Reconciling the prevalence of evil in the world--from wars to corruption to violence to abuse-- with the existence of an all-loving God sometimes feels like a feat. But it’s not a far-fetched argument to understand that both God and evil can exist at the same time.
God gave us free will. He gave us the decision to choose between living in love and acting in hate. This free will is fundamentally what gives meaning to the actions we take. Without this agency, we would simply behave as dictated to us. Our actions would not be our own, but belonging to someone else. And thus, they could never be inherently good or bad.
For instance, choosing to be selfless is built upon the existence of an opportunity to act in self-interest. A selfless act could never exist in isolation. The sacrifice it necessarily entails means it must coincide with the opportunity to act otherwise--in this case, the opportunity to act selfishly. Without free will, the value of being selfless is not a choice and its value disappears.
Likewise, goodness can only retain its value if the option to choose evil is there. It is not necessarily one grand decision, but a series of small ones that we take in our day-to-day. Choice imposes the value that attributes “goodness” to good and “badness” to bad.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16).
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