A complaint commonly heard today is why does an all powerful God allow evil to happen on earth.
Though this argument is often used by atheists to disprove the existence of God, Pew Research Center recently surveyed Americans to discover if the average person blames God when bad things happen?
Its survey of 6,500 Americans in September, that included nearly 1,500 Evangelicals, found that the majority do not blame God when terrible things take place, such as the recent COVID pandemic that saw millions die.
According to Christianity Today, the survey revealed several interesting results:
- 86% of Americans believe (44%) or somewhat believe (42%) that ‘sometimes bad things just happen.’
- 70% of Americans believe that bad things are consequences of our own decisions;
- 70% also believe that bad things happen because of the way societies are structured;
- 70% believe men have a free will that allows them to act contrary to what God wants us to act; and
- 80% believe in the Biblical God (58%) or a higher power (22%), but say that suffering is a result of our own decisions.
But not all hold this opinion, the survey also revealed:
- 20% are angry at God because of the suffering in the world.
While some still blame God for allowing evil, how does the Bible explain it.
There is a verse in the Book of Genesis that speaks of the cataclysmic change in God’s relationship with human society, that took place shortly after the marriages between the ‘sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men’ (Genesis 6:2).
The phrase ‘sons of god’ refers to angels in Job 1:6, and I believe this was describing marriages that started taking place between fallen angels and human women.
As a consequence of what happened, we are told that God would no longer ‘strive’ with man.
3 My spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3 NASV)
The Hebrew word ‘diyn’ translated ‘strive’ by the NASV has an interesting meaning, that ‘strive’ doesn’t fully convey.
According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ‘diyn’ is used 23 times in the Old Testament. And in every instance, except in Genesis 6:3, it is clearly used in the sense of governing.
So if ‘diyn’ refers to the idea of governing in 22 of 23 times it is used in other verses, then we need to presume that it has the same meaning in Genesis 6:3.
In other words, because of these illicit marriages, God would no longer be directly involved in governing earth.
Though many point to man’s fall into sin as the reason for the earth’s condition, God was still actively governing men in a judicial sense even after sin entered the world. When Cain murdered his brother Abel, God marked Cain so that others would not execute him (Genesis 4:15).
But that role changed in Genesis 6.
As God withdrew, it was at this moment that Satan became the god of this world.
In Luke 4:5-6, as part of his temptation, Satan offered Jesus the countries of the world for a moment of worship, because Satan said the Kingdoms had been ‘handed over’ to him.
According to Vine’s Greek Dictionary, the Greek word ‘‘paradidomi’ translated ‘handed over’ means to surrender or to yield up. The same word is used in Mark 1:14, to describe Herod’s arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptist.
We are living in a world that is now governed and controlled by evil, and we are paying the consequence for that decision.
God is still interested in our welfare, but humans now must take an active role through prayer and faith to seek God’s intervention.