The events of yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombing serve as a tragic reminder of the presence of evil. Events like this bring the questions of why evil exists in this world and where is God in the midst of it to the forefront.
I have no doubt that God was not only present, but the first one to shed a tear as the bombs ripped through the crowd yesterday. I reject the notion that God caused this tragedy, or others like it, in order to carry out his plans or as some form of punishment. Instead, I hold to the belief that God mourns with those who are hurting and is able to bring good out of evil. That is God’s plan. Did God need these bombs to accomplish some greater good, no. Do I believe he will use them to bring good out of chaos, yes. Like God spoke into nothingness to bring about creation, he works within the chaos to bring about a plan for good.
This however, does not explain the presence of evil. C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, says “evil is a parasite, not an original thing” (45). As a Wesleyan Christian, I believe very strongly in God’s love for humanity, a love so strong that he chose to give us free will. This ability to freely choose right or wrong, good or bad, to love or reject God, is why evil exists.
Do I believe God created evil, no. Do I believe God allows evil, yes. I believe he has to. The moment God steps-in to keep evil from happening in this world, he ceases to be love. God is love, he cannot be anything else, therefore he must allow the possibility of evil to exist in this world. Lewis goes on to say, “If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. Because free will though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having” (48).
Does God’s plan require evil, no, but he can (and does) include it in his plans for good. I continue to find hope in the promise that there will come a point when tears are wiped away, pain does not exist, and evil is vanquished. Thy Kingdom Come.