Paul had to change his ways before he could see again.

I agree that God protects His gift of freewill to us. But, in the event of an accidental death, it seems to me that it would be easy for God to prevent the death without disabling the will of the human involved.

God loves us and he wants us to be happy with him in ETERNITY! He doesn’t look at death as evil. It seems evil to us, because we may love the person who died and we will never see them again in this world.

Well, my experience is that when someone learns that a 5 year old child has died, they want to know “what went wrong.” I doubt that God intends for people to die in their childhood. So, yes, I do think that whatever caused a person to die can be thought of as evil.

That makes us sad. But God has prepared a place for each of us and when we die he is delighted to bestow that place on us. And even though we do evil and cause much evil, God takes that evil and turns it to good. Think of the person who came so close to a tragic end who discovered that there really is an after life and changed his or her whole outlook and behavior so that now he/she is a believer and convinces others of it, too. There are many examples where a terrible evil turned out good. We don’t see the big picture like God does because we are not God. Pray and trust in God, even though the cross is hard to carry… Look at the good, try to see the good and you will see God! IMHO!

I think we have to be careful with how far we go arguing that our existence in eternity will vastly swamp out our time on Earth, so we can pretty much nullify the meaning of anything here on Earth. I think that what happens here and now matters a great deal - just as our existence in eternity will matter there as well. It has to be “both/and” when it comes to which one is important - Earth time or Eternity.


#14

Hello Karen107, Thanks for your reply!

Are you suggesting that God is somehow prohibited from acting in our world?

I do agree that God works through us - I don’t question that whatsoever. But, I also believe that miraculous things happen (such as a person getting cured from cancer through supernatural means.) So, both are going on. Sometimes, people are spared. Sometimes, people are not spared. God makes choices, sometimes, to let children die.


#15

Exactly. Perhaps the OP would consider asking, “Why did God give man free will”.

As to the things that are outside of man’s control, for example, natural disasters - there are no one-line answers I’m afraid.

The thing with God is that if we understood all there is to ask or know, then He wouldn’t be God because we would have somehow been able to encompass all knowledge in our tiny brains…and then why would we need Him again? The very concept of God implies that there is much that is not understood.


#16

Hello Seekerz, Thanks for your input!

Well, no, I’m not asking, “Why did God give man freewill?.”

I assert that God does intervene directly at times. The problem with going too far with the claim that we are on our own is that it reduces God to a something much less than He is. It would be the way a deist views God: He exists but doesn’t involve himself in our lives.

Scripture gives many examples of God working in our lives through supernatural means. One example: the feeding of the 5000 - God provided the fish and bread directly. It wasn’t that he used a whole bunch of people to deliver fresh baked bread to their gathering.

The Church venerates other examples of God’s supernatural interference in our lives. Fatima 1917 is one of the biggest examples.

So, I’m not saying that I have to justify God’s decisions. I am saying that God makes decisions that seem contrary to what the rest of us would think is reasonable. I think it is important to have some reasons behind why it is evil for us to not do something when God Himself doesn’t do it either. Sometimes, freewill is a good answer. If the people in ISIS use their freewill to harm others, then I can see how God actions would be hampered by the entanglement of the gift of freewill. Sometimes, freewill is a bad answer. If a car rolls over a child, who’s freewill would be compromised if he just pushed the kid aside?


#17

Thanks, I get a better idea of the thrust of your question. Of course God involves Himself directly - far be it from me to claim we’re on our own. I likely couldn’t get through 24 hours without Him working in my own life.

The thing is, to my knowledge, this direct action usually comes at our invitation or request - otherwise it might be that it would violate our free will. I’m speaking carefully here keeping in mind our limited capacity to come anywhere close to understanding the mind of God.

So to the car rolling over that child: is it possible that God might intervene? I would like to think that when we pray daily for our kids, He does intervene to protect them, but if He didn’t in a particular instance, there would be a reason I couldn’t understand or foresee.

Even without understanding the reason, it is clear that good can come out of bad things. Seat belt use came about as a result of horrible accidents in the age before this safety mechanism was developed. Cures that are commonplace today for diseases such as childhood leukemia, were preceded by heart-wrenching deaths of tiny innocents in their parents arms…I could go on, but I’m sure you get my drift.

To your question then of whose free will would be violated if He stopped the car, I would say the collective will of those of us charged with caring for kids and making the cars. Would we care to strive for excellence if God routinely stepped in and directly made up for our deficiencies? And would we then be truly free?

Like you, I have dwelt on the “why” of human suffering for some considerable time and my final answer is that while we may not understand the reason, we can be absolutely sure (as sure as I am of the ground beneath my feet) that placed in His hands that suffering will sprout and bear good fruit.

As an aside, it seems to me that the whole question of life and death was dealt with in a more accepting way in previous ages. People just accepted that life had risks, babies would be born and some of them would die in infancy; wives would be taken away in childbirth etc. It is an exceedingly good thing that many of those risks have been greatly reduced today, but what is not good I think is the emergence of the view of death as the ultimate bad thing which can happen. For people of faith, death is not the ultimate bad thing, but rather the pathway to the ultimate good thing…just my thoughts.


#18

If we assume heaven is a thing, then when God calls it isn’t evil… in fact wouldn’t it kinda be good? We are supposed to abstain from evil (killing outside of God’s call) and stop evil (part of the test) but the randomness of a 5yr old having a heart attack or a non evil induced accident could actually be beyond good o.O


#19

Okay - so we agree that God is active in our world. I think He helps me with remarkably minor things (when compared to live-saving things).

The thing is, to my knowledge, this direct action usually comes at our invitation or request - otherwise it might be that it would violate our free will. I’m speaking carefully here keeping in mind our limited capacity to come anywhere close to understanding the mind of God.

Okay - I would hope that God would respond to our requests. There are examples where God intervenes when he wasn’t invited, however. So, He does it both ways. The question that I have is how to reason about it when God doesn’t intervene but we should.

So to the car rolling over that child: is it possible that God might intervene? I would like to think that when we pray daily for our kids, He does intervene to protect them, but if He didn’t in a particular instance, there would be a reason I couldn’t understand or foresee.

Even without understanding the reason, it is clear that good can come out of bad things. Seat belt use came about as a result of horrible accidents in the age before this safety mechanism was developed. Cures that are commonplace today for diseases such as childhood leukemia, were preceded by heart-wrenching deaths of tiny innocents in their parents arms…I could go on, but I’m sure you get my drift.

To your question then of whose free will would be violated if He stopped the car, I would say the collective will of those of us charged with caring for kids and making the cars. Would we care to strive for excellence if God routinely stepped in and directly made up for our deficiencies? And would we then be truly free?

I understand your comment. When we are looking at something happening to an innocent person, we see a single problem happening in the moment with clarity. But, I suspect that God looks at the same scene and sees many things wrong (the design of the car, the overall system of transportation, etc) - not just the one thing that we’re focused upon.

Like you, I have dwelt on the “why” of human suffering for some considerable time and my final answer is that while we may not understand the reason, we can be absolutely sure (as sure as I am of the ground beneath my feet) that placed in His hands that suffering will sprout and bear good fruit.

I think a reasonably self-reflective person will see this working in their own lives.

As an aside, it seems to me that the whole question of life and death was dealt with in a more accepting way in previous ages. People just accepted that life had risks, babies would be born and some of them would die in infancy; wives would be taken away in childbirth etc. It is an exceedingly good thing that many of those risks have been greatly reduced today, but what is not good I think is the emergence of the view of death as the ultimate bad thing which can happen. For people of faith, death is not the ultimate bad thing, but rather the pathway to the ultimate good thing…just my thoughts.

I think it is important to distinguish death itself (which is just the soul separating from the body) from the things that have caused the body to no longer be suitable for the soul. The body is sustaining some sort of wound in order to lose the capacity to contain the soul.


#20

Hello LethalMouse, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Beyond good for a non-evil induced accident to kill a 5 year old girl? Well, why is it good for something to kill a 5 year old girl sometimes but not others?

It seems like you’re saying that we’re here on this planet to take and then pass or fail a test.


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