It’s a question that haunts all who believe in an incorruptible benevolent God: How can a good and loving God allow so much wickedness and suffering? This question sparks off others: Is He loving but not strong enough to stop evil? Is he strong enough but not loving enough to stop it? It hardly seems fair to blame it all on Satan and I won’t even mention the killing in the Bible done at God’s behest. Pagans have it easy – they don’t believe in all good and loving deities and, thus don’t fall into this conundrum.
How do I make peace with it? I think evil exists because God is love and not in spite of it. Almost immediately, Genesis tells of humanity being given a choice. In our entitlement, that seems obvious and expected but in comparison with the pervasive lust for power that rings in our hearts and terrorises those too weak to stand up to us, this is remarkable! The Infinite God gave us the power to reject Him and His ways. We are to be good by choice not coercion.
Love demands vulnerability and cannot live without it. Love is two people prancing around nude in Eden without a sliver of shame but before that, it is a God who stands before humanity and offers Himself after giving them the ability to reject Him. Evil exists because love can never be forced, evil exists because rejection is the inseparable twin of acceptance i.e. in order to truly accept, I must have rejection as an option. God is all powerful but it does not corrupt Him: he respects our freedom.
The same love that allows evil is also working to end it. God’s victory is not won by annihilating his foes or by micromanaging them (intervening to stop every misdeed) but by demonstrating His love in death on a cross. The infinite God allowed rude men to crucify him without the slightest retaliation. To be sure, He uses His power but the battle against evil is to be won by the revelation of His character. Until then, we ought to stop pretending we know everything but hug and comfort each other. Why are funerals drenched in theological explanations when all the world yearns for is a hug.
If God is loving, He then must render Himself somewhat vulnerable. Evil becomes a possibility.