They lie there hand in hand
Ones we've inherited, ones that we learned
They pass from man to man
There's a hole in my soul
I can't fill it I can't fill it
There's a hole in my soul
Can You fill it? Can You fill it?
You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up; let's finish what we've started
Dig them up, so nothing's left unturned
All of your flaws and all of my flaws,
When they have been exhumed
We'll see that we need them to be who we are
Without them we'd be doomed...
By: The Catholic News Agency
Perhaps the most popular argument against the existence of God is based on the timeless question: "If there is truly a good God, then why is there evil in the world?" Typically the argument runs as: "Since our world is full of evil and a good, all-powerful God would never allow for evil, God therefore cannot exist." This argument involves more emotion (usually anger) than reason, but the question is important to consider. It can be phrased many ways and a few will be considered here.
First we must consider the meaning of evil. There are two kinds of evil: moral and physical. Moral evil is willful sin, while physical evil is natural harm. Examples of moral evil are murder, adultery, fornication, theft, sorcery, abortion...(Didache 2:2). Examples of physical evil are famine, illness, natural disasters and death. Now evil is not something in itself, but a lack of something that should be present, e.g. a lie lacks in truth. God does not create evil since it is not a thing to be created. Evil is an imperfection, lack or void in God's creation.
Focusing first on moral evil, the question could be phrased as: "If there is a good God, then why did He create morally evil people?" In considering this question, we must realize that God does not create evil people (Gen. 1:26-31). Being all-knowing, God does knowingly create people who will be sinners, but knowledge and control are different. God created us with the gift of free will - the ability to willfully choose Him or reject Him. We choose to sin - to reject God - through willful disobedience. This rejection is a void in God's plan for us.
God wants us to love Him, but without free will, we could not sincerely love Him. We cannot be forced to love someone. If God created us without free will, we would be living machines and not made in His image and likeness. God permits moral evil to the extent that He gives us free will. Thanks to us, the moral evil in the world is the result of our choice.
Focusing next on physical evil, the question can be stated as: "If there is a good God, why are there pain, suffering and death in the world?" Perhaps a harder hitting version is: "If there is a just God, why do good people suffer?" Now suffering does serve a purpose in the material world. Pain retards us from damaging our bodies. I do not put my hand in fire mainly out of fear of pain. The pain of angina can warn us of an impending heart attack. Athletes endure extreme physical hardship and suffering in order to discipline their bodies for better performance in sports, realizing that no pain means no gain. Even for good people such suffering is not totally absurd.
Material things operate according to physical laws. For example, fire operates according to the laws of thermodynamics. The same laws which allow us to heat our homes during the winter, can allow our homes to burn to the ground. To prevent the latter evil would require a miracle - a suspension of physical laws. God permits physical evil to the extent that He does not perform one miracle after another in order to stop suffering, thus causing the ordinary to become extraordinary. Physical laws also apply the same to both good and bad people (Matt. 5:45).
Perhaps the real question is not why does God allow for physical evil, but why did God create us in a material world? Some suggest that God created us in an imperfect material world so that we would not rely on ourselves but come to love and rely on the perfect God (2 Cor 1:8-9). We were created with a desire and hunger which can only be satisfied by God. This void of happiness calls us to Him. In the words of St. Augustine: "...for You have made us for Yourself, O God, and our heart is restless until it rests in You." [Confessions I,1,1] St. Irenaeus of Lyons (190 A.D.) has another thought:
...where there is no exertion, there is no appreciation. Sight would not be so desirable if we did not know what a great evil blindness is. Health, too, is made more precious by the experience of sickness; light by comparison with darkness; life with death. In the same way, the heavenly kingdom is more precious to those who have known the earthly one. But the more precious it is, the more we love it; and the more we love it, the more glorious shall we be in the presence of God. God, therefore, permitted all these things, so that we, instructed by them all, might in future be prudent in all things, and, wisely taught to love God, might abide in that perfect love. [Against Heresies IV,37,7]