The Problem of Evil

by Alan Akers
The problem of sin and evil in our world has been a vexed one for philosophers and theologians down through the ages. If God is sovereign (he certainly is) and hates all sin and evil (he certainly does) then why doesn’t he intervene and remove it from us once and for all?

Jesus told his followers a parable that identifies the source of evil in our world and describes God’s chosen method of dealing with it.

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. Matthew 13: 24-26

Jesus gave his listeners this explanation:

The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. Matthew 13:37-39

We all know what we have to do with weeds in our gardens. We get rid of them, before they spread! In our story, one of the landowner’s servants suggests that they do this. The landowner thought otherwise: ‘No,’ he answered,

‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ Matthew 13:29, 30

What we see around us is evidence that God is sticking with his plan. We note:

  1. Evil is real; and while it is contrary to God’s plan and purpose for us all, it will remain a reality until the end of this age
  2. Our real enemy is the devil, who is the source of all evil around us
  3. There will come a time of judgment and separation. Justice will be delivered, wrongs made right, punishment and rewards administered appropriately.

At times we may wish God would change his mind and deal with sin and evil immediately. When should he do/have done this? We may recall a time when we were outside God’s will and his kingdom, and liable to his judgment had he acted to remove all evil at that time. We know today – and some of these are in our own families – those who currently live outside his will, and would therefore be on the wrong side of the separation he promises.

And so we pray:
Father, delay the day of your harvest, just a little longer. Give us the opportunity, and the boldness, to share your love and our concern for those who don’t know you, or have rejected your gift of salvation. Thank you for your grace and mercy, and your patience. Amen

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Song: “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)”

PDF Copy: Daily Reflection 22 June The Problem of Evil