The Problem of Evil

If you visited our site in the last week, you may have noticed a rather peculiar message on our homepage.  An image of a skull and crossbones was displayed with a message of: “you’ve been hacked!”

Though I’m not certain, I believe the intruder gained access to the site because my password was too simple.  Hackers today can use programs to guess many common passwords automatically, so if you have a simple password for your sensitive information, take this opportunity to change it before thieves get into your accounts too!
I’m very grateful to my hosting company, for automatically saving backups of all my content.  A few quick emails back and forth with the support team had be back in business again!  And yes, I’ve improved my passwords and backed up my files locally so I’m prepared for next time.

Pointless Destruction

It’s odd, but from what I can tell, the hacker didn’t use their access to do anything useful for themselves.  They hacked in, deleted my content, and displayed the “you’ve been hacked” page.  But there was no gain for them in the whole thing.  All that was accomplished was that they destroyed someone else’s work, requiring many hours from me and others to repair the damage.

This brings up a few key issues.  First, what’s going on inside someone who will seek to destroy the possessions of another, not for their own gain, but simply to cause pain and destruction?  Second, how can the all-powerful and all-loving God of the Bible allow these things to happen?

Unfortunately, the hacker from last week is bit a small example of someone who’ll harm others for no reason but to cause harm.  While my site was repaired quickly, some evil acts leave their victims with lasting scars. Murder, rape, and abuse occur everyday in cities across the U.S. and the world. If God created all things and has the power to do anything He wants, why doesn’t he zap these people?

The Story of David

The Bible answers this question very clearly and in many places. One of the most dramatic examples in the Bible is David.  This man was chosen by God to be king of Israel after Saul, who had turned away from God.  But even though David was God’s choice for king, Saul continued to live and rule.  Saul even commanded his entire army to seek out David to kill him, forcing David to flee his home, leaving all friends and family.
Think how David must have felt—all alone in the wilderness, hiding from an entire army, waiting for God to fulfill His promise to make him king.  He must have thought, “God, why don’t you just zap Saul?!  He’s persecuting me, your servant and breaking your Law.”  Many of the Psalms written by David during this time have this theme (e.g., Psalm 42, 43).

But God did not destroy Saul here, even though he did deserve it.  This is the basis of our question too—why doesn’t God destroy evil people?  One major answer the Bible gives us is that God is great in Mercy.

You see, if God were not merciful, He would never have let Adam and Eve live after they disobeyed Him in the garden.  He would have destroyed everyone in the flood, instead of sparing Noah and his family.  God is a God great in mercy, and he holds back the punishment that is deserved, giving us time to turn from our sin, repent, and trust Christ as our Savior.

Ironically, in David’s story, we see later see King David doing exactly the same thing to Uriah that Saul had done to him.  Uriah’s wife Bathsheba was beautiful, and when David saw her, he decided to go to her and sleep with her, committing adultery.  Because he was afraid of being caught, he sent Uriah into the front lines in battle where he was quickly killed.  He then took Bathsheba as his wife.  The same David that cried for God to destroy the evil men that persecuted him in the wilderness, had now persecuted another.  By the rules David asked God to set up, be himself should have been destroyed by God.
Thankfully, God is a God of mercy.  When David was confronted with his sin, he repented in sorrow.  He remembered that God is merciful, and cried out to Him for forgiveness.  This was his prayer (Psalm 51):

1Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.

2Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.

4Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.

5For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6But you desire honesty from the womb,b
teaching me wisdom even there.

Who Draws the Line?

We too can be quick to ask for God’s justice and wrath on those who do evil to us.  But we must remember that we have received God’s mercy, and we didn’t deserve it either.  One of my favorite atrists, Lecrae, puts it this way in one of his songs:

“Some people say that God ain’t real ’cause they don’t see how a good God can exsist with all this evil in the world. If God is real then He should stop all this evil, ’cause He’s all-powerful right? What is evil though man? It’s anything that’s against God. It’s anything morally bad or wrong. It’s murder, rape, stealing, lying, cheating. But if we want God to stop evil, do we want Him to stop it all or just a little bit of it? If He stops us from doing evil things, what about lying, or what about our evil thoughts? I mean, where do you stop, the murder level, the lying level, or the thinking level? If we want Him to stop evil, we gotta be consistent, we can’t just pick and choose. That means you and I would be eliminated right? Because we think evil stuff. If that’s true, we should be eliminated! But thanks be to God that Jesus stepped in to save us from our sin! Christ died for all evilness! Repent, turn to Jesus man!”

You can see the full video of this song here:

Much more could be said on this topic, but I hope this helps give you a better understanding of the problem of evil.  We may be hacked again here at TotalThriver, but we’ll always come back, and will be praying that those who’s feet rush to evil may be changed by the power of God to faith in Christ Jesus.  Thanks for reading and feel free to add your comments or questions.