The problem of evil in the world is one that all of humanity identifies with, regardless of religion or worldview. For me as a Christian, it is something that I have personally had to wrestle with for a very long time, especially when it comes to reconciling the evil in the world with a loving and perfect God. The term ‘evil’ according to the English Dictionary can be said to mean “morally corrupt” — A stark contrast to the morally perfect character of the God of the Bible. The question then becomes; how can a morally perfect God create a morally corrupt world like ours?
First, I think we can come to agree that the world, in and of itself, is not morally corrupt or evil, it is the people in it that can be labelled as such. But still, does that mean God created people with moral defects? Not quite!
According to the Genesis account of the creation story, everything God made (including man) was in a good state (Genesis 1:31). There was no evil in the world after creation. Evil only came into the scene after man veered off the part laid down by God. Evil, according to the Christian worldview, is the result of a fallen world. It sprung out from the free will given to man by God. God, in creating us for love and relationship, also gave us the free will to not love; meaning we can well disobey His laid down laws if we choose to.
It all began in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve — deceived by the serpent, ate from the forbidden tree. That was the moment in history when humanity took a dangerous turn for the worse. After the fall, a thirst for rebellion was birthed in man and evil which is contrary to the nature of God began to spread quickly across the earth. When Cain murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy, it marked the beginning of bloodshed and violence in the world as we have it today. Humanity has lost a big part of her purpose of existence. Greed, hate, jealousy, pride and wickedness became part of the human psychology and these vices have continued to contribute to a large extent, the evil we see in the world today.
The Evil Within:
The Christian worldview teaches that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and as such, we have inherited from the original sin. It is important to note that while sin can be described as an evil act, it isn’t limited to just that. The Christian worldview views sin as a condition before it is an act and we are all guilty before a holy God.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 KJV)
The Bible also tells us that there is none on the face of the earth that is good (Romans 3:10). Therefore it becomes clear that humanity as a whole is in need of help.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV)
Jeremiah 17:9 further addresses the evil state of man’s heart. If we are honest with our selves, we would own up to the flawed state of our hearts. Many times, we are quick to point the finger at others but the truth is, we ourselves are just as broken. In a way, it certainly seems like we are all sick and in need of a physician.
This is where the Gospel message comes alive; A just and loving God takes it upon himself to offer us redemption that we would never have been able to attain on our own. God offers His son Jesus Christ as the sacrificial and atoning Lamb to repair the damage done by the evil in the hearts of men. One of the reasons I am a Christian today is because Christianity doesn’t just address the root and the reality of the problem of evil, but it also offers us a solution, which we can find at the Cross of Christ — something no other worldview offers.
The Appropriate Response:
The appropriate response to the problem of evil should be; first, realizing that we are part of the problem, then, falling down on our knees, we should turn to our heavenly father in repentance and submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. On my part, I have come to realize that the answer to the question of evil can only be found at the cross and that is where I have turned my heart to. When we truly submit to Christ, that is when we begin to experience the miracle of conversion that begins with the transformation of our hearts. We would come to a true understanding of what love is and this, in turn, would help us to love God with all our hearts and also to love our fellow human beings as we should. If all of humanity can get to this point, the evil in the world would generally starve and subsequently go into extinction.