“Are not the gods just?” “Oh, no, my child. Where would we be if they were?”
—C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
Occasionally I get distressed about the existence of evil in the world and wonder why God isn’t running the world right. But in my better moments I know that most of the suffering in my world is self–inflicted. It is my greed, my permissiveness, my selfishness, my relentless pursuit of personal pleasure that has caused so much unhappiness in others and in me. I can hardly blame God for that, can I?
If, then, I am responsible for at least some of the anguish in this world, it wouldn't do to insist that God start setting things right. If he did, he would deal with evil, but he would have to do so across the board, which means he would put down monstrous tyrants like Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, and Pol Pot, but he would also put down my petty tyranny. If God were merely just where could I stand?
I’m often reminded of a conversation between Robinson Crusoe and his Man Friday: “Well,” says Friday, “you say God is so strong, so great: has he not as much strong, as much might as the devil?”
“Yes, yes,” Crusoe says, “Friday, God is much stronger than the devil.” “But if God much strong, much might as the devil, why God no kill the devil so make him no more do wicked?”
“You might as well ask,” Crusoe answered reflectively, “Why does God not kill you and me when we do wicked things that offend?”
G. K. Chesterton was once asked by a reporter, “What’s wrong with the world?” “I am,” the old sage replied.