Sunday, July 3, 2005
Why Does God Permit Evil?

Q: What is evil?

A: Evil is the absence of God. We have evil in our world because people have free will and some freely reject God and His Commandments to embrace evil. Yet, like all things, free will was created to be good. It is naturally good for a creature to be rational and make it's own decisions. If we happen to suffer because of another's it does not mean that we are not loved by God. God is with us through the sufferings of life. He too came and suffered being betrayed by his friends, denied by Peter, mocked and beaten over the head, stripped of his garments, forced to carry the cross, and crucified. The God of Heaven and Earth was put to death by our sins so that we might have eternal life. And, God through this and all evil works out good.

Q: Why is there so much evil in the world. How could God let this happen?

A: God can draw good from evil. Our world will have pains and sufferings, but there are countless joys in our lives such as our family and friends. There is evil in our world because we are sinners. God permits evil but He does not will it. He permitted Adam to sin in order to send us His Son, Jesus Christ, the greatest of all gifts. When Mary appeared in Fatima in 1917, she revealed to us that punishment for sin includes hunger, persecution of the Church, war, and persecution of the Holy Father. Suffering comes in part because we sin and separate ourselves from God's grace and love. Some suffering come from sin, but not all. We simply must trust God. 

Scripture itself also confirms that the source of all evil comes originally from sin: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12)

Death and destruction do not come from God but rather from the evil one who seeks to damn us all. We can not blame God for the wrongs of the world.

We must realize that Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, came into the world to suffer. The man who healed the sick, feed the hungry, and cured the blind was dragged through the streets like an animal. He was beaten, mocked, reviled, and insulted. The Creator of Heaven and earth became the Man of Sorrows - rejected by His own people. He was forced to carry His Cross, have his back and face disfigured for our sins, and be nailed to a Cross. Our God suffered for us. Not a mere man - but Our God suffered. Nothing we can suffer will ever amount to the pain that Our Lord, who is God-made Man, felt. For it was not just the nails that pierced Him but every single sin committed in the history of the world. 

To read a detailed account of Our Lord's suffering, find a copy of The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. If Our Lord Himself felt this, certainly we too must accept suffering. Jesus said, "Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38). Look to Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, and Luke 14:2 for similar messages.

Offer up your sufferings to God for in the end, all things will be beautiful and new in the Resurrection to come.

We can learn much from this reflection in the Roman Catechism:
Thus that admirable man, Job, when violently injured by the Sabeans, the Chaldeans, and by Satan, took no account of these, but as a righteous and very holy man exclaimed with no less truth than piety: The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. The words and the example of that man of patience should, therefore, convince Christians, and the conviction is most just, that whatever chastisements we endure in this life come from the hand of God, the Father and Author of all justice and mercy. He chastises us not as enemies, but, in His infinite goodness, corrects us as children. To view the matter in its true light, men, in these cases, are nothing more than the ministers and agents of God. One man, it is true, may cherish the worst feelings towards another, he may harbor the most malignant hatred against him; but, without the permission of God, he can do him no injury. This is why Joseph was able patiently to endure the wicked counsels of his brethren, and David, the injuries inflicted on him by Semei.? Here also applies an argument which St. Chrysostom has ably and learnedly handled. "It is that no man is injured but by himself. Let the man, who considers himself injured by another, consider the matter in the right way and he will certainly find that he has received no injury or loss from others. For although he may have experienced injury from external causes, he is himself his greatest enemy by wickedly staining his soul with hatred, malevolence and envy” (cf. 5th Commandment).
Pope Benedict XVI expressed a similar message when he wrote, "Jesus, whose divine love alone can redeem all humanity, wants us to share his Cross so that we can complete what is still lacking in his suffering (cf. Col 1:24). Whenever we show kindness to the suffering, the persecuted, and defenseless, and share in their sufferings, we help to carry that same Cross of Jesus. In this way, we obtain salvation and help contribute to the salvation of the world" (Pope Benedict XVI in "Let God's Light Shine Forth" edited by Robert Moyhihan. Page 99).

28 comment(s):

del_button July 3, 2005 at 7:33 PM
Matthew said...

God is always there. ALWAYS. Some of us just can't look to the poor, homeless, dying and see Jesus Christ in them. Mother Teresa saw this though. She is one of the best images for those that saw God around evil. It matters where you look.

Of course if a priest sins that way then there is a absense of God. I believe God is still present in the Sacraments, but these men would then be evil. They would be hypocrits as well.

But, that scandal is not the main point of this site. We come here to love and praise God and preach His Holy Word. This scandal is a test against the Church where both innocent and guilty priests have been charged. Cardinal Bernardin was proven innocent in the 1990s; not all priests are guilty.

Simply: those that commit such sins are truly in evil because God can't be in them. They may still perform the Mass and Sacraments because it is really Christ who comes from Heaven in the Eucharist or forgives the sins in Confession. These men are servants of God and those that commit such sins commit evil acts. There is no contradiction. There are no evil people, only evil acts; this is true of all people

del_button July 3, 2005 at 8:21 PM
Anonymous said...

God is ALWAYS there and he also gives us free will so when those priests raped those kids God cannot stop them becasue he gave the priest free will just like everyone else

del_button July 4, 2005 at 11:46 PM
Anonymous said...

Isaiah 45

God creates and does all things.

Including evil.

del_button July 5, 2005 at 9:14 AM
Matthew said...

Well, that is a poor translation of Isaiah 45. I use the New Jerusalem Bible because it translates from the orginal scriptures more than other translations, and the word "evil" in that passage really is "destruction".

del_button July 10, 2005 at 6:29 PM
Anonymous said...

But God did create evil, if you think about it. I mean, he created Satan; he was an angel who fell from heaven, right? And what is your opinion on sociopathic children? They have no moral sense or anything from the very beginning.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 6:38 PM
Matthew said...

No, God didn't create Satan as evil. Satan was only of the greatest angels and to this day still has a spark of the divine love in Him that God created, but he used his powers wrongly and was condemned to hell with no hope of return. This is because angels are spiritual creatures with no free will; God created them in His presence so they can't not believe in Him. Simply put, Satan wasn't created evil just as evil men and women on earth weren't created evil.

What do you mean sciopathic children? Those that are mentally disabled?

del_button July 10, 2005 at 7:11 PM
Matthew said...

Free will is the ability to choose whether or not to accept God. He didn't have that choice so when he chose evil God had to punish him unlike us; Satan was forever condemned. We, when we sin, are not forever condemned because we have free will. That is what I believe, but I would still check with the Church on it.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 7:53 PM
Anonymous said...

First of all, I didn't say God created SATAN evil, I just said, God created Satan, and Satan became evil. Transitive property. And I learned something from my Sunday School teacher that I thought was worth repeating, though I am expecting you'll pick it apart anyway: A sin is a sin. To God, stealing a 747 is the same as stealing a paper clip. And you don't think someone stealing a paper clip has an 'absence of God', do you? It's just temptation, and since we have free will, we have a choice. But yes, God is always there for when you realize you did wrong and will forgive you for it. I think the reason there is so much evil is our own fault for giving into temptation, and God doesn't mess with it because of how much love he has for us; he gave us the gift of free will.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:08 PM
Matthew said...

Well, then your comment on Satan doesn't prove anything. God created Hitler, but that doesn't mean God created evil. Everything God creates is good, it's the way that we use it that distorts God's creation. Like I said, the absense of God is evil not the absense of good becuase God IS the perfect Goodness.

First off all, I firmly believe your Sunday Teacher is wrong. Did they even read the Bible?? You say a sin is a sin, but that isn't true. There are two types of sin: venial sin (minor offenses) and mortal sin (which is a huge sin). I can go into detail later, if you would like, on the criteria for something to be a mortal sin.

Mortal sin (more severe like murder or against a Commandment) is seen in scripture. Read in 1 John 5: 16-17. Here it is mentioned some sin is worse than others. Read it.

For a sin to be mortal:
1. Directly against a Commandment and of serious nature
2. You know that is that bad of a sin
3. You consent your full will to commit the sin anyway.

So, no I don't think stealing a paper clip is an absense of God but rather a small offense. Yet, stealing a plane is far, far worse.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:19 PM
Anonymous said...

Oh and by sociopathic children, I mean children who kill animals or other children and not because they don't know any better; it's because they don't have any sense of morality at all. They just don't.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:22 PM
Matthew said...

If these children know its wrong and decided to kill others that is a mortal sin. That is the absence of God. One is not called a "child" by their age but by their heart, whether it is pure or not.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:27 PM
Anonymous said...

I don't understand your reasoning at all. Breaking a law of God is breaking a law of God, no matter how small the infraction is. Besides, the importance of a plane and the importance of a paperclip are all mortal perception anyway. They both violate 'thou shalt not steal.' And I was just agreeing with what Alex said when I mentioned Satan, because if God created all things and something went evil, it is because He gave it the potential to do so.

And there IS no absence of God, I still don't understand why you are saying that either.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:30 PM
Matthew said...

Surely you understand God can't commit sin because He is God. A sin is defined as "distancing oneself from God" so by definition God can't do that. So, God can't be involved in any part of a sin; therefore, we have the absense of God in sin.

Even if something went evil it was still created good by God. God only creates good, that is what I believe.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:30 PM
Anonymous said...

I might have to agree that they intentionally push God away, but I still think that if even Satan has a spark of divine love or whatnever, then all God's children do as well. But do you agree that they were born evil? Because there is no outside influence of evil teaching; they just don't have morality.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:32 PM
Anonymous said...

Well, okay, so sin itself is the absence of God, i sort of get that, but that doesn't mean he isn't right there next to us watching us sin and shaking his head at us.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:33 PM
Matthew said...

Oh, I agree all God's chidren have a spark of divine love just as Satan does, but Satan is truly evil none the less. People that commit sins like murder also were created good but went bad themselves.

No, I don't believe they were born evil, and I don't believe they were predestined to hell either.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:35 PM
Matthew said...

Of course God is still watching us. The Holy Spirit is with us, but in the act itself, God isn't there.

And I don't think he would shake His head but rather open up His arms, like He did on the Cross, and welcome us to His mercy.

Have you ever heard of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy? Jesus Christ, Our Lord, appeared to St. Faustina in 476 and gave her the chaplet to say.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:42 PM
Anonymous said...

K, I've lost the point. Also I don't remember mentioning predestining to hell anywhere..

Anyway to wrap it up, I think my point was...Satan didn't have free will, so how did he 'choose' evil? Because it was there for him to choose. And HOW did it get there for him to choose? And I get what you say about sin being not God, that makes sense now. And I also heard (I'm thinking from the Bible, but can't remember) that we are born sinful. So if sins are the absence of God, and we are born sinful, how can people not be born evil occasionally?
Yeah, maybe he'd be welcoming. But I still think he'd be disappointed. Look what he did to Moses.
No I have never heard of that Chaplet dealy. *smirk* I'm assuming its something else you can use to prove me wrong though.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:46 PM
Matthew said...

You didn't mention predestination, but I wanted to mention it incase someone asked.

As for your comment about people not being born, I don't understand what you're saying. But, we are born with sin, this is called original sin, which is sin due to the sin Adam committed against the whole human race.

I think you should try saying the Chaplet of divine mercy since much grace is given from it. I'll find you a website in a second.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 8:48 PM
Matthew said...

Here's a website. The chaplet can be said on regular rosary bead, but instead you can just click a box on this site after you say each prayer. Let me know what you think. And if you want to know the history of the chaplet or more of its gifts let me know.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 9:07 PM
Anonymous said...

Sorry, i didn't mean how can people not be born, I meant how come they can't be evil when born occasionally.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 9:09 PM
Anonymous said...

Oooh, that rosary thing is all too formal to me. I prefer to use my own words when speaking to Him. I always end with the Lord's Prayer, of course, because it's just so pretty.

But thank you ever so much for the offer.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 9:44 PM
Matthew said...

They can't be born evil (absent from God's love) because all of us are called to holiness. Look up "Can anyone get to Heaven" in the spotlight section for some more reading on this.

And, the rosary is a great prayer. I say it everday. Read up on it like the 15 promises made by Mary in my rosary post. This post is under "Catholic essentials" in the right hand column.

del_button July 10, 2005 at 10:11 PM
Anonymous said...

Evil doesn't mean absent from God's love. It means whomever is evil chooses to ignore it, disregard it, not value it, whatever. Even Satan has God's love, and he's evil, you said it yourself.

del_button July 16, 2005 at 12:42 PM
Matthew said...

No one is absent from God's love. I call "evil" as "an absense of God through sin, which is an offense against God". We are never out of God's love, but God is clearly not present in the act of evil even if He is still around us. "You can only serve one master" (Matthew 6:24). We can't serve both God and sin, but we will always remain in God's love no matter what we do because we are His children, forever.

del_button July 22, 2005 at 11:26 PM
Anonymous said...

*points upward*

At 9:44 PM, Moneybags said...
They can't be born evil (absent from God's love)

del_button July 23, 2005 at 10:12 AM
Matthew said...

Even though people are not born evil they can turn that way.

del_button September 1, 2021 at 3:33 PM
Anonymous said...

Auron,you raise the issue of pedophile priests. People often do so based on a flawed assumption that this is something that is, or was, rife in the Catholic Church, in a unique way, as if its a Catholic thing. In fact, more pedophiles are caught nowadays in the state schools, sports academies and so on,far more so than was ever the case in religious settings. The truth is that back then when the church ran most of the hospitals and schools, most clergy were devout,hard working people who helped entire generations of people out of poverty. They went all over the world without even being paid, selfless, and on the whole did an incredible job of it. A tiny minority of abusers, inevitably, were drawn to serve in the church so they could get access to children, sadly. But research has shown that its actually a bigger problem nowadays outside of the church. Pedophiles will always go where they can be near children. That's got nothing to do with Catholicism. Much of the anger at the church is combined with other issues. And some of the claims have never been corroborated, yet the church settled to avoid even bigger legal costs and negative publicity. Of course it would be deserved if the abuses had occurred, and they did. But there are certainly cases where the accusers motivations may be questionable. Either way, it's not a "Catholic problem".

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