The Paris Attacks: Why Is Evil Increasing?
The recent massacre in Paris is yet another act of evil that has become disturbingly more frequent. Why is evil increasing around the world, and how can it be stopped?
There have been a lot of tears shed during the last several days. The terrorist attacks in Paris have claimed the lives of at least 129 people, not to mention dozens in critical condition. This heartless murder spree has brought on unspeakable heartache to the families affected. Countless others are grieving because of the unnecessary pain and suffering that has resulted—including God.
A loving God allowing evil?
To many, such evil only proves that there is no God, because they assume that a loving God would not allow innocent people to be slaughtered or permit their family members to endure such pain and sorrow.
And they are partly correct; God does not want people to be gunned down. He says, “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies” (Ezekiel 18:32). Yes, God is saddened by what happened in Paris. God is grieved by the needless deaths and evils people perpetrate against each other (Genesis 6:5-6).
Yet He does allow such evil to happen for a reason.
We allowed evil to enter our world
We need to understand that the evil we see in the world is not a result of God’s choice, but a result of our choice.
When God created our first parents, their world was initially free from evil. God was with them and told them that if they obeyed Him, they would have an abundant life without pain and suffering. This was represented by the tree of life. But God also told them that if they chose not to listen to Him, pain, sorrow and death would follow them all their lives. This was represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9, 16-17).
With the prodding of an evil spirit disguised as a serpent, Adam and Eve both chose to eat from the tree that God said would put them on a path that would lead to their own destruction (3:1-6).
By their own free will, our first parents chose to listen to Satan instead of God. In effect they told God that they were able to figure out and decide on their own what was right and wrong, good and evil. They didn’t need Him.
As a loving parent, God allowed them to make this bad choice so they would learn from the unfortunate consequences. And just as parents grieve at the results of their children’s bad choices, God grieves at the results of our bad choices.
That’s why God is grieved at what has happened in Paris, along with all the other heartaches the world experiences on a daily basis. But we need to recognize that God allows evil because we chose to live in a world of good and evil rather than a world free from evil.
We need to understand that the evil we see in the world is not a result of God’s choice, but a result of our choice.Why the world is being overtaken by evil
By rejecting the tree of life, our first parents rejected God’s authority over their lives. But what they didn’t realize is that they were now going to be influenced by Satan’s attitudes. These attitudes would urge them to do more evil than they would naturally.
Satan used deception to trick Eve into eating of the fruit God said to avoid. Satan’s whole purpose was to destroy their lives. He wanted them to die eternally! And this same evil spirit wants nothing less than to destroy you and me as well! Jesus Christ confirmed Satan’s hatred of mankind when He said that Satan “was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).
Satan is very shrewd. He doesn’t directly cause all evil, but accomplishes it indirectly by broadcasting his attitudes through humans who then carry out evil by their own free will (Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:26).
It was Satan’s attitudes of hate and jealousy that influenced Cain to murder his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-8). And it was Satan’s attitude of hate and pride that influenced these terrorists to destroy the lives of scores of people in Paris.
Evil is increasing and will worsen in the near future
Just as Adam and Eve rejected God’s authority, people are moving further and further from His way of life. One doesn’t have to look far to see how morality is rapidly changing all around the world. What God says is evil and wrong, many are now saying is good and right. So the more we reject God, the more pain, suffering and evil we can expect.
The increasing evil, and all the suffering it brings, is simply the result of our increasing disobedience to God’s laws.
The Bible tells us that people at the end time will be consumed with themselves and their ideologies. They will think that they have no need of God; and attitudes of hatred, pride and evil will become more prevalent. This will result in “perilous times”—times of stress—coming on the entire world (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
That means evil is only going to get worse before things get better.
God will finally stop the evil
But the good news is that God will finally step in and put a stop to the evil.
After enduring so much pain and sorrow resulting from living apart from God, mankind will at last learn that we need Him when we bring ourselves to the point of self-annihilation (Matthew 24:22). Many who survive the unimaginable evil that lies ahead will come with tears in their eyes seeking God’s help (Jeremiah 31:8-9).
And then, when mankind at last chooses to follow God, we will finally be on the path toward a time when evil and the sorrow will come to an end.
So as you see the incredible sadness of senseless tragedies in the news, take hope and comfort in God’s promise for the future: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
May God speed that day!
To learn more about the cause of suffering in our world, download and read our free booklet Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?