Where did evil come from and why does God allow it?


From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Theologians and philosophers have grappled with the existence of evil for centuries without finding a complete answer. The debate is as old as the human race. Some have concluded God must not care. We live in a random universe, they say, with no rhyme or reason to it. In the midst of his agony, Job cried out, “Why is life given to a man … whom God has hedged in? … I have no rest, for trouble comes” (Job 3:23, 26, HCSB).

There’s much we don’t know about the origin of evil. We can barely imagine the battle that raged in the heavens when Satan and his followers lashed out against God. Satan is absolutely opposed to God and His people. The Bible calls him the one “who leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9-10, NIV).

While God allows tragedy and suffering, God is still sovereign, and He is still loving and merciful and compassionate. The Bible speaks of “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, KJV), and that’s what evil is: a mystery filled with suffering and turmoil. They aren’t just an illusion, nor can we banish them by thinking positive thoughts or optimistically telling ourselves everything will be all right.

Evil and suffering are real, and we see them everywhere we look. Our headlines scream it; our experience confirms it; our own hearts and minds know it. What can we do about it? Flee all evil and run to God. “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word” (Psalm 119:101). Satan’s no match for Almighty God. Evil is real—but so is God’s power and love!

(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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