He Could Stop It, But What If He Did?
DO THOSE who criticize God for permitting wickedness really want it stopped? Whose wickedness do they want stopped? Theirs, or only that of others? What if God stopped lung cancer by snatching the cigarettes from their fingers? Or cirrhosis of the liver by emptying their cocktail glasses into the sink? Or venereal diseases by separating fornicators? Is this acceptable to them, or would they scream in protest at this interference with their freedom of choice?
Maybe they are unanimous in favoring God’s knocking the guns from the hands of robbers. But what about their white-collar and blue-collar crime, which involves far greater sums of money? Would they favor God’s depositing them in the boss’ office with their loot in their hands? Is it all stealing that they want stopped, or just certain kinds?
Would they rejoice if God closed down the factories that flagrantly pollute and cause sickness and death, if it included the factory where they work and get a paycheck? They lament the wickedness of war, but would they approve the end of armament industries that would ruin the economy? And what if God divided their food with the hungry and their wealth with the poor?
How far, really, do they want God to go in ending wickedness? Maybe it is not wickedness, after all, that they want eliminated. Maybe it is only the elimination of the penalties for wickedness, the consequences of it. Is it sexual promiscuity without venereal disease that they want? Heavy drinking without liver trouble? Tobacco smoking without lung cancer? Marijuana highs without brain damage? Do they want to sow evil without reaping its harvest? It does not work that way—no more than apples can be plucked from weeds, or grapes gathered from thistles.
When True Feelings Surface
The willingness to do wickedly, if the penalties can be avoided, is shown when disasters strain police action and stealing can be done with impunity. Floods or fires that cause residential areas to be evacuated, or power outages that plunge cities into darkness, bring out the looters, and homes and stores are stripped of valuables. It is as the Bible says: “Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad.”—Eccl. 8:11.
Men have tried to stop some evil by laws, courts, prisons and rehabilitation, but they admit failure. Much evil, however, is practiced and there is no desire on the part of many people to halt it. But they criticize God for permitting it, and if he stopped it they would decry his interference with their freedom to practice it. Either way, they berate God.
Nevertheless, in all of this Jehovah God’s purpose is being served, as lovers of righteousness will come to realize.