How Is It Possible A Good God, Evil, And Suffering Co-Exist?

Done with Religion
3 min readJun 12, 2024

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By Mike Edwards

Many are inclined to believe a good God exist but rightly question why then so much evil in the world exists. It doesn’t help some of the explanations given by Christian leaders. A great deal of suffering is either self-inflicted or inflicted upon us by others because of personal evil. Abuse, adultery, and addiction are decisions that cause harm relationally or individually. Freedom doesn’t always explain why an all-powerful God doesn’t intervene more often, especially when evil doesn’t lead to any good in the future.

Freedom is a good thing

It is not logically possible for God to create freedom unless there is the possibility of love or hate. Human parents hope their children freely reciprocate their love than being forced. Without freedom we could accuse God of not creating the very best world where only true, authentic relationships can develop. Freedom also allows humans to develop qualities of moral character that cannot be created initially. Freedom though cannot guarantee a pain free universe.

But, why doesn’t a supposedly all-powerful God intervene more often?

Freedom can explain why much of evil exist, but why doesn’t God intervene more often if all-powerful? It cannot be argued all evil leads to a greater good. Physical abuse can lead to the cycle continuing for generations. Lots of prayers asking for healing are obviously not answered. Is God’s love infrequent? Do miracles only happen because some people are less sinful or beg better at the feet of an arbitrary God?

A possible better explanation for healings is that various biological and environmental factors are involved such as cells and organs. If God doesn’t deny human freedom, it may not be a stretch to say God has to account for natural freedom as well. It may not be a stretch to suggest miracles can happen when God’s love aligns with countless factors known and not known. God cannot intervene singlehandedly, but God surely intervenes by all means possible when circumstances will allow.

Typical rationalizations to defend an all-controlling God include:

  • It is claimed a mystery how God can allow evil but not be evil. Humans don’t get a free pass if they can stop evil but don’t. Some claim all evil eventually leads to good as if some grand plan by God. Hardly! Ask sexual abuse victims or family members of murdered victims.
  • We sinners have no right to question a Holy God. This is not the moral of the story of Job
  • Any good is grace and more than we deserve since God’s standard is perfection and we all fall short as sinners. Then, my sinful parents loved better than such a supposed loving God!
  • God doesn’t have to be fair because They are God! It is nonsense to suggest God requires impartiality in us but not of Themself (James 2:1)

We may have to accept God isn’t all-powerful

A God who can prevent evil but doesn’t is counter-intuitive to love. It is worth considering that God can’t be all-powerful or controlling and be true to God’s nature. Controlling love is an oxymoron. How can God be all-powerful and creatures have some freedom? Evil and suffering in the world may be because God cannot intervene single-handedly without being controlling. God can’t interfere in suffering without human help.

It may be more comforting for some to believe God can’t control their suffering than God sits idly by. One can stop questioning if they are being faithful enough. We can believe though that God empowers and inspires others to choose to do good. God knows and empathizes with us in our suffering. God obviously grieves due to all the evil in the world. God suffered when Jesus was crucified. God suggested through Jesus’ example and words what kind of life lived by all here on earth can make for a much grander world.

How Is It Possible A Good God, Evil, And Suffering Co-Exist?

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. He couldn’t find enough people to discuss God openly so he started blogging years ago. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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Done with Religion

Done with religion does not mean done with God, but done with religious traditions. We post articles weekly about living for God outside the walls of religion.