Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)
Then God said, “LET US make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; LET THEM have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (emphasis added)
The phraseology (in Gen. 1:26), “Let us… let them…,” indicates that God has His responsibility and people have their responsibility. God is responsible for giving mankind His divine nature, but people are responsible for expressing it. If God wants to express Himself in the earth He will have to do it through a human being. When God said, “Let us… let them…,” He was in effect locking Himself out of earth’s affairs without the cooperation of mankind.
This truth answers one of humanity’s most pressing questions: “If God is so loving, then why is there evil in the world?”
Here are the answers to those questions that atheists and agnostics give: Atheists claim that the reality of evil demonstrates that either there is no God or that He is not really a loving God, and therefore, not worthy of worship. Agnostics claim that it is impossible to say that evil exists. What seems to be evil may be only incomplete knowledge. The judgment that something is evil may simply be a judgment made with no basis in reality.
The truth is this: A loving God created human beings with free will and the power to choose between good and evil. Without freedom, people could not choose to love or to respond to love. Therefore, God has allowed evil to exist, but people are responsible for whether they choose it or not. Unfortunately, sometimes Satan influences people to perpetrate evil in the world.
God did not create evil, but by creating free people God left open the possibility of the choice of evil. God is responsible for the fact of freedom, but not the acts of freedom. If God were to destroy all evil now, no one would exist because God would have to destroy both actual and potential evil and that means He would have to destroy all free will.
God displayed and demonstrated His love for people by giving them free will and by giving them the power to choose. Every person has the freedom to choose between good and evil, between love and hate. All the evil that occurs in the world today is perpetuated by and through people – God’s free moral agents.
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