Why do bad things happen, even despicable, horrid, vile things happen to the innocents? It’s either God can’t deal with it (which makes Him not God) or He can and He won’t (meaning He is not love because love does not stand by and let evil happen). Our instinct is to get on the defensive or live in denial and say neither.
But what comes to mind is that He won’t. Don’t stone me yet. God won’t stop all the evil from happening. But this does not automatically mean that He is not love. That is our automatic assumption because of how we define love.
Love wants the best and not a temporary fix. Fix means there is something wrong. That something is sin. We often mistake the symptoms of sin as sin itself.
Now, what would be the best way to deal with sin?
We often think the best solution is to eradicate the sinner. Nip it in the bud. While this is a great fix in the meantime it does not have lasting results in all cases, especially when the problem is a condition that has taken the whole body and so will arise in another member eventually.
We underestimate just how deep of a problem sin is. And so we think God is supposed to snap a finger to solve the problem. We think He is failing to do what is best.
What would have been best is that sin would not have come at all. But sin is the choice to turn from what is best (the will of God). And we took that choice. Now God is to remain love (just and merciful) and still save the children who want a way back.
The best is to now show what sin is, contrast it with what love is so that sin will not be the choice ever again. The whole universe seeing exactly what the results are. And love will be the choice.
This is not a quick fix situation. Jesus (One equal with God) living here, dying on the cross and rising from the grave to now intercede for us shows that sin is no small problem. It required all of heaven to be poured out in the person of Jesus Christ to save us from sin.
Sin is not only the opposite of love but the perversion of it.
If you ate something really nice and then the next time you ate it, someone put something poisonous in there and you collapsed and went in to a coma because of this and then someone came over after your miraculous recovery and brought that same great dish. And said, “Have a bite”. Would you dig in?
And this is the problem. God is trying to let the whole universe see that love is the only Way. Love is that great dish, it always has been. But all this evil that is now here? An enemy has done this. The enemy has perverted this. But God will not eradicate love (His character), lest He destroy the safety of the entire creation.
So God could have just gotten rid of the enemy but we have seen how martyrs (even of violent uprisings and ignoble causes) are made to be the heroes. Sin would only have been further propogated and the thought will always be “maybe the martyr was right.” God’s aim is not to heal symptoms but to root out sin and have it never rise again.
Now, God could just say that sin (going out of His will) is bad. Knowing that He is right would be enough if He was like us. I Am God and that is that. But God wants transparency, full disclosure (and it is necessary). That while He could easily just say, “Trust Me”. He wants all to see that He is worth trusting and that sin will not worth rising a second time. Who – after all that we have been through as a race, even just this far – will honestly say, “maybe sin is the right way”? Very few. And by the end of this entire case, nobody will say sin is the right way at all.
For every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God is worthy to sit on the throne of the universe. He is just, merciful and love. And that eternal destruction (i.e forever wiped out, not forever torment) will be the most merciful thing for those who do not want to be around Love.
So not that He can’t. He won’t. Not because He is evil but because He is love. By love, He must.
And while love can ease suffering and give relief, the final aim of love is restoration. This requires for sin to be seen for what it is and love to be seen for who He is and we must choose.