Do you love your children? If you don’t have children, do you love your pet? Has your child, or pet, ever caused you grief? If so, why did you choose to have it? You knew this could cause you grief before you made the choice for it to come into your life; why in the world would you voluntarily and deliberately choose something that you knew could cause you grief?! It makes no sense to have a child, or get a pet, when you are 100% certain that it’s going to cause you problems—potentially big problems—in the future. Maybe your love is bigger than that.
In the same way, why would God, who knew well in advance that you were going to cause Him grief by sinning, decide to create you anyway? For the same reason you have children or pets: to love them and to be loved by them. He decided that He loved you even though you’d reject Him over and over again. Even though He knew that humanity would cause Him much grief, and we’d grieve each other, He decided to create us with the free will to choose to love each other (or not) and to love Him (or not).
But, why does the God of ‘omni-everything’ allow evil (sin) in the first place?
Maybe to avoid the grief of a child or pet, you would prefer a robot. It would not cause you any grief unless you ordered it to. You could program the robot to say: “I love you,” or to sit on your lap and wag its tail. Would that be a suitable replacement for the flesh and blood creature that you love? I don’t think so. Why not? Because it’s different when that creature makes a free will choice to love you back, isn’t it? You want to be loved back by the creature that you pour your love into. How does it feel when that love is reciprocated? Could a robot provide that same feeling of love? Obviously not. Free will is a requirement for a creature, such as a baby or a puppy, to have the capacity to love you back. There could be no such thing as love otherwise.
Isn’t there some other way?
Other than creating automatons, which would remove free will, the only other way to solve the problem of evil is to destroy any creatures that exhibit evil. Can you imagine destroying your child or pet because of any one of the grievous moments they’ve caused you? How about 10 grievous moments? 100? 1,000? No. You forgive your child, or your pet, many times over despite the many grievous moments. You don’t choose to destroy just because evil exists in the creature you love; you love despite the evil. You love despite the problems, or that the love you give may not always be reciprocated. You forgive because you love. Your love is bigger than the moments that grieve you.
God allows evil in the world for the same reason that you allow evil in your very own home…because His love is bigger than that.
The Bible clearly says that we are made in God’s image. This doesn’t just mean we look like Him; we are like Him because we love, forgive and have free will. He created us out of His love for us and His desire for us to freely love Him back. It is the thing that binds us to each other and Him. If there were no love, if the world were filled with robots and automatons, what would be the point? There would be none. It would be like a robot-filled car factory that built cars, then disassembled them after they were made, and built them up again. This is meaningless and loveless.
God allows evil for the same reason you do. He loves the world. He loves everyone, including you, so much that He created us despite the grief we bring Him and others. He knew that for us to love Him back freely, He must allow for the possibility of evil. He created us out of love, despite knowing that many would not reciprocate His love. He created us knowing that He would eventually suffer the worst torture imaginable to die in our place to serve justice for the offense (sin) against His Holiness; a Holy and perfect God must be just. But He did this willingly. His love for us is just… that… big.