God is sovereign over Evil

When speaking of what is considered good or evil, Ravi Zacharias states that human will is at the center of the definition. When humans reject God they are rejecting His definition of good and evil and are in effect redefining it for themselves.    Ravi Zacharias

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in

their own eyes.   Judges 17:6

Evil | Definition of Evil by Merriam-Webster

1 a: morally reprehensible: sinful, wicked. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'evil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors.   (A sad commentary on our day. DPM)

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The Mystery of Evil

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R.C. Sproul

 

 “…John Stuart Mill have argued that the existence of evil demonstrates that God is either not omnipotent or not good and loving — the reasoning being that if evil exists apart from the sovereign power of God, then by resistless logic, God cannot be deemed omnipotent. On the other hand, if God does have the power to prevent evil but fails to do it, then this would reflect upon His character, indicating that He is neither good nor loving. Because of the persistence of this problem, the church has seen countless attempts at what is called theodicy. The term theodicy involves the combining of two Greek words: the word for God, theos, and the word for justification, dikaios. Hence, a theodicy is an attempt to justify God for the existence of evil (as seen, for instance, in John Milton's Paradise Lost). Such theodicies have covered the gauntlet between a simple explanation that evil comes as a direct result of human free will or to more complex philosophical attempts such as that offered by the philosopher Leibniz…”

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“One of the most important approaches to the problem of evil is that set forth originally by Augustine and then later by Aquinas, in which they argued that evil has no independent being. Evil cannot be defined as a thing or as a substance or as some kind of being. Rather, evil is always defined as an action, an action that fails to meet a standard of goodness. In this regard, evil has been defined in terms of its being either a negation (negatio) of the good, or a privation (privatio) of the good. In both cases, the very definition of evil depends upon a prior understanding of the good. In this regard, as Augustine argued, evil is parasitic — that is, it depends upon the good for its very definition. We think of sin as something that is unrighteous, involving disobedience, immorality, and the like. All of these definitions depend upon the positive substance of the good for their very definition. Augustine argues that though Christians face the difficulty of explaining the presence of evil in the universe, the pagan has a problem that is twice as difficult. Before one can even have a problem of evil, one must first have an antecedent existence of the good. Those who complain about the problem of evil now also have the problem of defining the existence of the good. Without God there is no ultimate standard for the good.”

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“We know that God Himself never does that which is evil. Nevertheless, He also ordains whatsoever comes to pass. Though He does not do evil and does not create evil, He does ordain that evil exists. If it does exist, and if God is sovereign, then obviously He must have been able to prevent its existence. If He allowed evil to enter into this universe, it could only be by His sovereign decision. Since His sovereign decisions always follow the perfection of His being, we must conclude that His decision to allow evil to exist is a good decision.

 

Again, we must be careful here. We must never say that evil is good, or that good is evil. But that is not the same thing as saying, "It is good that there is evil." Again, I repeat, it is good that there is evil, else evil could not exist. Even this theodicy does not explain the "how" of the entrance of evil into the world. It only reflects upon the "why" of the reality of evil. One thing we know for sure is that evil does exist. It exists, if nowhere else, in us and in our behavior. We know that the force of evil is extraordinary and brings great pain and suffering into the world. We also know that God is sovereign over it and in His sovereignty will not allow evil to have the last word. Evil always and ever serves the ultimate best interest of God Himself. It is God in His goodness and in His sovereignty who has ordained the final conquest over evil and its riddance from His universe. In this redemption we find our rest and our joy — and until that time, we live in a fallen world.”   

—RC Sproul

The Coexistence of Evil and The Sovereignty of God

Not a theodicy to justify God for the existence of evil

Nor an explanation of the origin of evil

. . . the Lord had declared that "everything that he had made . . . was exceedingly good" [Genesis 1:31]. Whence, then comes this wickedness to man, that he should fall away from his God? Lest we should think it comes from creation, God had put His stamp of approval on what had come forth from himself. By his own evil intention, then, man corrupted the pure nature he had received from the Lord; and by his fall drew all his posterity with him into destruction. Accordingly, we should contemplate the evident cause of condemnation in the corrupt nature of humanity-which is closer to us-rather than seek a hidden and utterly incomprehensible cause in God's predestination.   John Calvin,  Institutes, 3:23:8

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"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”   John 3:19-21

  • God has a good and moral reason for everything He does or permits, including the yet undisclosed reason for the temporary existence of evil. 

  • God did not create evil. He permits it to exist for His glory. All that He creates or ordains to occur is for the ultimate good of those who love him. 

  • A sinful finite creature in rebellion against the infinite Holy God is not qualified morally or intellectually to judge whether God has a morally acceptable reason for the presence of evil.

  • Evil is not something. It has no essence or being. It is the inverse position of God's very nature and attributes. Evil is the absence of all that God is, as darkness is the absence of light.

  • .Evil is a proof of the existence of the Biblical God. Without the Biblical God in the paradigm, evil would not exist anymore than a one ended stick.

  • .Evil is not sovereign. It operates solely on the basis of God's good pleasure, within the limits assigned to it by His sovereignty, to accomplish His divine purpose.

  • .Evil is not eternal, but time bound. It is a temporary straw-man that God will destroy forever in His good time when it has fully served His divine purpose.

  • "Without the presence of evil, God's glory best seen in His grace, mercy, and unconditional love would have been locked away in His person forever."   —A.W. Tozer

  • The paradoxical coexistence of good and evil does not constitute a valid argument against the existence of God. They are antithetical, yet, compatible.

  • At the cross good and evil are seen for what they are. We are seen for who we are. And God in Christ is seen reconciling the world back to Himself by His own substutionary death on our behalf, in love.

  • Evil first appears with Lucifer, God's highest creation choosing to exalt himself above his Creator. Choosing to honor and serve himself above God. 

  • The chief end of man is to love God and enjoy Him forever. The chief end of life is holiness (loving and obeying God) which overcomes evil with good.

  • "Evil is evil. It is a sin to call evil good. But, when God ordains evil to occur, it is good that it occurs for the fulfillment of His divine purpose."   —R.C. Sproul

  • One day very soon, evil will be no more. God will destroy evil forever in His good time when it has fully served His divine purpose.