The argument is set forth by agnostics, atheists, and skeptics that God cannot be good because a benevolent God would not create, or allow evil. The problem of pain and suffering has led many people to conclude God is not good, if He even exists. This was the position taken by the renowned British atheist Christopher Hitchens (April 13, 1949 – Dec 15, 2011), and is still promoted by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (b. March 26, 1941). Read The God Delusion
A popular Christian response is to argue that God did not create evil, man did, by exercising his Free Will.
To a large degree, this is true, because the Bible declares that “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13).
There is a passage in the KJV Bible, Isaiah 45:7, that says God does create evil.
“I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the Lord do all these things.”
However, the text is a Hebrew parallelism that expresses a contrast. God says,
“I bring prosperity,
I bring catastrophe.”
With that being noted, God did know more about what would happen in His creation than simply permitting the Fall. Before the foundation of the earth a Plan of Redemption was agreed on within the Godhead.
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:19-20).
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
Because the Plan of Redemption was made before the foundation of the world, the Fall was also foreordained.
All of that is given. However, Free Will does not solve the problem of evil, and for this reason. Free Will does not explain why God could not have created man in such a way that he freely and consistently chooses to do good. What would be the downside of that?
If it is argued that the inability to do wrong violates the principle of Free Will, then there can never be a comfort in heaven, for what will stop a person from doing evil in heaven, if they still have the capacity to do wrong?
Some alternative thoughts about Free Will must be considered. For example…
Conceptionally, it is possible for God to create individuals in such a way they freely choose to consistently do right, and never wrong. In fact, that is exactly what will happen at death. “He who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev. 22:11b).
We know that, for the believer, at death, the sin nature is eradicated because in heaven there is no more sin, or even the possibility of violating the will of God. In heaven, our will shall freely, and consistently, choose to do what is right. God’s will shall be done. That is what makes heaven so desirable and holy.
The whole purpose of the new heart, of the New Covenant, is that God will cause His people to walk in His statues, and keep His will freely and consistently.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 37 Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock” (Ezekiel 36:26, 27).
Conceptionally, it is possible for God to create individuals in such a way they freely choose to consistently do nothing but sin. In fact, that is exactly what will happen at death for the ungodly. “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still” (Rev. 22:11a). In hell the wicked do not repent (Study Luke 16), but are tormented day and night.
It is only in time, it is only now, that God has created the will of man to operate in such a way that he can freely choose to do good, or evil.
However, there is no violation of man’s will when the other two alternatives are enacted, as indeed they one day will be, for the Potter has power over the vessel to make man, and his will, one way or another. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:21) Indeed, He does.