The question of why God
permits evil first requires a definition. Webster defines evil
as "that which produces unhappiness; anything which either
directly or remotely causes suffering of any kind." Evil
can be divided into two categories. There are moral wrongs or
evils of individuals that inflict suffering upon others. Also
the disasters of nature have wrought much suffering.
This treatise adds another
dimension to the question. Evil not only results in human
suffering but also in God's suffering. Isaiah 63:9 states,
"In all their afflictions, He [God] was afflicted."
Yes, when man suffers God suffers. God's suffering is basic to
any discussion of—Why God permits evil.
Many aspects of church
theology concerning God's character have been Hellenized by
Grecian philosophy. Some Christians accepted the Greek idea of
Divine impassibility, the notion that God cannot suffer since
God stands outside the realm of human pain and sorrow. Catholic
theology early declared1 as "vain
babblings" the idea that the Divine nature could suffer.
Calvin broke with Luther and fostered this Hellenistic concept
on his wing of the Protestant Reformation. Calvin and the Reform
theology he founded taught Divine impassibility. The Westminster
Confession of Faith teaches that God is "without body,
parts or passions, immutable."
We strongly take exception to
"without passions." No wonder Calvinists have neither
a reasonable nor compassionate answer to why God permits evil.
They assert that no one dare question the sovereignty of God. If
God has ordained a plan for the human race that requires evil—so
be it. Who is man to question God's sovereignty? No wonder such
a doctrinal concept of God teaches that the vast majority of
mankind are predestinated—before they were even born--to
eternal torment. Such an answer to the question of evil is
Many have responded—Can an
unfeeling God love? A concept that embraces the idea that God
cannot suffer has to answer the question—Can God love? The
prophet Jeremiah's reference to the "tears" of God (Jer.
14:17) confirms the beautiful insight into God's love penned by
The principle taught in the
divine Word, that true love weeps with those that weep and
rejoices with those that rejoice, is one which is also
exemplified in the Divine character.
But God is not man. He is not
bound by man's limitations. God's ability to suffer does not
disturb His peace of mind. His fatherly love that shares the
sorrows of His human family contains no anxiety over their
eternal welfare. With Divine serenity His wisdom has planned for
the eternal welfare of all, and in His serenity He knows His
Divine love and power will attain that end.
The title of this booklet—And
God Cried—is based on Jeremiah 14:17 where God
speaks of shedding "tears day and night" for the
"daughter of my people" (KJV). Calvinists insist that
it is Jeremiah, not God, who is crying. However, it was God who
told Jeremiah to tell Judah that He, God, was crying for their
Only God could say the
"daughter of my people." The generation of Jews living
in Jeremiah's day were the "daughter" or descendants
of God's people, Israel who came out of Egypt. In verses 17 and
18 God, as a loving father, deeply feels the chastisement
inflicted on His wayward people.
In verse 19, Jeremiah is
speaking. He asks God, "Hast thou utterly rejected
Judah?"…Why has thou smitten us?" Notice the us.
Jeremiah includes himself as a part of Judah, God's people, or
the "My people" of verse 17. Yes, God says He was
crying over the plight of His people. Jeremiah includes himself
in the "My people" for whom God was crying.
First, this treatise will
consider the Scriptures that reveal the tenderness of God's
fatherly love as He shares the sufferings of His children. Then
the question—Why does god permit evil?—is Scripturally
answered against the backdrop of both man's suffering and God's