Why Does God Allow War?

Why is humanity addicted to war? How could a merciful, loving God allow us to inflict the atrocities, suffering, death and destruction associated with war?

If God is all powerful, loving and merciful, how could He allow the misery and horror of war? To find God’s answers, we must see what He recorded for us in the Bible about why we have warfare today.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote under inspiration: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war” (James 4:1-2).

Where did this all start?

Is war God’s fault?

Two people can have irreconcilable conflicts. So can two nations. Wars between individuals or nations are the result of a fundamental condition—the very nature of mankind. The ultimate blame for warfare falls on mankind’s innate selfishness and greed.

What is it about humanity that leads to such evil passions and deeds? Aren’t we all “good people”? Surprisingly, the answer is no, we’re not.

Jeremiah was inspired to explain our natural inclination to ungodly behavior: “The heart is deceitful [“devious,” New Revised Standard Version] above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

Unless we have a change of heart, God says He will allow us to experience the negative fruit of the ways of our heart.

Is mankind inherently wicked? Where did that wickedness come from? Scripture reveals the source of evil and wickedness in this world. “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:14-16).

The Bible describes Satan the devil as the father of lies and a murderer (John 8:44). He is an enemy of humanity, committed to our destruction (1 Corinthians 5:5).

War is man’s fault, not God’s

But if God is all powerful, why doesn’t He stop all evil and war? The answer lies in the age-old question about free will for humans. God says that He sets before us life and death, blessing and cursing; but He says He wants us to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19)!

God wants us to make the wise choice of obedience to His law. He asks us to choose to control our attitudes. For example, we are to choose love instead of hatred, humility instead of arrogance.

Making the right choices is not an easy thing to do in this evil world. It requires building godly character. The result of making the right choice to love God’s law and obey His commandments is peace (Proverbs 3:1-2; Psalm 119:165).

Why does God allow war? He is allowing mankind to experience life in a world cut off from Him because of sin. It’s not God’s fault that sin, evil and warfare are a part of our world today. We are bringing sorrow and destruction upon ourselves.Few people are willing to make the choices that produce godliness and righteousness. Instead, people choose what comes naturally through the influence of Satan’s attitudes. The Bible explains in Ephesians 2:2 that Satan’s evil ways influence our minds. We are to resist and reject that evil influence with godly character.

It is vital to understand that by its choices humanity has cut itself off from God. Our article about the tree of life explains this in detail. Isaiah also makes this quite clear: “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1).

Why does God allow war? He is allowing mankind to experience life in a world cut off from Him because of sin. It’s not God’s fault that sin, evil and warfare are a part of our world today. We are bringing sorrow and destruction upon ourselves.

God does not enjoy watching the people He created fight and kill one another.

No way out?

So is that it? Are we destined to continue to suffer the horrors of war until humanity ultimately destroys itself in an all-out nuclear war? The good news is no, God will not allow us to annihilate ourselves. War will come to an end after Jesus Christ returns and takes control of the nations.

How is that going to happen? The Bible proclaims:

  • Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth to save mankind from destruction and establish the Kingdom of God. In His righteousness He will use warfare to end warfare. Revelation 19:11-16 describes the awesome power of Jesus Christ, returning to this earth with great authority.
  • His purpose is to bring peace once rebellion has been suppressed. The peaceful Kingdom of God proclaimed by the prophets of the Old Testament will finally be established on earth. “He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

World peace will come

When that day finally comes, humanity will be taught the law of God. With the evil influence of Satan removed (Revelation 20:2-3), most will be receptive to learning about God and living by His law of peace and love.

The prophet Ezekiel tells us that it will require a heart that is soft and willing to yield to God: “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

God does care. He is not uninvolved or far away. He is patiently working to complete His plan. He will allow humanity to come to the brink of annihilation to see that our way would end in ultimate destruction (Matthew 24:21-22). But then Jesus Christ will come in majestic splendor and glory to establish a world of peace—a peace that will never end (Isaiah 9:7).

Why not read more about this coming world of peace in our article “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”?

About the Author

Ron Kelley

Ron Kelley

Ron Kelley was born and raised in West Virginia. He spent 31 years working in hospital finance in Ohio before entering the full-time ministry in 2006.

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