Torture, pain, beheadings, the murder of children…. If God exists and is all good, how could He allow such suffering and evil? This is a common question, and a lament often an impediment to faith. It also was addressed recently on the Savage Nation radio show, where host Michael Savage — exhibiting his versatility and talk virility — will sometimes broach that certain thing we’re supposed to discuss even less than politics. His answer to the question was contained in his newsletter and is:
I actually believe that God has no effect on a moment-by-moment basis or a person-by-person basis.
If I did, then I’d have to stop believing in God.
If I were to believe that God controlled everything on earth, then I’d have to believe that God is evil.
I believe God is not omnipotent. He is omnipresent.
That’s what saved me from atheism.
It certainly is good to have an answer that saves one from atheism, but is the above the answer?
God undoubtedly doesn’t micromanage our lives, controlling matters on a moment-by-moment basis; this reality is called His “permitting will” in theological circles, as opposed to His “ordaining will.” But why is God, as some might say, so “permissive” (He isn’t, really)? There is an answer, but before addressing it let’s examine the matter of God’s omnipotence.