How Can God Be All-Powerful in an Evil World?

1 Kings 22:19 – And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left…

In most movies, the plotline is between good and evil. In this scene, and the rest of the Bible, the battle seems to be the really bad versus the not as bad. In this scene from the days of Elijah, it is obvious that, spiritually and politically, the churches and the governments are a mess, lacking consistent godly leaders with integrity. 

Our day is no different. Even our best leaders remain sinners who make mistakes, broker deals that are short-sighted, listen to bad information and take bad advice, and even allow their children to marry the wrong people, or even walk in evil defying the faith of their fathers. 

In a systematic theology I co-authored called Doctrine we write:

“Here’s the question: If God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, why is there suffering and evil?  This is one of the most practical, painful, and problematic questions that every generation asks about God. If this were a multiple-choice test, there are six possible answers. 

1. There is no God. Atheism wrongly concludes that there is evil and suffering because there is no God to stop it. This is hopeless, which is why atheism leads to despair and even suicide. 

2. God is not all-powerful. Finite Godism wrongly concludes that God is impotent and lacking the power to overcome evil and suffering. God is simply a loser and evil is a winner. This too is hopeless. 

3. God is not all-knowing. Evolutionary Godism, or Open Theism, wrongly concludes that God does not know the future but is experiencing life as it comes, doing His best to learn, grow, and respond much like we do. This God might be a good friend for life’s journey, but He is stuck rowing in the same boat we are. This is yet again hopeless. 

4. God is not all-good. The Pantheism and Panentheism in many Eastern religions wrongly concludes that God is both good and evil and that both darkness and light come from and are expressions of God’s character. If God is evil, then we are doomed as there is no one solely good outside of our broken world to mend it. 

5. There is no suffering and evil.  Subjectivism and Pluralism wrongly conclude that evil and the experience of suffering are not absolute but rather relative and therefore not always wrong or negative. This is of no help when your body or soul get shot and you need healing. 

6. God is not done yet, so live by faith, not sight. Biblical Christianity concludes that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good and that our good God has a problem with evil. Therefore, suffering and evil are not the way that God is, the way that God made the world, or the way that the world will be when Jesus returns and establishes His Kingdom. God is at war with the devil and his dark kingdom. Jesus’ followers partner with Him to overcome evil with good and crush the serpent. Until then, God reminds us that ‘the righteous shall live by his faith’ (Habakkuk 2:4).”

Which of these 6 points make the most sense to you and bring you the most comfort?

Text DEVOS to 99383 to be woken up with bold, unapologetic Bible teaching straight to your phone Monday-Friday bright and early. Click here to download a free Elijah study guide and find the sermons that accompany these Devos .