This is a difficult one for Christians, at least those Christians who say that God is all-powerful and entirely good. If he’s all-powerful then surely he could stop bad things happening; things like earthquakes, plane crashes, grievous illness, mass murders. If he were all-good then wouldn’t he stop these things if he had the power to do so?
I had to mention this issue in my final essay of the year (just finished and sent off, hooray!). Obviously, it’s a massive question that many people have written whole books about, but I thought this little explanation from C. S. Lewis was wonderful. It’s from Mere Christianity, pages 47-48 and I’d love to know what you think. Elegant and clear, or simplistic rubbish?
‘God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right… If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.’