Though the existence of evil may cause some to question whether the God of the Bible (loving and powerful) is real, the Bible itself gives a perspective on this that should not be overlooked. If the argument is that God ought to do something about evil, then the biblical answer is that He has and He will.
The problem of evil began with the abuse of free will (i.e., sin). God made creatures (including Satan) with the ability to choose their own way. Of course, His desire is that all free-will beings choose to love Him, but He does not force that choice (or it would cease to be a choice). However, being holy and just, God could not allow sin to go without consequences. The consequences are the result of bad choices.
But couldn’t God step in and stop it all? The Bible tells us He has stepped in over the course of history in order to bring about judgment and resolution of the sin problem. He brought various nations to justice, and continues to rule over all the earth, but the Bible also tells us that He will step in one final time and bring about complete and ultimate justice.
To deal with the problem of sin, Jesus came to this earth and offered Himself as a sacrifice, demonstrating both God’s just and loving nature. This provides the way for us to receive the forgiveness of sins, thereby avoiding the eternal consequences that sin would otherwise bring. From the standpoint of eternity, this is far more important than any earthly problems we may have to endure for a brief time.
So why has God waited so long for this final judgment? The answer lies in His longsuffering and desire for everyone to be saved from sin. The apostle Peter defended this aspect of God in his second epistle (ch. 3). Follow the argument. Peter is reminding the readers of what had been spoken before. Mockers would come questioning the promise of God’s coming in judgment. In doing this, they “forget” that God has done this in the past, most notably in the deluge of Noah’s day. But the fact that God is waiting should not be taken as an indication that He will not bring about final judgment. God works in His own time, not ours. Therefore, we should consider God’s longsuffering to be an indication of His desire that no one perish, “but for all to come to repentance.” Nevertheless, let no one assume that final judgment will not come. Peter affirms that He will do exactly what was promised. Consequently, this period of God’s patience ought to be used constructively to live the way that God desires. Why? Because, in the end, we can receive a great reward.
The fact that God has not yet come in final judgment does not mean that He won’t. While we have the time, we should use it to His glory. Let’s not abuse our free will any further by turning against Him. His love and grace have been shown in unfathomable ways. Whether we are recipients of the full benefits of His lovingkindness depends upon the use of our free will.
Doy Moyer is a native of California. He is 41 years old and has been married to Laurie (Teel) Moyer since May 1986. They have three children: Caleb (17), Luke (14), and Audrey (12). He has been preaching the gospel for over 20 years, working with congregations in Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, California, and Florida. He presently resides in Florida and works with the church in Cork, outside of Plant City. For five years he was an associate editor of Focus Magazine, and has written numerous articles for various publications. Since August, 2001, Doy has been teaching Biblical Studies, Evidences, and Philosophy at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL. He has his own web site located at http://studywell.org. You can write him at email@example.com.