very often will raise one question above all others. The problem of evil:
that is, how a God that claims to be all-good can allow evil to exist.
They will bring up the holocaust in World War 2 and the killing fields of
Cambodia, or any instance of the plethora of evil that has shown its face
in our world and ask "how can your God, who claims to be both
omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing) allow this to
occur if he is also all-good?" That is the question: how can He? If one
were all-good and all-powerful, certainly he would end evil- he would
have to. To us, in our day and age, this is a no-brainer.
One need look no further than the recent uproar at Penn State, where an
iconic football-coach was fired because a former staffer was arrested
for sexually assaulting boys in the locker room over a period of years.
Joe Paterno was not involved, and he informed his bosses when he
found out -as the law required- but he did not call the police, and was
therefore guilty of breaking a “moral law” by allowing this to continue to
How much more, then, would an all-knowing and all-powerful God be
guilty of such crimes? Certainly, if he were omnipotent and omniscent he
could not be all-good and let this evil happen.
“In the beginning…” these are the first words of the Bible. They establish
not a book of science, noting facts and figures as some would have us
believe, nor a book of philosophy- although it certainly contains some of
that as well. However, the Bible is primarily a narrative, a story. From
this starting point, the Bible takes us on a journey through the ages,
ending at some point in the future in the book of Revelation.
To understand why God allows evil, one must put down the philosopher’s
pipe and clear their throat and tell a story. Not any old story, mind you,
but an epic story, for that is what the Bible is- the ultimate battle between
good and evil.
Before man had math and science, he had stories. We are created with
this love of the narrative, an innate love which no evolutionary
advancement has weaned us from. Only our technologies have
changed, moving from an oral tradition, to the printing press and now to
television, movies and the internet. No matter its venue, the art of story is
what makes us who we are and is passed on from generation to
What kind of book(s) would The Lord of the Rings be without the “black
lord of Mordor” or Harry Potter without “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”?
Any story worth its salt has a character of overwhelming evil who
contributes to an utterly hopeless situation; that is where the story is
born; it is a key element of good storytelling. J.R.R. Tolkien created the
world of Middle Earth, a beautiful and tragic land where millions of
readers get lost for days on end each time they read it. Does it make
him evil because he allowed evil to flourish in this land for most of the
book? Or, in reality, does it make him a master storyteller? If we are but
characters in God’s story, some of us may perish, like those in the
attack of Isengard, victims who fall before the great evil sweeping over
the land, but a few of us may play a larger role in furthering the story that
the Author has set before us.
If God does exist, as the Bible insists, then there is ample evidence that
he uses storytelling as his way of communicating to us (the Bible). There
is also ample evidence that man is universally predisposed to narrative
as a means of communication, since it exists in all known cultures
throughout history. Therefore, it stands as completely logical that God
can remain all-good and be both omnipotent and omniscient while
allowing evil to exist in this world because it furthers his eternal