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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why Is There Evil In The World?

Why Is There Evil In The World?

God did NOT create evil. Everything that God creates is good, perfect, flawless. He created this earth, He created the universe, He created all living creatures, He created man and woman and He pronounced it all good.

Genesis 1:31 (Modern King James Version – MKJV) And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 2:1 And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made. And He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He had rested from all His work which God created to make.
In a recap, the author (thought to be Moses) goes back and gives more detail about how God made Man and Woman.
Genesis 2:7 And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:18 And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.
Genesis 2:21 And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh underneath.
Genesis 2:22 And Jehovah God made the rib (which He had taken from the man) into a woman. And He brought her to the man.

At this point, the universe, the earth, the creatures and plants on earth, and MAN and WOMAN were created by God and declared to be GOOD! Everything perfect in its kind, so that every creature might reach the goal appointed by the Creator, and accomplish the purpose of its existence. Good, for it was all just as the Creator would have it to be.

Psalm 104:24 (MKJV) O Jehovah, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your riches.

Let’s sit here a minute and think of what this means. Really, it is beyond our comprehension because sin has corrupted everything. But let’s try. Everything was created perfect and there was no death, no sickness, no disease, no killing, no thievery, no lying, no addictions, no pride, no power struggles, no greed or lust. It was perfect. It was paradise and mankind was perfect. Genesis says that God spoke everything into being, even the sun/moon/stars! But when it came to man, God used His Hands to form man of the dirt and then he breathed His very Life into the man! God’s ruah (pronounced roo-ah means breath, wind) breathed life into Adam and, later, Eve. God initiated all of this. God created it from His own divine ability and for His purpose. Then He breathed His very life and vitality into man. We were made in His Image and we have His breath of life in us! We are unique above all other of His creation.

We are created creatures, therefore, we are not God or gods. But we were made to be immortal. Our bodies would not grow old, die and decay. We had the full use and function of our brains, muscles, bones, organs, etc. And God created this earth perfectly. It was a paradise that was created by God for the purpose of man. Let’s look back at the recap in Genesis 2.

Genesis 2:5-15 (MKJV) And every shrub of the field was not yet on the earth, and every plant of the field had not yet sprung up, for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground. (6) But there went up from the earth a mist and watered all the face of the ground. (7) And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (8) And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden. And there He put the man whom He had formed. (9) And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (10) And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. And from there it was divided and became four heads. (11) The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which surrounds all the land of Havilah, where there is gold. (12) And the gold of that land is good. There is bdellium and the onyx stone. (13) And the name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Cush. (14) And the name of the third river is Tigris; it is that which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. (15) And Jehovah God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

From these verses we see that God created man before he populated the earth with plants and animals. Notice that it didn’t rain. Why? God had made a virtual bubble of protection around the earth. Let’s look at various translations of these verses to see that they basically say the same thing:

Genesis 1:6-10 (Contemporary English Version - CEV) God said, "I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it." (7) And that's what happened. God made the dome (8) and named it "Sky." Evening came and then morning--that was the second day. (9) God said, "I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground." And that's what happened. (10) God named the dry ground "Land," and he named the water "Ocean." God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:6-10 (Bible in Basic English – BBE) And God said, Let there be a solid arch stretching over the waters, parting the waters from the waters. (7) And God made the arch for a division between the waters which were under the arch and those which were over it: and it was so. (8) And God gave the arch the name of Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. (9) And God said, Let the waters under the heaven come together in one place, and let the dry land be seen: and it was so. (10) And God gave the dry land the name of Earth; and the waters together in their place were named Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:6-10 (Easy To Read Version – ERV) Then God said, "Let there be a space to separate the water into two parts!" (7) So God made the space and separated the water. Some of the water was above it, and some of the water was below it. (8) God named that space "sky." There was evening, and then there was morning. This was the second day. (9) Then God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered together so that the dry land will appear." And it happened. (10) God named the dry land "earth," and he named the water that was gathered together "seas." And God saw that this was good.

Genesis 1: 6-10 (Young’s Literal Translation – YLT) (6) And God saith, `Let an expanse be in the midst of the waters, and let it be separating between waters and waters.' (7) And God maketh the expanse, and it separateth between the waters which are under the expanse, and the waters which are above the expanse: and it is so. (8) And God calleth to the expanse `Heavens;' and there is an evening, and there is a morning--day second. (9) And God saith, `Let the waters under the heavens be collected unto one place, and let the dry land be seen:' and it is so. (10) And God calleth to the dry land `Earth,' and to the collection of the waters He hath called `Seas;' and God seeth that it is good.

So God created a dome or bubble around the earth creating a hot house environment. The dome was made from water so it was either ice or a water barrier. The earth was watered from a mist that arose from the ground: Genesis 2: 6 But there went up from the earth a mist and watered all the face of the ground. We were protected by this bubble. Imagine life in this protected environment. Things would grow lush. And with no death, things could continue to grow. Imagine animals, reptiles, birds and fish that never died and lived in a perfect, protected state? Could it not be why there were creatures we call dinosaurs? And it was the destruction of this bubble that caused the Great Flood and allowed rain for the first time. All the water fell to earth. Those huge creatures could not fit on an Ark so were killed in the Flood. And as sin brought death and the sun had full access to the earth, the life spans of men began to grow shorter and shorter. Adam lived for hundreds of years, but eventually, mankind began to live shorter lives until our lives of 80 or so years.

There were no thorns or thistles, no poison ivy, no animals would hunt mankind, etc. There was no killing because there was no death. That means that Adam and Eve didn’t slaughter animals for food. Animals didn’t kill each other for food.

Genesis 1:26-30 (MKJV) And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creepers creeping on the earth. (27) And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. (28) And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heavens, and all animals that move upon the earth. (29) And God said, Behold! I have given you every herb seeding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree seeding seed; to you it shall be for food. (30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to every creeper on the earth which has in it a living soul every green plant is for food; and it was so.

Genesis 2: 8-9 (MKJV) (8) And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden. And there He put the man whom He had formed. (9) And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.

So we were protected by the dome and we were given plants, vegetables, fruits, herbs to eat. Even the animals ate plant life. There were no meat eaters. Everything was vegetarian. And God created the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve to start their life.

Genesis 2:8-15 (MKJV) And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden. And there He put the man whom He had formed. (9) And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (10) And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. And from there it was divided and became four heads. (11) The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which surrounds all the land of Havilah, where there is gold. (12) And the gold of that land is good. There is bdellium and the onyx stone. (13) And the name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that surrounds the whole land of Cush. (14) And the name of the third river is Tigris; it is that which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. (15) And Jehovah God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

God created the perfect garden for Adam and Eve and then gave them dominion over it. All of it!

Genesis 1:27-28 (MKJV) And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. (28) And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heavens, and all animals that move upon the earth.

Isaiah 45:18 (MKJV) For so says Jehovah the Creator of the heavens, He is God, forming the earth and making it; He makes it stand, not creating it empty, but forming it to be inhabited. I am Jehovah, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:18 (BBE) For this is the word of the Lord who made the heavens; he is God; the maker and designer of the earth; who made it not to be a waste, but as a living-place for man: I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Therefore we see that God created the universe, the world, all that lives upon it and crowned His Creation by making a man and woman (Adam and Eve). The human beings God made were perfect and immortal. They had the full use of their brains, their bodies and their spirits and they had a job to do. It was perfectly tailored to their abilities and there was no office politics, no backstabbing, no exhausting days, on frustrations.

Genesis 1:27-28 (MKJV) And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. (28) And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heavens, and all animals that move upon the earth.

Psalms 8:4-9 (King James Version - KJV)
(4) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
(5) For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
(6) Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
(7) All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
(8) The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
(9) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

When God was finished, He declared it good. It was perfect, flawless, excellent, complete, exactly fitting the need, correct in every detail, pure. There was no sin, no evil, no death, no sickness. God had an intimate, daily, loving, perfect relationship with Adam and Eve.

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve had a pure relationship with God and each other. There was harmony and unity between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and their Creation, Adam and Eve. They walked with God in perfection. They were uninhibited in God’s Presence; there was no shame or guilt because there was no sin. They could freely communicate with Him with no fear in His Presence. As long as they walked in God’s divine order, they lived in tranquility; they were totally protected and at peace. What man is now, he was not intended to be at the time he was created! Never having lived a moment in this kind of peace and stability, this kind of love and perfection…. It’s hard for us to even imagine. It’s what we all long for, but have never experienced. We don’t know how long this lasted. Was it hours? Days? Weeks? Years? Decades? We are not told.

Adam and Eve were not ignorant, they were not machines or robots. God could have made beings that would robotically obey every command. But God evidently wanted beings who choose to love Him. We are creatures with a brain and intelligence so that we can make choices. God wanted us to choose to have a relationship with Him, to love and worship Him because we choose to, not because we are made to. It is mutually fulfilling when both parties want to be in a relationship with each other. We are the object of His love and He did everything to provide for His beloved people. It was up to Adam and Eve to either respond with love and delight or to reject and rebel against God. It was their choice. It’s what makes us unique among God’s Creation. We were singularly made by God and we have His Breath in us and we have a free will. We can say “Yes” or “No”. We can make a choice.

Then comes Genesis chapter 3, the Fall. Adam and Eve had never known evil, sin. In that way they were inexperienced. It’s one thing to hear God tell them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and another thing to understand what would happen. Despite being perfectly made, immortal and with their full faculties, they still aren’t God. They didn’t have anything to compare good with. What’s good if you don’t know what’s evil or bad? What was “death” to them? Never having experienced these things, they were seduced, persuaded, by satan to disobey God’s command. They had never been lied to before. They’d never faced deceit and manipulation before.

Genesis 2:16-17 (MKJV) And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, (17) but you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

Genesis 3:1-7 (MKJV) Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, Is it so that God has said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. (4) And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, (5) for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil. (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (7) And the eyes of both of them were opened. And they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made girdles for themselves.

Watch the progression:
* Satan is attractive, he gained Eve’s attention, she stops and listens to him.
* He questions her about the commandment of God. He begins by exaggerating the prohibition. "Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?"
* He awakes distrust in her. “Doubt is the father of sin”. Once the doubt takes hold, you will justify sinning in your mind and action soon follows.
* Her love and confidence towards God begins to waver at this point. Her reply adds an exaggeration that seems to indicate that she thinks the commandment is too harsh. Genesis 3:2 (CEV) "God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden, except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to touch it. If we do, we will die." She was aware of the prohibition.
* Next the serpent advances to a direct denial of the truth: Genesis 3:4 (CEV) "No, you won't!" the snake replied. He tried to lessen the consequences by subtly suggesting that God had only said that to scare them into obeying and that God would never really be so severe.
* Then he made it sound like God was withholding something from them. Genesis 3:5 (CEV) "God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does." The serpent was indicating God did not wish Adam and Eve to be like Himself out of jealousy. This was a lie. Satan told them they could gain a wisdom that only God enjoys. He aims to make them discontented with their present state, as if it were not so good as it might be, and should be. The denial of penalty, the promise of knowledge, and the prospect of independence were too tempting.
* Eve now focuses on the fruit and the desire for it takes over her mind. She wanted knowledge that only came by experience. God's Word wasn't good enough. She had to feel it: Genesis 3:6 (CEV) The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too.

1 John 2:15-16 (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible – LITV) Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, (16) because all that which is in the world: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The desire of the flesh: the tree was good for food.
The desire of the eye: It was pleasant to the sight.
The pride of life: it was a tree to be desired to make one wise.

Adam and Eve had been created with a functioning and fully formed brain so they were intelligent. They had the ability to increase in knowledge and to ask God anything. What a teacher they had!! So it shows the depths of the deception when they believed this fruit would give them something more than God would. Satan had twisted the truth into a lie. They would come to obtain a new knowledge – the knowledge of good and evil. And it was a knowledge that God preferred that they not know because it would end in their death. He wasn’t trying to hold out on them but to protect them. And they learned this new knowledge the hard way.

Their eyes were opened. This is a very humbling and sad statement. Something happened at the moment of their disobedience that caused them to understand what they had done. Suddenly they realized they had done something evil. They had disobeyed and rebelled against God. They now knew good and evil.

Their first reaction to this knowledge is guilt and shame. So they tried to cover it up. You can see the words, “cover up”, are as old as Adam and Eve. They literally try to cover themselves with fig leaves.

What fig leaves have you used to cover up your sin?

There is the basic fig leaf of lying about it.
“I didn’t do it.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“It wasn’t me.”

Then there is the fig leaf of justification.
“I deserve a little fun.” (“fun” being whatever it is you want to do)
“Only the good die young.”
“It’s not hurting anybody so why not?”
“I have the right to do whatever I want to do.”
“It’s no big deal.”
“Nobody is going to tell me what to do.”
“I’m a good person so what’s the big deal if I let my hair down a little here and there?”

There is the fig leaf of trying to hide your sin. Keeping secrets; having two sets of books (bookkeeping ploys to hide embezzlement); erasing evidence from your smart phone/computer/email accounts; etc.

These are a few of the most common fig leaves. Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin. But God knows all things. He knew what was coming and when it happened. You see, sin is not a surprise to God. He knew that Adam and Eve would eventually choose sin. They didn't really know God. They couldn’t have believed God would withhold what was best for them if they had really known Him. But they didn’t have any former experience with evil so they had no experiential knowledge and understanding of the difference between good and evil. Their knowledge of God was very limited. Since they didn't know what bad was, they had no way to compare how good God was.

God did not create evil and sin. God created everything perfectly. But He did know the end result. He knew He would have to send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in order to save us from our sins. Why did He allow any of this to happen? Could it be so we would choose Him with the full knowledge of what we were choosing?

Just think about a human situation that may mirror the big picture. A child is born “with a silver spoon”. His parents were wealthy and loving. They did everything they knew to do to give him a good, easy life. The son has no comprehension of how lucky he is and often takes advantage of his parents. As he grows up he really has no idea how the other half has to live. He has no experience of real life and having to live with the consequences of his bad behavior. He’s spoiled. He doesn’t have to work, he doesn’t have to do without.

What kind of person does this child grow up to be? An adult spoiled rotten brat. Because he has no experience with consequences, he makes one bad decision after another and can’t understand why life is hard and people don’t like him. Mom and Dad always took care of these things when he was little and he never had to be responsible. Now that he’s an adult he doesn’t know how to be responsible, doesn’t have the inner fortitude to live on his own. He starts and stops every new thing on his own whim and never sticks with anything because once things get hard, he quits. He doesn’t have work ethics so he goes from one job to another always blaming someone else for his losses. He has no friends because he’s so selfish and condescending that no one can stand him. He can start a relationship but it soon sours when the other person realizes that it’s all about him and he’s impossible to please and he has no concept of cooperation or compromise. He loses interest when he figures out the other person doesn’t meet his unrealistic expectations, and doesn’t fulfill his every need.

The end result is a lonely, angry, selfish, emotional cripple. His parents provided all they knew to give, loved him to the best of their ability, did everything to make his life easy and protected him. But without some hardships in life to overcome, their son would become emotionally handicapped. Is it possible that the same thing could be said of all humanity?

As long as we don’t know good and evil, we don’t know how good God is. We won’t be thankful if we don’t know what we have to be thankful for. God loves us. We return that love because we’ve experienced life without it; being separated from God. But God sacrificed His own Son in order to save us and bring us back into fellowship with Him. This time because we choose Him instead of choosing sin. And the worse the sinner, the deeper they love God when they have been forgiven and shown God’s love. When we choose to respond to God’s offer of love and forgiveness, we are cleansed of all our sins. Jesus did that for us! He paid the price! Oh, how much I love Him who has willingly laid down His life for me; who has forgiven me and accepted me back as His child! I was destined for a sinful, miserable life on this earth and an eternity in hell but Jesus Christ came to save me! Once I was presented this good news, I grabbed it! I wanted to be saved and spend eternity in paradise with God! I CHOSE Him!

Luke 7:37-38 (CEV, parenthesis are mine) When a sinful woman in that town found out that Jesus was there, she bought an expensive bottle of perfume. (38) Then she came and stood behind Jesus. She cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them. (this was worship based on her gratitude)
Luke 7:47 So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love."

Now I am free from the bondage of sin. I have been forgiven and set free. I have been guaranteed eternity in Heaven with God. As He loves me, I can now respond in love and the circle of love grows deeper. He loves me therefore I love him and He loves me and I love Him more and so it grows!

But we still live in a fallen world filled with sinners who either won’t accept God’s offer of salvation or who haven’t yet reached the point of accepting salvation through Jesus Christ. God knows who will and will not accept Him. He knows who will still choose to disobey or who will choose God. There are no surprises to Him. You and I don’t know who will or will not accept Jesus as their Savior, but God knows.

When satan fell because of his sin of pride, he took 1/3 of the angels with him and they fell to earth. Currently he is considered the prince of this world. The world is in a fallen state which is why there are hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, etc. When Adam and Eve disobeyed, it not only brought sin and death into their lives, but the earth suffered too and will continue to suffer until God says it’s over. For purposes of His own, God has allowed satan to work in the world during this time but there will come a time when God will finally kick satan out and and a new Heaven and new Earth will descend and all of us, who have accepted Him as our Savior and Master, will get to live in the new Earth with God.

Mark 13:23-27 (CEV) But be on your guard! That's why I am telling you these things now. (24) In those days, right after that time of suffering, "The sun will become dark, and the moon will no longer shine. (25) The stars will fall, and the powers in the sky will be shaken." (26) Then the Son of Man will be seen coming in the clouds with great power and glory. (27) He will send his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the earth.

Mark 13:31-35 (CEV) The sky and the earth will not last forever, but my words will. (32) No one knows the day or the time. The angels in heaven don't know, and the Son himself doesn't know. Only the Father knows. (33) So watch out and be ready! You don't know when the time will come. (34) It is like what happens when a man goes away for a while and places his servants in charge of everything. He tells each of them what to do, and he orders the guard to keep alert. (35) So be alert! You don't know when the master of the house will come back. It could be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or in the morning.

Ephesians 1:10 (CEV) Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth.

Revelation 20:9-15 (CEV) and they will march all the way across the earth. They will surround the camp of God's people and the city that his people love. But fire will come down from heaven and destroy the whole army. (10) Then the devil who fooled them will be thrown into the lake of fire and burning sulfur. He will be there with the beast and the false prophet, and they will be in pain day and night forever and ever. (11) I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. Earth and heaven tried to run away, but there was no place for them to go. (12) I also saw all the dead people standing in front of that throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been. Several books were opened, and then the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done. (13) The sea gave up the dead people who were in it, and death and its kingdom also gave up their dead. Then everyone was judged by what they had done. (14) Afterwards, death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) Anyone whose name wasn't written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:1-7 (CEV) I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. (2) Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband. (3) I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God's home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. (4) He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. (5) Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. (6) Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. (7) All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Now we have the basics, let’s look at our original question, “Why is there evil in the world?” Why do people suffer? Why does God allow bad things to happen?

We see that the root cause of all suffering is sin and this sin was not created by God. It was a choice that Adam and Eve made. When they disobeyed God by eating the fruit, not only did it affect them but it touched every human being that would be born of them. That sinful nature is passed on to all generations of mankind. I was born with it and so are you. There is nothing we can do about it. We are born with it. It’s in our blood, if you will. Not only are we born with that sinful nature but we act on that sinful nature as soon as we can, which means we sin. Even children can sin because you and I both know that they can be selfish and spoiled even at a very early age. It’s who we are. And if nothing stops us, we will continue to sin throughout our life, digging our hole ever deeper. There is no sinless person. You may think you are a good person and have no need for salvation but just looking at the basic Ten Commandments shows us we have all sinned and fallen short. Who hasn’t told a lie or deceived? Who hasn’t coveted or lusted? Who hasn’t had a bad thought? Who has loved God over and above all other people or things 24/7? Who hasn’t taken a Sunday to work and put in some overtime? Who hasn’t wanted to kill the annoying person who is getting on our last nerve? No, we’ve all been born with a sinful nature and we’ve all actively sinned. So we are all in need of a Savior.

And the consequences of sin are bondage, misery and death.
2 Peter 2:19 (CEV) They promise freedom to everyone. But they are merely slaves of filthy living, because people are slaves of whatever controls them.

Galatians 5:1 (ERV) We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong in that freedom. Don't go back into slavery again.

Psalm 32:1-5 (ERV) A maskil of David. It is a great blessing when people are forgiven for the wrongs they have done, when their sins are erased. (2) It is a great blessing when the LORD says they are not guilty, when they don't try to hide their sins. (3) Lord, I prayed to you again and again, but I did not talk about my sins. So I only became weaker and more miserable. (4) Every day you made life harder for me. I became like a dry land in the hot summertime. Selah (5) But then I decided to confess my sins to the LORD. I stopped hiding my guilt and told you about my sins. And you forgave them all! Selah

Romans 6:20-23 (CEV) When you were slaves of sin, you didn't have to please God. (21) But what good did you receive from the things you did? All you have to show for them is your shame, and they lead to death. (22) Now you have been set free from sin, and you are God's slaves. This will make you holy and will lead you to eternal life. (23) Sin pays off with death. But God's gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Verse 23 again in KJV, “The wages of sin are death”

While the earth is in a fallen state and while there are sinners in the world, then we can expect evil as consequences of sin. There will be people who murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, hate, gossip, backstab, curse, participate in every kind of perversion, get drunk or high, and act in any kind of selfish, destructive behavior they can think of.

They can expect the consequences and those consequences aren’t fun. Getting sexually transmitted diseases, getting pregnant with unwanted children, becoming an addict, etc. So much of the bad that happens in this world can be attributed to sin, whether it’s your sin and you are reaping the consequences or the sin of someone else and you are a victim of the consequences.

For instance, someone gets drunk and gets behind the wheel of a car and has an accident that kills a young mother and her child. Or your spouse becomes an addict and steals every bit of money and valuables to feed his habit, leaving you and your children in want.

God is merciful and tries to use all these situations to try and bring those involved into thinking about God and their need of salvation. Some will respond and many will ignore the calling and continue in their sin. The Holy Spirit has been sent into this world to knock on the door of our heart and present the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. We can gratefully let Him in and be saved or we can slam the door in His face. He will continue to knock until your last dying breath. After death, you are beyond salvation.

So if we smoke, can we be surprised if we get lung cancer? If we get drunk, can we be surprised when a man has taken advantage of us and raped us? If we sell drugs, can we be surprised when we get caught and thrown into prison? Those things are the direct results of our own choices and actions. God can redeem the situation by using it to bring us to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ but we may still have consequences.

But there are many things that happen to those we consider innocent. Why do children get diseases? Why are some born with birth defects? Why are there accidents that maim or kill people? Were they reaping the consequences of their sin? Although we are all sinners and born with a sinful nature, some things are not a result of sin. They are a result of living in a sinful world. I.e., life just happens. A spark occurs and it burns someone’s home down. A child chases a ball into the street, right in front of a car. It’s really no one’s fault. It’s not because someone did something purposefully; it’s life; it’s an accident. It occurs because this is a fallen world and we all are dying and will die. Our bodies decay, we lose loved ones, we experience pain and suffering. It’s the nature of living in this fallen world where satan still reigns.

Satan wants to hurt us because we are God’s creation. He wants to hurt God through us. As many as he can deceive so they are lost for eternity... this is his bread and butter. And any way he can hurt those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior is the jam on top. He is constantly trying to hurt us. He wants to see us live a life of defeat. We are saved, the Holy Spirit lives within us and our eternity is secure. But we can still bleed. We can still get depressed. We can still hurt and feel overwhelmed. We are weak in our humanness. God wants us to look to Him, to be sustained through Him, to receive His help and provision. But too often we get too bogged down in our misery to see straight. Eventually, we will look up and see Him and we will be able to give Him the burden so He can take care of it. But for awhile, we can be pretty miserable.

Why does God allow it? Can’t He just put a fence around us and tell satan to back off? Change your perspective. God is intimately concerned with each of His Children. He has taken care of satan. Satan’s eternity is already determined. God loves us and He has the power to take care of us. But He also knows us so well that He knows what we need to become the person He designed us to be.

God can and will use every circumstance in our life to make us a better person if we will let Him. Our problems can make us into better people or bitter people. Again, with the choices! Even if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we can choose whether to let things in our life destroy our peace and weaken us or use them to make us stronger and give us a deeper peace. It’s all a matter of choice. Do we choose to look to God and depend on Him or do we struggle along in our mess by ourselves?

Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Of course, everyone flinches or doubles up when we get a gut punch. I doubt there really is a person who can stand a gut punch without any reaction. So we may double up in a fetal position and cry for awhile, but we are God’s Children and He is there for us. We eventually will look for Him and find He’s been right there. I know, I’ve experienced it. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I feel like I’m drowning in a flood but I will begin to put my foot down and feel around for the Rock. And there He is. I am standing on a Rock and with that knowledge comes a receding of the flood waters.

And, finally, there are things that happen where we can find no answer. Like Job, we cannot see an answer to the question, “Why?” And when we ask God, we may get the same answer Job got. God is sovereign. All things are in His Hands and we are not God, therefore we cannot understand. Just think of the impossible complexities He is overseeing at any given moment. From the explosion of a star to the splitting of a cell; from the birth of a first child to the salvation of a little boy at an altar. Our puny brains cannot comprehend the whole picture. We may want to, but if God divulged even 1/10th of His knowledge and understanding, our brains would probably fry. He will divulge what we can handle but He keeps His plans to Himself when He wants to. So sometimes, we are called to trust Him in faith, without knowing the whole picture. What we can know is that He loves us and is working for our best interests in all things. We are never alone, never forgotten.

Let’s finish to see how God provided for Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:8-24 (ERV) During the cool part of the day, the LORD God was walking in the garden. The man and the woman heard him, and they hid among the trees in the garden. (9) The LORD God called to the man and said, "Where are you?" (10) The man said, "I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid. I was naked, so I hid." (11) God said to the man, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from that special tree? I told you not to eat from that tree!" (12) The man said, "The woman you put here with me gave me fruit from that tree. So I ate it." (13) Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What have you done?" She said, "The snake tricked me, so I ate the fruit." (14) So the LORD God said to the snake, "You did this very bad thing, so bad things will happen to you. It will be worse for you than for any other animal. You must crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. (15) I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your children and her children will be enemies. You will bite her child's foot, but he will crush your head." (16) Then God said to the woman, "I will cause you to have much trouble when you are pregnant. And when you give birth to children, you will have much pain. You will want your husband very much, but he will rule over you." (17) Then God said to the man, "I commanded you not to eat from that tree. But you listened to your wife and ate from it. So I will curse the ground because of you. You will have to work hard all your life for the food the ground produces. (18) The ground will grow thorns and weeds for you. And you will have to eat the plants that grow wild in the fields. (19) You will work hard for your food, until your face is covered with sweat. You will work hard until the day you die, and then you will become dust again. I used dust to make you, and when you die, you will become dust again." (20) Adam named his wife Eve. He gave her this name because Eve would be the mother of everyone who ever lived. (21) The LORD God used animal skins and made some clothes for the man and his wife. Then he put the clothes on them. (22) The LORD God said, "Look, the man has become like us--he knows about good and evil. And now the man might take the fruit from the tree of life. If the man eats that fruit, he will live forever." (23) So the LORD God forced the man out of the Garden of Eden to work the ground he was made from. (24) God forced the man to leave the garden. Then he put Cherub angels and a sword of fire at the entrance to the garden to protect it. The sword flashed around and around, guarding the way to the tree of life.

God knew what had happened. He knew it would happen. He had a plan. But He asks Adam and Eve a question in order to get them to think about what they had done. "Where are you?" The man said, "I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid. I was naked, so I hid." Notice he just says he realized he was naked and was afraid, not “I disobeyed and was afraid.”

Next, “What have you done?” Unfortunately, instead of being honest and repenting, Eve points the finger at the serpent and Adam points the finger at Eve. A lot of blame going around. The woman is no longer friends with the snake. The results were God cursed the snake. Notice how God says “I will make you and the woman enemies of each other”? Why are there people who have snake “pets”? Hmmmmm.

But here, satan is degraded to the lowest of the low animals and doomed to defeat. There will be enmity between satan and the seed of the woman which means all of mankind but specifically, Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus was perfect human and perfect God, the only God man. Jesus would be the Savior of mankind while satan is the enemy of God and all of His Creation, mankind and specifically, Jesus Christ.

Then God makes another prophecy, “You will bite her child's foot, but he will crush your head.” This is a prophecy about Jesus Christ and how satan would be allowed to harm Jesus “bite her child’s foot” but it was a wound that He could recover from. On the other hand, “but he will crush your head." Jesus will deliver a death blow, a mortal wound, to satan.

God then tells the woman that she will suffer in child bearing and child rearing. Despite the pain of childbirth, women would still love their husband and desire him. She would also see her children grow up and there would be tears and heartache as her children grow up and go off on their own. Even a loving, obedient child will get hurt at some point in their life. But often, children are rebellious just like Adam and Eve were rebellious to God. And that is painful for a parent, especially the woman who grew that child inside herself and birth that child. She would experience what God was feeling… the love and the hurts and frustrations. Despite all this, she would still desire her husband and still desire to have his children.

The woman had taken the lead in the transgression now the man is over her in authority. That doesn’t mean a man should treat his wife with anything less than respect. She was also made in God’s image and is beloved of God. She also has God’s breath of life in her. But there would be an order of authority. It is God’s intention that the man be responsible for his wife and children. To represent them to God in prayer and to represent God to them with a loving example. This is a whole other study, but just keep in mind that a man has a great responsibility to care for, love and respect his wife and children.

To go on, God then turns to the man and reminds Adam that He had told him NOT to eat from that tree. Adam had had a direct command from God. Adam had the responsibility of (dominion over) taking care of God’s Creation, the earth and it’s inhabitants, as well as, Eve. But Adam had failed to guard the good creation of God from the invasion of the evil one. He had even participated in the sin.

Adam had gotten the command directly from God. Eve was deceived but Adam knew what he was doing. (LITV) “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat from it, the ground shall be cursed because of you; you shall eat of it in sorrow all the days of your life. (18) And it shall bring forth thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat the plant of the field. (19) By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until your return to the ground. For you have been taken out of it; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Not man, but the ground for man’s sake, was cursed. Before, there were no thorns or thistles. Fruits and vegetables grew without requiring hard work on his part. There was no hard ground, no weeds, no drought but now it would require hard work in order to provide for himself and his family. First the cursing of the ground, and secondly death, which affects the woman as well, on account of their common guilt. By breaking God’s command, he had set himself above his Maker, death would therefore show him the worthlessness of his own nature. “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. God had told Adam what would happen and now it happened. Considering how full of trouble man’s days are, it is a blessing to him that our years are few. God entrusted Adam with immortality; but he foolishly blew it out by wilful sin: and now death is the wages of sin. Why didn’t Adam and Eve drop dead right then? God allowed them time for repentance and God wanted Adam and Eve to have children. “Be fruitful and multiply”. And, of course, through a woman, Jesus would be born.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Here is the first instance of death. God had to kill animals to get their skins to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness. Their nakedness represented their shame in disobeying God and choosing sin. That sin had to be covered. They were covered by God’s sacrificing animals for their skin. Many years later, God would tell the Israelites to sacrifice animals to cover the sin of God’s people. Many more years later, God gave His own Son, Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed so that His blood could cover our sins once and for all. There is no longer a need for sacrifices to be made in the Temple as the perfect sacrifice was given by Jesus giving His life for us. We are now forgiven and our sins are paid for.

It was probably at this time God showed Adam and Eve how to correctly approach God with a blood sacrifice to cover their sins. Later, Cain and Able, went to worship God. Able gave a blood sacrifice and Cain did not. He tried to give fruits and vegetables. God was not pleased. Instead of repenting and bringing a blood sacrifice as required, he got mad and killed Able. Displaced anger. Cain was willful, rebellious, and wanted to make his own terms instead of obeying God.

Genesis 3:22-24 (ERV) The LORD God said, "Look, the man has become like us--he knows about good and evil. And now the man might take the fruit from the tree of life. If the man eats that fruit, he will live forever." (23) So the LORD God forced the man out of the Garden of Eden to work the ground he was made from. (24) God forced the man to leave the garden. Then he put Cherub angels and a sword of fire at the entrance to the garden to protect it. The sword flashed around and around, guarding the way to the tree of life.

And here is the end. Why did God force Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden? Because if they had eaten of the Tree of Life, they would have lived forever in sin. It was absolutely necessary for Jesus to DIE for our sins. We could not have been saved if we had lived forever in our sins and if Jesus had not been able to die for us. It was His humanness that died to save human beings. So it was for our good and to protect God’s plan of salvation that Adam and Eve were forced out. God even put an angel with a flaming sword to protect the place of the Tree of Life so no one could get to it to eat from it.

This shows us how much God loves us. He was willing to give His Son to save us, to die a horrible death to set us free. It was His plan all along and is why we call it the Plan of Salvation, the Good News, the Gospel.

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