Why He Permits It, How He Will Stop It
LONG ago a blameless and upright man underwent an ordeal he did not understand—loss of property and family, and painful disease. He doubtless felt like many today who, when afflicted, cry out, ‘Why me?’ He blamed God, declaring: “Almighty God has shot me with arrows, and their poison spreads through my body. . . . If only he would go ahead and kill me!” Later he cried out: “Take pity on me! The hand of God has struck me down.”—Job 6:4, 9; 19:21, Today’s English Version.
Faithful Job blamed God. A look into the courts of heaven, however, reveals the culprit. Before an assembly of angels Jehovah called Job to Satan’s attention, saying, “He worships me and is careful not to do anything evil.” Satan snapped back: “Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it? You have always protected him.” He then added: “But now suppose you take away everything he has—he will curse you to your face!” Also, “Suppose you hurt his body—he will curse you to your face!” This indicates that Satan had previously challenged that God could not have on earth persons who would remain faithful under test. In this instance, Satan claimed he had not been given the opportunity to test Job. So Jehovah said: “All right, he is in your power, but you are not to kill him.”—Job 1:6-11; 2:1-6, TEV.
So it was Satan that afflicted Job, by Jehovah’s permission. Job did not understand this and blamed God, but, nonetheless, kept integrity to him and proved Satan’s challenge false. (Job 2:7; 27:5; 31:6) Faithful persons down through time to our day have done likewise. (Heb. 11:1-39; Rev. 7:9, 10; 14:1, 4) Now, in these last days, the troubles intensify. Revelation 12:12 tells why: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” It is only Jehovah who can stop this invisible source of wickedness, and he will soon do so.—John 12:31; Rev. 20:1-3.
But what about the wickedness and suffering caused by human societies—corrupt politics, greedy commercialism, warmongering militarism? And incorrigible individuals that prey on others—how will their wrongdoing be halted? Sincere persons hating this wickedness have tried to stop it by laws, courts, prisons and rehabilitation programs—but with no success.
Face the Facts!
This hard fact emerges: To end wars, end warmongers. To end famine, end profiteers. To end pollution, end polluters. To end crime, end criminals and the conditions that spawn them. To end the immoralities that destroy families and breed disease, end the practicers of immorality. Six thousand years of reformers, social workers, politicians, policemen, peace organizations—all have failed. If the wicked refuse to reform, what solution is there but their removal? Can you safely have chickens with foxes in the hen house, or sheep with wolves in the flock? No more than you can have peace on earth with evildoers infesting it. God’s permission of wickedness will end by his removal of Satan and all others who insist on practicing it. The time allowed for Satan to prove his challenge is fast running out.—Ex. 9:16.
Actually, the trouble had its beginning with the first human pair. Jehovah God created the earth, put man in charge of it, told him to care for it and the plants and animals on it. Adam and Eve were given the divine guidelines—obey and live, disobey and die. Satan disputed this. Adam and Eve were free moral agents, could choose as they wished, and they followed Satan’s lead. Mankind has been misusing its freedom of choice ever since.
Freedom of Choice Today
The results of this misuse are apparent in the wickedness that surrounds us even now. By their own choice men have sown evil and reaped suffering. Have they learned the lessons of their miserable history? Have they observed the failure of all kinds of human governments, and realized the need for God’s kingdom under Christ? Have they noted the disastrous reaping of greedy men and nations that have polluted the earth and soaked its soil with innocent blood? Have they learned by bitter experience that in choosing materialism, immorality, crime and selfish ego trips millions have used their freedom of choice unwisely and have brought down upon their heads untold suffering and agony?
Has God’s permission of wickedness taught them to use their free will to choose Jehovah’s guidelines, to treat others as they want others to treat them, to love their neighbor as themselves, to keep integrity to God and gain his approval? The world’s condition answers, No! Has experiencing 6,000 years of war, famine, disease and death put many of the human race in a position to appreciate all the more the blessings available in a paradise earth under God’s kingdom? Hopefully so, for such blessings are God’s promise to obedient mankind. It is recorded at 2 Peter 3:13: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; rather, he desires all to repent, and mercifully he will accomplish his original purpose in creating the earth. He “did not create it simply for nothing”; he “formed it even to be inhabited” by people who of their own free will choose peace and tranquillity. He is not oblivious to those who are “sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done.” He knows that “all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.”—Isa. 45:18; Ezek. 9:4; 18:23; Rom. 2:4; 8:22; 2 Pet. 3:9.
And God will bring relief. He will answer their yearnings. He will fulfill his promise to sweep the earth clean of wickedness so that the meek and peaceful ones of mankind may have their heart’s desire:
“Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Ps. 37:10, 11, 29.