Written by Pastor Nick and Jo Lembo
A question asked by many Christians who care deeply about others, especially for the vulnerable and the oppressed is, “Why doesn’t God stop evil people who hurt children?”
It seems there is a conflict between what we believe about our loving God (who knows us personally and gave His only Son to die so that we could have eternal life) and one who appears to be a passive all-powerful God who doesn’t step in, as if he does not care about what is happening to humans on this earth. Why would Jesus need to be “interceding at the right hand of the Father” if it’s God’s job to stop all evil on the earth? (Romans 8:34)
God’s ultimate goal is to be our Father and Friend, and through this relationship allow us to partner with Him in overseeing our home, planet earth. That is the plan He began in Genesis, and it is what Christ restored at the cross. If God had wanted more creatures just to serve Him, He could’ve made a billion more angels. His first desire is for family, as He created us in His image and likeness, and breathed His very Spirit and nature into us.
“I’ve given you everything to enjoy, but I ask you this one thing: Please don’t eat of this tree.”
The answer to the question lies in the Garden where the first man and women were breathed into life by the eternal, loving God who wanted to have a creation to know Him and love Him back. He gave them an entire Garden to love and enjoy, and gave them one choice to show their love and appreciation back to Him. “I’ve given you everything to enjoy, but I ask you this one thing: Please don’t eat of this tree.” You know the rest of the story. Humans chose to disregard God’s heartfelt request, and they chose their own way. Humans chose to eat of tree of the knowledge of good and evil, rather than eating of every other tree that was given to them out of God’s heart of love. So they had to leave the Garden, or they would have lived forever and continued to sin without ever having a way back to relationship with God.
But God immediately stepped in with hope for them when He said, “Because the serpent has bruised your heel, you will toil to bring fruit from the earth, you will have pain in childbirth, but the seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head.” God then clothed them in animal skins to replace their own fig leaves because now they had shame where before they had never known they were naked. (A picture of how He would institute sheep and goat as sacrifices foreshadowing how His only Son would die for all of mankind) Now they knew good and evil whereas before they walked and talked with God every day in the Garden, and shared His heart and love, and fully trusted in Him alone. Remember, before the fall, this was done out of their own free will, choosing to be with Him, and thus fulfilling His heart desire in His creation, and reaping a life of pure peace.
The Passion Translation – Romans 1 explains what happened as a result:
21 “Throughout human history the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like. This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness.
28 And because they thought it was worthless to embrace the true knowledge of God, God gave them over to a worthless mind-set, to break all rules of proper conduct.” Romans 1:21, 28
The Bible is full of promises that show us how to find our way back to Him: to choose Him again, by giving up our own selfish desires, and becoming like Jesus, who gave up His life so that we might live forever with Him. The beauty of it is, it is always our choice. If God takes away humankind’s choice by intervening when others choose evil, then He is also taking away our choice to choose Him. His promise is to always be with us even through our own bad choices, and to walk with us through the hardships of the choices of a fallen and cursed world, where human beings choose to do unspeakably hurtful things to others.
This gives us the chance to choose Him every day where He restores, heals, cleanses, gives new life and new mercy every day. In that, His miraculous nature is demonstrated through us. This causes others to see His love and goodness and choose Him too.