“Why Does God Permit Wickedness?”
Many Persons Ask, “If There Is a God, Why . . .”
MANY persons ask questions prefaced with the words, “If there is a God, why . . .” Some of such questioners are merely wanting to ridicule those who believe in the existence of God. However, many others are deeply disturbed and are searching for answers to bolster their faltering faith. Probably the most frequently recurring question of this kind is, “If there is a God, why does he permit wickedness?”
It is true that God permits it. But there are many people on earth who not only permit it; they also perpetrate it. They declare wars; drop bombs on women and children; scorch the earth, causing famines; and spread sickness and death by polluting air and water and soil—both in wartime and in peacetime. Not only do they foster wickedness internationally and nationally, but they also inflict hardship on themselves individually.
They overeat and become obese, overdrink and get cirrhosis of the liver, smoke and suffer lung cancer, practice adultery and sodomy and contract venereal diseases, drive recklessly and kill scores of thousands annually, greedily pursue money and possessions and, in so doing, create stresses that cause ulcers and heart attacks—on and on the list continues.
WHAT DO THEY REALLY WANT?
Such persons do not really want the elimination of wickedness; they want only the elimination of the penalties for wickedness. They want promiscuity without venereal disease, smoking without lung cancer, heavy drinking without liver trouble, reckless driving without accidents, and so forth. They want to sow evil but not reap it. They want to pluck apples from weeds and gather grapes from thistles.
Then, when they do reap the woeful harvest of their wicked sowing, they moan and groan and raise the bitter lament: ‘Why me, God? Why me?’ But why not? “Whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) Their reaction is exactly as Jehovah foreknew it would be: “A man’s own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the LORD.”—Prov. 19:3, The New English Bible.
Jehovah God condemns sins and excesses. Millions berate God for permitting wickedness, but the bulk of their woes stems from their flouting of his commands. Since they permit the wickedness and perpetuate it, why should not God think that they prefer it? And if God did stop it, if he reached down to take the cigarettes from their mouths, or the highballs from their hands, or to separate the fornicators, or to slow their cars down from 75 miles an hour to 55 (120 kilometers to 90), would they not set up a great howl that their freedoms were being curtailed? If he permits it he is denounced; if he stops it he is denounced.
The time is coming when Jehovah will stop it by removing the wicked:
“The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”—Prov. 2:21, 22.
Some may decry this action by God as cruel, but how else will wickedness be stopped? By rehabilitation? Society has spent millions trying this. The programs fail. Criminals turned loose from prison lapse into their old ways. They soon claim more victims. If the wicked refuse to reform, what is the solution? Can you have a rose garden in a weed patch, or chickens with foxes in the hen house, or a peaceful paradise with vandals running loose?
JEHOVAH’S REASON FOR PERMITTING WICKEDNESS
Jehovah God created humankind to be caretakers of a paradise earth. He did not make them robots, but gave them freedom of choice. Would they choose to care for the earth in keeping with God’s purpose? Satan said that they would not, and challenged God with the boast that he could turn all men against God. Jehovah accepted the challenge. Time was required to settle the issue.
That this issue had been raised is shown relative to Job. Jehovah called Satan’s attention to Job, saying: “He worships me and is careful not to do anything evil.” Satan retorted: “Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it? You have always protected him.” Jehovah then permitted Satan to afflict Job, to try to break his integrity. Job’s wife thought that she discerned the cause of her husband’s troubles and chided him: “You are still as faithful as ever, aren’t you? Why don’t you curse God and die?” But Job kept integrity, proved Satan false, and was blessed by God.—Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10; 42:12, Today’s English Version.
Have you parents ever entrusted some possession or responsibility to your sons or daughters, to see whether they were capable of meriting even greater trusts? So Jehovah God is testing humankind, to see which individuals are to be trusted to care for the paradise earth under Christ’s kingdom. He permits wickedness now for a purpose, but he does not cause it. Some calamities come by chance: “Time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.” (Eccl. 9:11) Other calamities come as a result of human foolishness. “God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his own devising.” (Eccl. 7:29, Jerusalem Bible) Still others are brought about by Satan in his endeavor to turn all persons against God, knowing that they will blame God instead of him, knowing that many do not even believe that he, Satan, exists.—Rev. 12:12.
There is a God, and he has reasons for permitting wickedness. But his time for stopping it is not far off.