Last Saturday, I was at our youth camp reunion. At a question and answers session, I was asked by one of the young lads how to defend the goodness of God when evil exists. They were debating in RS at school. My answer went something like this:
- God planned the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10)
- The end will be the best, perfect (Rev 21)
- In order for the end to be the best, we need to know God fully (1 Cor 13).
- For us to know God fully, we need to know his love, patience, justice, mercy, grace and forgiveness.
- For God to be known in this way, evil must exist.
I was struggling to think of a way to justify this from scripture. But in our small group bible study last night, God put the pieces in place from Ephesians 2:3-7.
- We were all once by nature objects of wrath (Eph 2:3) – that means that God would be perfectly just to deal with us all as our sins deserve.
- But (perhaps the greatest but in all the bible) because of his rich mercy, great love, grace, God saved us and raise us with Christ (Eph 2:4).
- Why did God do this?
- So that in the coming ages he could show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:7).
And so, for God to be able to demonstrate grace, mercy and love, there had to be objects of wrath, and for objects of wrath to exist then a world in which evil exists had to be created. The evil age we live in is only a stepping stone to the final more glorious stage.