As I write this, there has been yet another evil act that recently occurred. A man took guns into a crowded theater and killed 12 people, wounded many more, and caused a tremendous amount of suffering and pain. I have found that experiences such as this raise a very old question: If God is good, why is there evil? The skeptic and atheist will be quick to question God in such a tragedy, saying that God must either not exist, be powerless, or even worse, not care.
First, we must realize that if we take evil situations such as this and use them to dismiss God, we have not solved the problem. Quite the contrary, we have in fact made the problem worse. For we all recognize that such events are indeed evil, and if so, banishing God out of the picture does not answer the question about how did evil get here, and what can we do about it. If we banish God, we are left with nothing but a frustrating, painful situation with no hope. The atheist will tell us to not be weak and invent a God, but rather be strong and admit that the evil and pain are just there, then you die.
The Christian, on the other hand, can hold on to a God who, in the end, will right every wrong, wipe every tear (Rev. 21:4), and punish every evil. Accuse the Christian of what you will, but he has both hope and an ultimate answer to the problem of evil, when the atheist can only offer emptiness.
Second, if we banish God, we have removed the ultimate standard of good and are left, at best, with a relative goodness which depends on the perspective of the viewer. Without an ultimate, objective standard of good that is separate from all of us, we can only have a vote as to what is good or bad. What answer can we give to the neighboring society who has voted and determined that it is good and proper to eliminate everyone in our society? The most we can say to them is, ‘I disagree with you, and I do not like your conclusions. Please stop.’ We cannot say they have come short of a moral standard, for we have no standard to measure them against.
Third, if we banish God, we are left with only matter and energy. Matter and energy is neither good nor bad, moral or immoral, it just is. If all we have is a few jars of chemicals with which to create a reaction, and one chemical destroys the other, we cannot say that reaction is morally good or evil — it would merely be what it is. Therefore if we banish God, we unknowingly banish our ability to call things evil, which was our excuse in the first place for banishing God.
Lastly, in the face of tremendous evil, we send in pastors, chaplains, and counselors, for these are the people who can console the hurting. Such people will not claim to know the secret things of God, but they can offer a consoling shoulder based in love, motivated by a loving Savior who did the same for them. The ones who are prepared to rush in and help are those who have dedicated their lives to the service of God.