Although I believe that the universe did not spring out of nothing or from a Singularity but was created by God who can be known by the way He reveals Himself and through His creation, and although I am aware that getting to know Him is decisive for the way we live and makes us capable of recognizing and resisting evil, I cannot but ask myself the question of who is ultimately in control, after seeing and experiencing so much evil and also because, apart from the evil that is poisoning my life now, I am worried about the evil that is going to poison my future as well… However, what I am worried about seems to be of no avail since I cannot overcome the evil in either me or in the world around me, can I? No, I can’t… but maybe someone else can? How can I know that? One way to know that is to try to look at the facts in an objective way.
What has happened with the evil I have suffered from up to now — with all the terrible illnesses, the injustices, the deceptions, the betrayals…? They all have been unbearable and from all of them I have been delivered. Who has delivered me — God or Satan? If Satan was more powerful than God, would there be delivery from any evil at all? If Satan gave rise to evil by distorting and rejecting the good that God had given him, thus corrupting himself completely (as the Bible says he did and as we can see it happening with everything that is left to itself), what is it that will stop him from continuing to do that, the more so as it gives him pleasure and defines the way of his existence? Nothing in himself! If Satan was the ultimate Ruler of the world, there would be only evil.
There would be only contamination. Dirt would be everywhere, ever growing and never ending. It will be an integral part of all things and nobody would want to remove it because everybody would consider it a virtue — not a vice.
There would be only disintegration. Illnesses would stay and never go away; weaknesses would become permanent states and people would honor them as ‘beautifying’ traits; decay would prevail and nothing normal would remain.
There would be only regress. The Sun would cease to shine, the sky would shrink in size and the sea would drain and die. There would be only dry land and rock and the creatures would live in it like worms eating soil and digging burrows. Nobody would be able to walk upright or fly.
There would be only hatred. Parents would abuse their children; husbands would torment their wives; employers would harass their workers and everybody would despise everybody… There would be no friendship, no allegiance, no patriotism… Anger would dictate people’s acts.
There would be only war. The distortion in each human being would cause disproportion which would arouse conflict between all of them manifesting itself as different kinds of enmity — from dissention to war.
But we can all see that this is not happening! There is still plenty of peace and love and loyalty… Parents adore their children, husbands respect their wives, employers value their workers and people care for each other… Beauty and love and harmony enliven our existence and give it a fresh and invigorating taste.
Satan’s power is restricted not only by God, who restrains him from doing what he wants to do and to the extent he wants to do it, but also by the way the creation works and especially by those who have the freedom to decide whether to do his will or God’s will. This very freedom is our way of salvation from evil because Satan cannot violate our will. This is another proof of God being in control because — if Satan could — he would never allow it to happen as it makes possible for people to turn away from him and go to God, which means that he loses them forever — something he has no interest in, because ― in contrast to God ― he cannot create anything and needs creatures that have been created by someone else in order to use them and exploit them. This and all the other limitations that Satan has are some of the ways in which God restrains his action. The Bible says that he was created to be a guardian, but profaned his power by turning violent and unlawfully enriching himself, thus depriving himself of the opportunity to obtain more freedom as a reward for the one he should have properly used until then. Instead of choosing to act as an executor of God’s perfect plan, he chose to initiate his own abortive plan and doomed himself to an existence tainted by degradation, perversion and defilement.
Life is a process and the opposite of life must also be a process (for the beings created to be eternal). If some of the most important features of life are strength, energy, growth, stability…, then the opposite of these features should be features of death: Weakness, impotence, decay, fragility… We know both processes personally, and the question that should worry us profoundly is: Which one will prevail? At first glance, the answer seems obvious: Death, because we all die; but is that really so?
If death is more powerful than life, why are living things more capable, more productive, and longer-lasting than the dead ones? Why can light drive away darkness and the Sun melt the ice, whereas the opposite is not possible? Why do living things have offspring and the dead ones don’t? What do these facts have to show us?
The answer is found in the answer to two other questions: What is true life and what is true death, and, are we alive or dead? It’s an undeniable fact that life is more powerful than death and no lies or exaggerations of its impotence can change it. Death cannot be more powerful, because it possesses nothing of what constitutes power. However, death can do something that life can’t do ― deform, debilitate and destroy, as we all know very well from what we go through, which is neither only life nor only death, but a combination of the two, ending in death.
What is this death though ― full or partial, of the whole being or of a part of it? If we live partly in life and partly in death now, it is logical to assume that the death we finally experience is also partial and is defined by what we do while we live ― good or evil, because these two make up true life and true death and shape the nature of man’s inner being. The possibility for this inner being to remain in what the person has chosen to do while still living in the combination of the two, and to join the absolute good or the absolute evil after that is much greater than the possibility that all people end their lives likewise ― with their bodies buried in the ground and their souls ending in the burial mound.
What is absolute life and what is absolute death? Absolute life is a life in which there is no evil, and absolute death is a life in which there is no good. None of us knows either the one or the other, and God wants to stop us from knowing exactly that — absolute death. That is why He has given us the freedom to choose between the two, hoping that we will choose the good option and necessitate His act of making us perfect through the redemptive death of His Son on the cross. If Satan was the supreme Ruler, he would never have allowed this to happen, let alone instigate it, because it ultimately takes away from him people whom he can never take back again.
If God is the supreme Ruler and governs the works of evil, why does He allow it to exist at all, and why does He allow it to expand and even sometimes prevail? Why do terrible things like murders, tortures, wars… happen? Why are there catastrophes and disasters, epidemics and pandemics…?
Evil cannot create itself, nor can it create something else; it can only use the things created by God to corrupt them, which means that if there was to be no evil, there shouldn’t have been any good in the first place that could be corrupted, and particularly there shouldn’t have been beings with free will who would want to do that. God either had to make everything so as to work only the way He wanted it to work or He had to take the risk and create beings who could want to do the opposite of what He wanted. He chose to create the latter, foreseeing all the consequences which this choice would entail, because He was sure that in the end everything would be the way He wanted, and knowing that He would be able to endure the inevitable evil arising from that and provide a way out of it, as well as for a number of other reasons, some of which I dare to assume are the following:
- God functions, creating, and the enjoyment of the creation hugely exceeds the pain of the corruption, especially when it is beings like Him with the ability to think, feel and act in such a way as to express His nature in a unique and, at the same time, complementary way, while also preserving their individuality in a union that was designed to exist forever.
- Although Satan considers himself to be the supreme ruler, he is actually an instrument in God’s hands which He uses in order to accomplish His original plan and to make the creation such as He intended it to be: Good, supplied with life by Him and recreating the good in a world made to be only good. But before that could happen, He had to eliminate the possibility of evil arising in the course of accomplishing His plan, as has happened with Satan and as can happen with any free being. That is why He made it possible for man to know what evil is by experience, so that he would never desire it again. This experience had to be true, personal and convincing so as not to leave in him any illusions about its true nature. Unfortunately, listening about something is not as effective as living it. Lack of personal experience allows the rise of suspicion, which gives rise to the supposition that the opposite of what God says can also be possible. The most effective way to determine which of two opposing statements is true is to make it possible for the two to happen and then weigh and compare their consequences. Only the experiencing of the real effects of evil can make us fully understand the truthfulness of God’s statement about its destructive nature and make an informed decision about it.
- But why does God allow evil to reach such destructive forms and sizes? Just as there can be no evil without good, so there can be no good without evil in a world that allows the freedom of choice between the two. When God created the world in the beginning, He had to decide what and how much good to give it, knowing that if man sinned, he would abuse all the good He had given it. If He wanted to avoid the happening of a particular evil, He shouldn’t have created the original good that could be abused by man. Maybe He even took away some of man’s capabilities (or lessened their extent) after the fall in order to reduce the evil that their abuse would have given rise to…
- Why does God allow evil to prevail? Sometimes, in order for people to be able to see its true nature, evil must be let to prevail or, rather, to appear to prevail, as it happened on the cross of Golgotha with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from allowing this to happen in order to accomplish His mission of delivering man from sin, it showed very clearly how low evil can go in its baseness — kill the Source of Life of all beings, including those who were crucifying Him. Fortunately, this did not happen, because it is impossible to happen ― no creature is smarter and stronger than its Creator. In a narrower sense, however, anyone who is severing his tie with the Lord Jesus Christ for himself, rejecting His right to be part of his existence as his Author and Maker, is doing unilaterally exactly that: Putting an end to his relationship with the Source of Life and causing his own death, thus dooming himself to eternal degradation and turning himself into the dregs of the world. He who weeps for the crucifixion of the Lord, realizing that he is also part of its cause and deeply regretting it, witnesses His resurrection, for the Lord, being God, is much stronger than death and experiences it only as an event in His existence, in order to pave a way into heaven for all who love Him, but cannot attain absolute goodness, and must be freed from sin by the One who can do it for them.
This seems to be the ‘peak’ of the power of evil in this world ― the killing of the body. It has no power over the being that is inside the body ― man’s spirit and soul ― when man is unwilling to accept that power. The Lord has borne the full death of the inside being of all who do not want to accept it, so that they do not have to die fully or twice (as the Bible says, calling it ‘the second death’). What happened to man partly after he had been deceived by Satan and what happens to him fully after he accepts Satan as his lord (thus becoming separated from his Creator eternally) is not going to happen to those who choose God as their Lord.
Hence, the question that everyone needs to ask is: Who do I choose as my own Lord, thus acknowledging Him as the supreme Ruler? It is important because the way we answer it determines not only the way we live now, but also the way we will live after our body dies.
The very fact that we are thinking about this is another proof of God’s supremacy, because if Satan was the supreme ruler, no one would be able to think about God since all our thoughts would be only bad. Bad thoughts would beget bad deeds and make our life taste like hell.
Thanks to God being ultimately in control, however, this is not so! Our thoughts can be pure and good, our deeds can be creative and productive, and we can savor the taste of heaven!
God is still interested in man and will not leave him to Satan’s will (for all who don’t want it). The fact that good people become better with age is a promise that God will make them fully good in the future. God will not leave His car stuck in the mud, but will pull it out of this world and take it to a world where He is the only supreme Ruler and where no one else claims this title, because everyone knows that it belongs to Him who has proven His right to it by creating and sustaining all beings and things! Everything will end well for those who love God. This awful life of death and misery will be replaced by a life of bliss and liberty in a new heaven and new earth created to be man’s home forever. God’s plan cannot be changed or thwarted. Though unwanted, this stage was foreseen before the plan even started and it will end the moment it fulfils its purpose. God would not create such a majestic creation to let it destroy itself. Stupidity is not a feature of His character, as is visible from the way His creation works. His light and wisdom will guide the existence of those who choose to be enlightened by it.