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This is an age-old question – If we have a good God, then how could a good God allow evil to exist?

Good question.  And like most really good questions, there are very few answers.

The reason this question has been asked so much over the centuries is because there isn’t a good answer.  And I don’t have a good answer either.

Someone asked me this questions today during a bible study.  My answer went something like this – Because God is love.  And love doesn’t force its way into others or force others to do things.  That wouldn’t be love.  Love invites, but doesn’t force.  Love allows.  And sometimes that’s really painful.  But would it be love if God forcefully changed humanity instead of inviting us to relationship with God?

Is it a good answer?  I don’t know.  But it is my attempt to rationalize why evil is allowed to exist.  And maybe that’s the problem.  We think we have to have all the answers to life’s many questions.  Including the questions that have no real answer.

You want a real honest answer to the question of why evil is allowed to exist?  Because it is.  It’s a part of our existence and is comes from sin.

That’s probably not a satisfying answer to anyone, yet, it’s probably closer to the truth than anything else I’ve heard.  And even then, it’s still way off the mark.

But this hits a wider issue – difficult questions and problems.  Things like why violence happens, why abuse occurs, why wars break out, why senseless murders and mass shooting happen.  Too often we want a silver bullet solution – something that seemingly makes sense and can solve the problem.

The problem with this is that all of these problems involve people.  And people are complicated and messy.  If we could legislate away evil, then we would have by now.  If there was a nice easy fix, then I figure we would have done it by now.

Legislation may very well be a part of the solution.  But we are kidding ourselves dangerously if we believe that it is the sole or even most important solution.  We have a heart problem.  We have a culture problem.  We have a sin problem.  These problems certainly come out in the form of gun violence, but they also come out in the form of other violence too.  And what criminal justice looks like.  And how we do education.  And our focus on sick care instead of actual health care.  And our entertainment.  And the fact that our nation was founded on the basis of mistrust.  And…

Do you see why a simple solution to this problem isn’t so simple.  It’s mixed up with a whole bunch of issues.  You can’t just address one and think that it will be that simple.  This requires a change in culture, which doesn’t have over night.  It requires a change in attitude.  It requires a change in how we view our neighbor and who our neighbor is.  It requires a change of the heart and mind.

But we’d rather not deal with that – we’d rather just deal with the material.  It’s much easier to control.  But it will never solve the problem.  It’s much more complex than that.  It’s about humanity.