Last night we kicked off our new Questions series. In this series I’ll be answering different questions that the students came up with. If you’re interested in all the back story, check out last week’s post.
Our question for last night was Why does God allow evil?
This is a pretty tough question to talk about with middle school students, but I think it was a good one to start with.
First thing we did was come up with a working definition of what evil is. We talked about a number of answers, but settled on bad things.
We talked about how when most tragedies happen most people say if God is a good God, he wouldn’t allow this to happen. And how alot of people argue that since evil does exist this proves that there is no God. And without there being God there is no objective, universal standard to measure good and evil.
To illustrate the idea about universal standard, we talked a tape measure and that all tape measures define an inch as the same length. If they didn’t show the same measurement, then our houses and other construction would be a terrible mess all because there is no universal standard of measurement.
I then asked for examples of things that are evil and things that are good. After getting the examples I then argued that since we can figure out what is evil and what is good, there must be an eternal standard and that’s God.
While it’s impossible for us as humans to know the things of God, we can speculate why He allows things to happen and that is what we do in the case of evil.
We talked about 2 possible reasons that God allows evil last night.
1) To preserve free will
What did God say?
Did Adam and Eve have a choice?
Were they forced to eat?
These verses to do a great job of setting up this idea of free will. No on forced Adam and Eve to eat the fruit just like no one forces us to do evil acts. It’s a choice that we make.
God could prevent us from doing evil, but He then takes our free will. In order for us to be truly free God allows us the freedom to do evil.
2) To develop virtues like empathy, patience, and trust in a Savior
Empathy is how we share feelings with others-we hurt with those that hurt, cry with them, pray for them. It goes far beyond feeling sympathy, with empathy we can put ourselves in the other person’s situation.
Patience is developed by knowing that there is evil in the world and waiting for God to make things right. This plays out in many ways but the biggest is when there are tragedies-we know that God can anything to work them for God. This idea of patience plays in the third virtue: Trust in a Savior.
Without evil in a world we would have no need for a Savior, let alone trust in Him. I showed this picture
What is the normal reaction of a panda to a human? More than likely it’s to run away. This panda had just been through an earthquake and so he latched onto a person that he thought he could trust.
The same with us. When we face evil it should make us run to the One who is in control and who will one day fix everything that’s broken in our world.
After what we talked about last night, I wanted to give something that would be a reminder that God is our standard but also to remind us that He loves us so everyone got a small tape measure as a visual takeaway.
Next week we’ll answer If someone never hears about God or Jesus, where do they go when they die?