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If God is good, why is there evil in the world? The answer is simple – freewill – that amazing gift that God has blessed the angelic and the human creation with, allows us to choose the path of life we wish to follow. Freewill allows for choice to live according to the creator’s counsel or to follow our own preferences including evil preferences. Adam was given a choice and he exercised it.
Genesis 1:15-17 (The Message Bible) says: ‘God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order. God commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.”’
Put another way, God is saying to us, ‘I give you freewill, but when you use it against me, you have stepped into dangerous lethal grounds’. Dangerous lethal grounds because the life of all creation, without the sustaining power of the creator, has only one sure outcome – death. If you don’t refuel your car when it runs out of fuel, there is only one outcome, the car will stop moving – it dies.
The Bible teaches that the fuel or power that keeps us alive comes from God; there is an initial deposit at birth – a gift from the creator. The cost of choosing to live independently from the creator is loss of the opportunity to refuel, so when this initial deposit of life-fuel ends, we must refuel to go on living. Those who have chosen to live according to the counsel of the creator (good), will be refueled, those who have chosen to be enemies of the creator (evil), will not be refueled.
I hear you ask ‘how can we live according to the counsel of the creator?’ Our first guide is our conscience, though imperfect, it is the first place where we hear the counsel of the creator. A more advanced guide are the teachings of Jesus, and a more perfect guide is when God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit helps us to clearly understand the teachings of Jesus. These paths of light are available to all.
Apostle Paul speaks about our conscience in Romas 2:13-15 (NIV): For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law… (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law… They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
Good and evil are due to the gift of freewill; our conscience is the first voice that speaks to us to choose good over evil; the Bible calls good the choices we make that follow the counsel of God, and evil the choices that do not follow the counsel of God. Thankfully this era where evil is tolerated by God, will end, and a new era is coming when all who choose good will live again in a world without evil.
Good God, speak clearly to us always, as we use our gift of freewill, to choose good over evil, Amen!