Why doesn't God eliminate Evil


#1

Having discussion with friend and need your help. This is something that interest me too. Hopefully, this thread will grow some and I can then bring fourth some of my own interest, appreciate your insights.

Thus far, my friend has said:

[why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil]

**I responded with: “**Because he gave Adam and Eve & us a free will.”

He came with:
[font=Times New Roman][size=3]But why is ‘free will’ that includes evil better than 'free will that doesn’t?? Because it’s just not quite ‘free’ then? Why is that better?"[/size][/font]


As simple as the response is, I’m somewhat stuck. Would appreciate your help. thanks


#2

Here are my thoughts: evil exists because free will is necessary for love. God wants us to love Him, but you can’t force someone to love you, love is freely given. Therefore, there has to be a choice to not love God. This choice is evil. Satan chose not to love God. He and his minions go a round trying to get us to also not love God. That “not loving God” is what evil is.


#3

[quote=Genesis315]Here are my thoughts: because free will is necessary for love. God wants us to love Him, but you can’t force someone to love you, love is freely given. Therefore, there has to be a choice to not love God. This choice is evil. Satan chose not to love God. He and his minions go a round trying to get us to also not love God. That “not loving God” is what evil is.
[/quote]

:amen:


#4

Genesis is right, but the easiest reply is that the human will is free or it isn’t. If for some reason God restricted the decision making capabilities of humans like in animals, the will is no longer free. Love which is Triune by nature requires a lover, a beloved and Love and free will on the participants parts. Otherwise, the triangle loses one of its sides and collapses. Thanks and God Bless.


#5

[quote=smokey888x2]Having discussion with friend and need your help. This is something that interest me too. Hopefully, this thread will grow some and I can then bring fourth some of my own interest, appreciate your insights.

Thus far, my friend has said:

[why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil]

**I responded with: “**Because he gave Adam and Eve & us a free will.”

He came with:
[font=Times New Roman][size=3]But why is ‘free will’ that includes evil better than 'free will that doesn’t?? Because it’s just not quite ‘free’ then? Why is that better?"[/size][/font]

As simple as the response is, I’m somewhat stuck. Would appreciate your help. thanks
[/quote]

##* Presumably* you mean moral evil - not, or not primarily, physical evil.

There is an ambiguity here - if not several.

1. “Why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil ?”

can be read as meaning:

“Why does God not eliminate the thing that evil is ?”

The answer to that, is that there is no thing-as-such called evil. Evil, is a mere word: not a name for something with an existence of its own. Men exist, cheeses exist, desks exist, angels exist - all these are things that are, that have existence; but evil, does not have existence: any more than “being green” or “being six feet tall” or “blackness” or “selfish” exist: there beings with these qualities - but these qualities exist only as qualities of real things; of things, that is, with an existence of their own.

And evil, has no existence of its own.

A strong wind is not evil - it just is; or, it can be a good thing. A hurricane in the Atlantic is not evil - in a city, it is an evil. Not because of any change in the hurricane in itself, but because of a change in in the hurricane with respect to its environment. A wind blowing at 130 m.p.h. in mid-Atlantic hurts no one - the same wind at the same speed in a built-up area is another matter entirely.

IOW - what we call evil, is often made up of good things, in the “wrong” proportions. For a wind at 30 m.p.h. might well be refreshing. In the wrong place, or on the wrong scale, or in some other way, a good thing, can be a “bad thing”.

Evil, is often several good things together, but in a relationship which is not well adjusted. Two men with guns kill the same number of men: one gets a medal, the other gets the electric chair - one is a hero, the other is “not fit to live”. Or the same man can be a hero to begin with, yet be executed for using his qualities as a soldier, not on the battlefield, but off it. The same qualities bring different results on different occasions: not because the qualities have changed, but because the surroundings of the person who possesses them have changed.

IOW, evil is not only not a “real thing” - it seems to be a quality of relations between real things.

2. “Why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil ?”

can also be read as meaning:

“Why does God not stop opportunities for evil arising ?”

That may be where the “free will defence” comes in. ##


#6

Being a man ist far better then being a robot. But freedom always has consequences…


#7

…not a free ride guys…

http://www.tombraider4u.com/pictures/ghosts.gif


#8

Hello Smokey,

God does eliminate freedom from the control of His will and evil. In the Kingdom of God, are there any starving people to choose to love by feeding them or choose to hate by letting them starve to death? Can you choose between murdering your neighbor or not murdering your neighbor in the Kingdom of God? Can you hate your neighbor in heaven by adultering with their spouce in God’s Kingdom? God will not allow hatred and suffering, which is the effect of choosing sin, in the Kingdom of God.

You cannot love without the option to choose not to love. Free from the will of God obedience on earth to the commandments of God is love for God. Your free willed love for God choices on earth are your treasure of love for God which you possess for all eternity. Use your free from the will of God time on earth to prepare gifts of love for God which cannot be produced in the Kingdom of God in heaven.

Please visit www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com

NAB REV 21:1 New Heavens and New Earth.

Then I saw new heavens and a new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer. I also saw a new Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of the heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne cry out: “This is God’s dwelling among men. He shall dwell with them and they shall be his people and he shall be their God who is always with them. He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away.” NIV 1JO 5:3

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.NAB SIR 35:6

The just man’s sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten . In generous homage to the LORD be not sparing of freewill gifts.

NAB MAT 13:18

“Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” NAB LUK 12:31

Instead,** seek his kingdom**, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. NAB JOH 15:16It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and** bear fruit that will remain**, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you:** love one another.**


#9

God doesn’t make evil, humans make evil…God CAN eliminate evil, but choses not to because it is a human choice to have it through free will…the way He counters it is by taking those who chose not to spread evil home:) now there’s a goal worth shooting for:)

Here’s food for thought:
how do you know love when you haven’t known evil?


#10

The less people follow Truth, the greater the evils of the world will be. One who follows Truth avoids sin. Immorality is like a bondage; sins are an oppression. The chains of human suffering are lifted when people freely choose a moral path, based on Truth, and turn away from sin.

[list]
*]Those who commit acts of greed cause affliction to thousands of families when a company goes out of business as a result.
[/list]
[list]
*]Those who rape cause affliction to the victim, not only to the body, but to the person whose dignity was trampled. All understand the suffering of a child born out of wedlock and into poverty, or into harms way in certain nations who reject them and treat them as less than animals.
[/list]
[list]
*]Those who kill place themselves above God and take life cause not only the suffering of their victims and deprive them of life in service of the Lord as he intended, they cause friends and family the pain of great loss.
[/list]
[list]
*]Those who waste, respect not the resources the Lord has provided, nor the millions who have not.
[/list]
[list]
*]Those who are prideful, placing nationalism above Christian values cause the death and destruction of millions.
[/list]
The list goes on. Maybe others would like to chime in with other examples of how sin causes the afflictions you see, and not the Lord.

One cannot follow the Lord unless it is done with freedom and love and that freedom must be used to celebrate the Lord in obedience of his commands, and of trust in the institution to which he gave the keys to the kingdom. When in doubt, give the Church the benefit of the doubt and the Lord will be pleased!


#11

if there were no evil, would we want knowledge of evil?

if we knew no evil, how would we know evil is evil?


#12

God allows evil for the sake of a greater good. That greater good is free will. You cannot have free will without the possibility of both good and evil choices.


#13

You start off well, Gottle, but I would phrase it more carefully, as it might be taken that evil does not exist, period. The distinction I think is that the existence of evil is in fact parisitic. As St Augustine pointed out, evil is a privation, it is where there is no good. This does not imply however that evil does not exist. Darkness exists, but only so far as light does not exist. That is, if all were light, darkness could not be, its existence being intrinsically dependent on the presence of light. Darkness exists, and evil exists in the same way. True, as you say, they do not exist by themselves, but it diminishes their severity and importance to say that they do not exist at all.


#14

One thing worth illustrating is that God has not eliminated evil yet. It is fully within His plan to do so.


#15

[quote=smokey888x2]Having discussion with friend and need your help. This is something that interest me too. Hopefully, this thread will grow some and I can then bring fourth some of my own interest, appreciate your insights.

Thus far, my friend has said:

[why doesn’t God, who is all powerful, just eliminate evil]

**I responded with: “**Because he gave Adam and Eve & us a free will.”

He came with:
[font=Times New Roman][size=3]But why is ‘free will’ that includes evil better than 'free will that doesn’t?? Because it’s just not quite ‘free’ then? Why is that better?"[/size][/font]

As simple as the response is, I’m somewhat stuck. Would appreciate your help. thanks
[/quote]

Replace "Free will " with Choice.
God is love.
We who are called are being made into a temple for Him.
We can not be a part of Him if we are not like Him, in love in obedience completely.
So the choice is to live in God or not to live in God.
He has created us for this purpose. He has shown us His Authority. He has prepared a path for us (Jesus Christ)
we just have to want it. This is a choice. To choose your will, is against love, is evil, is selfish, and creates disorder etc etc etc.We dont have the wisdom.
Choose, His will or Your will.
Only by following the Holy Spirit do you know the day by day will of God. You can only follow the Holy Spirit by faith as you can’t see Him.
You can ignore the Holy Spirit, God’s will revealed to you, and work your fingers to the bone, but what has that got to do with obedience. If you love Me you will obey Me.
walk in love
edwinG


#16

[quote=yqbd]if there were no evil, would we want knowledge of evil?

if we knew no evil, how would we know evil is evil?
[/quote]

To the first, no, we wouldn’t want knowledge of evil without an any inclination to it (stain fo Original Sin).

To the second, we would then “know” evil as Mary and the Trinity “know” evil by the abnegation of it.

Does that make sense??? Please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks and God Bless.


#17

I am currently reading the CCC and just happened to read this last night:

Providence and the scandal of evil

309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is 164, 385
mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a 2850
whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin, and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments, and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single
aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create
something better.174 But with infinite Wisdom and goodness God 412
freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its 1042-1050
ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, 342
both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not
reached perfection.175

311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and
preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have 396
sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than 1849
physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil.176 He permits it, however,

because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:

For almighty God . . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.177

312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even
a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you,” said Joseph to his brothers, "who sent me here, but God. . . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many
people should be kept alive."178 From the greatest moral evil ever 598-600
committed - the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that "abounded all the more,"179 brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good. 1994

313 "We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him."180 The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth: 227

St. Catherine of Siena said to “those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them”: "Everything comes
from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind."181

St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: "Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best."182

Dame Julian of Norwich: "Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith… and
that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord showed in this time - that ‘all manner [of] thing shall be well.’"183

314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God "face to face,"184 will we fully know the ways by which 1040

  • even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his 2550
    creation to that definitive sabbath rest185 for which he created heaven and earth.

#18

But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. But with infinite Wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.

Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it: For almighty God . . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.

In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you,” said Joseph to his brothers, "who sent me here, but God. . . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive. "From the greatest moral evil ever committed - the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that “abounded all the more,” brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.

This is really good.


#19

Wasn’t it C.S. Lewis who said that evil is “spoiled good”?

One of the other posters was addressing this, in part, with the idea that there is no “concrete” evil. . .but I’d go further. Evil does not exist on its own. There is no “original evil” which arose on its own. And while “free will” makes us able to choose either good or “spoiled good”, it’s still only a factor and not a cause of any individual “evil” thought, word or deed. Even the first sin of Adam and Eve, disobedience, resulted from a choice of a spoiled GOOD, that is, obedience.

The mere fact that any “good” exists means that it can be spoiled, and THAT is what evil is.

God did not “create” evil. Evil is a natural consequence of the good–but NOT a vice versa. Good is not a natural consequence of evil, because only Good is “reality”. Evil is not then an “opposite” of good, or a counterpart (as in dualism) but rather is a consequence of spoiling good. Sexual actions are good and pleasurable, but only in a valid marriage and under various “controls” of right reason (i.e., if the wife is feeling ill, even though sexual actions are good, pleasurable, the marriage is valid, etc., she may not be “forced” into those actions simply because the husband is NOT ill and wants sex). The GOOD would be spoiled if engaged in under conditions which cause a hurt to one of the parties involved.

We can also explain why sin “hurts” God, who is always a part of us, always in a relationship with us (He the creator, we the created). Though the Father and Spirit are spirits and thus cannot feel “hurt”, there is a damage to the relationship when a “spoiled” good is freely chosen by an individual, or when a “good” itself is engaged in under circumstances which cause hurt. When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about how some of them, told to “honor their fathers and mothers” instead chose to contribute the support money to the temple instead, basically denying their own parents due care, that’s an example of a good (contribution to the temple) being corrupted into a bad (because the contribution is made to the temple, the parents are deprived of livelihood). Even though the temple supposedly would represent “God”, and of course we are to think of God over and above even our parents and family, that doesn’t mean that we are excused from our responsibilities of care to our fellow humans in order to focus “on God”.

To the poster who wondered why God didn’t “eliminate” evil, the short (! well, short for ME anyway :smiley: ) answer is that by eliminating evil He would have to eliminate good, and since He is all good, that would basically involve eliminating HIMSELF–and I don’t think we would want that, now would we?


#20

[quote=Tantum ergo]Wasn’t it C.S. Lewis who said that evil is “spoiled good…”

"…by eliminating evil He would have to eliminate good, and since He is all good, that would basically involve eliminating HIMSELF–and I don’t think we would want that, now would we?
[/quote]

I was so with you until that very last statement. Are you implying a ying/yang kind of duality between good and evil? Good existed very well on It’s own before well before evil and will continue to exist when all evil is destroyed. When God introduced Himself to Moses, it was not as “The Good One” but as, “I am.” The concept of God eliminating Himself contradicts the premise that “He is.”

Our Faith is Monotheistic: we belief in one God who is Love. Love is free, not oppressive or controlling so Free Will is just a natural occurrance in our relationship with God. Satan was a creation of God with the same gift of free will we all have.


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