This question is essentially the same as the another common question “if God is good, why does evil exist?”. Different religious people from different backgrounds have their opinions of why and how the Orlando Florida nightclub shooting took place and whether or not God caused it or why he would allow it. When applying this question we can ask; “If God is good, why did he allow the Orlando nightclub shooting?” To get to a definitive answer on anything about God we must look at him not our feelings or opinions. This article will ask 5 very important questions such as; Does God Cause Sin? Why Does God Allow Sin? Why doesn’t God just wipe away all sin? Why Did God Allow Evil in the First Place? and Why Isn’t God Responsible for Sin? This will help us understand why there is evil, such as the Orlando mass shooting, who is responsible, and what is the solution.
Q1: Does God Cause Sin?
Some ignorant and gullible teachers think that John Calvin taught God is the cause of sin; this is a lie. Calvin actually stated: “For the proper and genuine cause of sin is not God’s hidden counsel but the evident will of man,” and the Canons of Dort state: ““The cause or blame for this unbelief, as well as for all other sins, is not at all in God, but in man”. Where does Calvin and the authors of the Cannons of Dort get their understanding of God from?
“No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone.”
Since God does not cause people to sin, yet people sin, therefore people sin because of their own will out of their hearts.
Q2: Why Does God Allow Sin?
If God knows all things and is all powerful, why does he allow people to willingly sin and do such horrible actions? There are a number of things to consider here. First off, if we think this one action (and all the others like it) is this evil and horrible, than we can not imagine what hell is like and we can not fathom what it would be like if God did not restrain the hearts of more evil people.
Common Grace is the doctrine described in 1924 by The Christian Reformed Church that explains how the evil hearts of mankind are restrained just enough after Noah’s flood. God restrains the hearts of individuals (Exodus 4:21; Joshua 11:20; Isaiah 63:17), and who people groups and nations (Psalm 81:11-12; Romans 1:28 ). The world prior to Noah’s flood would have been similar to the Holocaust of the 1940s, but happening in just about every country, continually, with no one taking a stand against it because everyone felt the same way. Thankfully, with God showing common Grace and restraining he hearts of mankind; this is not the case anymore after the flood.
God’s love for us is so amazing that he even allows us to continue to exist for all eternity even if its not with him. He allows us to reject him. Instead of being a robot and being forced into a relationship; in some divine way and congruent to his divine sovereignty, he affords us the perfect extent of free will to love him. But this extent of free will also comes with it a sinful nature. Thus because of our own will and sinful nature; sin will happen. God allows sin because, he out of his love, he does not compromise our free will. But he doesn’t leave us out in the cold. Even though we do freely sin; he offers restitution and salvation from it.
Also read How “Love is Love” is Unloving.
Along with God’s common grace and true love in relation to allowing evil; God allows us and even those who do not know God to still see evil. They unknowingly admit there is an absolute good to be able to determine an evil. They unknowingly admit there is perfection as they are able to see imperfections in ethics and societal moralities by knowing something is less than perfect. They unknowingly admit that mass shootings is not how reality is ought to be and that it ought to be different. All these visible markers point somewhere. A standard to determine evil and not evil, a scale of things that do not meet perfection, and an inherent feeling that mass murder is not how the world ought to be. The absolute solution to these natural and inherent visible markers is God. He is the perfect standard of Good and the creator of how things ought to be before we freely sinned and corrupted our world.
Not that sin is necessary but God will always ‘1 up’ anything less than him. Evil is not necessary but because it is a reality; God is greater. God is forgiving, gracious, merciful, and unconditionally sacrificially loving. Those attributes of God will perfectly and for all eternity surpass any form of evil. With that said; how would you ever experience being forgiven, or having someone show you mercy if you never did anything wrong that needed forgiveness or mercy? Not only does God allow us to see evil but he allows us to see and experience things greater than evil. God’s grace, when revealed to someone, is so overwhelming it changes lives for all eternity. Grace is undeserving favor. Why undeserving? because of the evil you know you have committed that does not deserve favor; yet, you are given favor anyway. All of which are perfect and holy responses to seeing and experiencing evil.
This is a tough pill to swallow for a lot of non religious or self righteous people. But no matter people’s views and opinions on it, it is still true. Because we DO sin and HAVE sinned and WILL sin; we WILL continue to completely and utterly offend the perfectly holy and righteous eternal God of the universe. This isn’t cheating on a school exam or changing lanes with out signaling. This is everyone committing the most offensive thing to ever exist in all reality. To do something against God that has ETERNAL value. Worse than spending the night in jail or 30 years in prison. At least those have time limits. Offending God has no time limit, it is eternal. Rebelling against a friend may bring some drama in your life. Rebelling against your parents may have more pain and longer lasting strife. But rebelling against God is the greatest amount of pain and strife, physically, emotionally, and spiritually; forever. Our sin is of the greatest of weight and eternal value.
God is perfectly right and Just. We know that evil ought to be punished naturally; therefore we admit there is the existence of true justice. If we desire justice for mass shootings; what level of justice would satisfy what is required for an evil that is infinity worse than mass shootings? Offending God eternally, is the infinite evil that requires the greatest infinite justice. We all have and will offend God eternally… Its tough to say and equally true and important; but the justice we all deserve is far worse than experiencing a mass shooting. We all deserve infinitely worse.
ONLY a perfectly holy and righteous God can deliver that perfect form of justice to satisfy our eternal offense. God did. The perfect just satisfying punishment was handed down on Jesus on the Cross; on your behalf. Instead of you having to face the consequences of eternally offending God; Jesus took it on for you. You can either accept that or reject what Jesus has offered; but either way justice is required either from you or by Jesus.
Also read The Satisfaction of Christ Jesus
Q3: Why Doesn’t God just Wipe Away all Evil Now?
He is. He revealed he is offering salvation and redemption from our own evils in this age before he comes and judges the world. When he stops time and judges the world, evil will be no more. Every ounce of evil and ever evil action, thought, desire, urge, temptation, everything that is not good; will be disposed of and all unrepentant evil doers will receive their just judgement. For Christians, Jesus has taken on their just judgement for their evils. But for the rest of the world, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Currently God is restraining his perfect and holy righteous wrath and exerting his perfect and holy kindness so that people will be saved from their sins. Even in this question, we see God perfection in his mercy, grace, and kindness trumping evil and sin for the sake of everyone whom he loves.
Q4: Why Did God allow Evil in First Place?
This question relates to God’s love and foreknowledge. For a divine and holy reason and purpose he created us of whom he loves. With that love came our free will and propensity for sin. Knowing our propensity and future actuality of sin he also had a divine, holy, and perfect solution. God’s eternal plan allows for our free will and the elimination of sin in eternity. Sin was ‘allowed’ because God already knew it was solved.
Q5: Why Isn’t God Responsible for allowing sin?
People who allow murders to take place can be held accountable and charged with being an accomplice. Is God an accomplice to sin? No. The reason why he is not an accomplice for allowing sin is because he has already dealt with sin. Its hard to understand this question through a finite earthly fleshly mind. We most look to the eternal, timeless, and spiritual to correctly understand.
God is outside of time. The beginning of sin and the end of sin has already taken place before the throne of God. Before sin even began, God had already known of the absolute perfect solution to sin. From eternity there was an absolute solution.
In space and time, God made known his plan of salvation and redemption through the prophets. In space and time, Jesus dealt with sin on the cross and took on the weight, value, AND responsibility for sin. “It is finished”. Jesus is our substitute and payment for our sin. He took on all the responsibility for our evil. In a perfect and righteous exchange, those who accept this reality, take on Jesus’ righteousness in replace of their sins. This was the perfect solution God is solely responsible for which was known before the beginning of time that maintains our free will and eliminates sin.
Also read: Finding God’s Will
God did not create or cause evil. Evil came from the hearts of mankind. True love is God giving true freedom in the heat of mankind which allowed for the potential for good and evil. Mankind, in their imperfect state, cave to temptations and commit evil naturally. God restrains the amount of evil in the world but not completely.
We are allowed to see evil and thus we see God’s common grace over evil doers. Being able to determine evil shows that we have an understanding of an absolute universal standard of good. In allowing the evil, God then reveals things which trumps evil, like grace, forgiveness, mercy, and sacrificial love; which would not be known otherwise. Lastly, because mankind universally recognizes the existence of evil and the absolute good standard; the need for satisfactory righteous justice is also seen. But as we consider justice, we come to know that we all have sinned against a eternal God and our consequences are all eternal in value. The Gospel Message is the solution to this all. It offers understanding, salvation, restoration, and hope in the face of evil.
Also read By Christ’s Work Alone
We pray for the victims and everyone involved who experienced evil in the Orlando shooting. We pray that they find hope in the goodness of God and peace in his son Jesus Christ and not in anything in this world or in the flesh. We pray that the evil, God has allowed them to see, has also lead them to see the true love of God in the absolute free will of mankind and that they desire to be forgiving, gracious, merciful, and unconditionally sacrificially loving.
To anyone who has experienced true evil in this world; God is the perfect judge and will exert his perfect and just judgment over all the evils for all eternity. But remember, God is the one who hands down the judgements; not us. We just proclaim what he has already made known. He has declared what is evil through the law and has made known the just consequences required. He also made available to all people salvation from the consequences.
God did not create, cause, or is responsible for evil; the heart of man is. But God offers a greater solution to evil than any society our worldly court could ever bring; this is only found in the person and works of Jesus Christ.
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