Righteousness is a prerogative only of God. This, therefore, means that in Him, there is no and will never exist evil. Despite the diverse definitions of good, which also means righteous, and evil, it is widely agreed that these two concepts are in opposition. Goodness is meant to bring happiness and joy, while evil only leads to suffering, pain, and death. Theodicy presents God as an omnipotent supreme being who can destroy evil and the suffering that comes with it. The question that many philosophers and renowned scholars strive to answer is whether good and evil exist independently. The aim of this essay is to discuss the facts proving that God is a benevolent omnipotent supreme being who allows evil and suffering in order to express his justice and freedom for man as a source of his happiness.
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In order to relate the concept of God’s benevolence and his compromise of evil’s existence vividly, it is imperative to understand the justice of God. The level of true happiness, according to Christianity, is based on the nature and amount of rewards that proceed from God. Because He is kind and loving, those who do well are rewarded true happiness and they live well. In contrast, due to God’s provision of freedom of choice, some people will choose not to subscribe to the provisions of his goodness. According to the Bible, the fall of man made him prone to evil. The reward of evil is suffering. Therefore, according to Rabbi Glenn’s article, God rewards those who do the good and allows suffering to follow those who do not do the good.
God is benevolent according to the Bible, and views opposing this idea are few. God lavishes His welfare on all the creatures, both animals and humans that He made, although they may not deserve it. This welfare involves the boundaries, which He set and within which we move, live, and exercise our daily activities; going outside these boundaries will result into suffering. This benevolence is closely accompanied by freedom of the creatures to choose, and it is impressed upon every soul. Freedom provides a possibility of doing right or wrong, and none is restricted to only one side, as that will not mean freedom at all. Freedom points to God’s love and goodness, from which joy and happiness arise. Thus, God’s benevolence towards His creatures and the freedom He accords them are sufficient to prevent suffering. It then follows that since God himself is benevolent, evil arose from His creatures who did not utilize their freedom.
Another prerogative of God is His omnipotence: He can completely destroy evil at once without any resistance. However, since His love does not allow Him to treat His creatures like machines or robots, He allows them to exist and continue to live according to the free choices they make all the time, good or bad. The Bible describes good as light and evil as darkness. When light shines, darkness disappears; in the same manner where God’s goodness prevails, evil with its suffering will move away until the light is withdrawn. Hence, just as darkness cannot be destroyed but expelled by light, God’s presence in a creature expels evil and associated consequences. Man is unique from other creatures for his ability to choose between good and evil. According to the Bible, God will exercise His omnipotence to destroy evil and suffering at the end of the world after a comprehensive and fair judgment.
Evil refers to the violation or an intention to violate a given set of rules. Suffering or pain is normally a result of this violation. As much as God allows evil, He knows that suffering will follow. Suffering can be valuable because when persevered, it draws one to certain knowledge and insight - the strengths that an individual would have otherwise remained unrealized. Some pains in life, if approached with a right attitude, tend to pull those who are affected directly or indirectly from the nonsense that makes our daily life and lead our attention to the things of true life values. God allows pain so that if we rely on His guidance, He makes us wiser. Hence, we will be changed and determined to continue with life in the way God intends it to be. The suffering is not a punishment but a tool to bring back the errant members of creation back to Him, though there is a grace period. In the Bible, God’s chosen nation Israel enjoyed God’s blessings and well being as long as they followed God’s commandments. When they committed evil, God drew away from them, leaving them vulnerable to destruction by other nations such as the Philistines, drought and other pestilences. This suffering was basically meant to remind them that they were on the wrong track. When they repented of their evils, God revisited them and forgave, finishing evil among them, and finally showered them with His blessings. These blessings gave them happiness and joy again.
Existence of evil and suffering in the presence of the benevolent God has always met a sharp conflict of opinion, especially from the atheists who oppose his existence. From the discussion and teaching of Theodicy, God is omniscient, meaning He was present from the incompressible beginning, while evil only came into existence after God’s creation as a form of rebellion to His attributes. Although, evil causes suffering, God who is omnipotent does not destroy it. This is because through His love, He has given freedom to choose good or evil, if at all true happiness is desired. Therefore, God will live forever with His benevolence, while evil and its consequences, suffering and pain, will perish at the right time to show his omnipotence.
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