And God Cried
The question of why God permits evil first requires a definition. Webster defines evil as "that which produces unhappiness; anything which either directly or remotely causes suffering of any kind." Evil can be divided into two categories. There are moral wrongs or evils of individuals that inflict suffering upon others. Also the disasters of nature have wrought much suffering.
This treatise adds another dimension to the question. Evil not only results in human suffering but also in God's suffering. Isaiah 63:9 states, "In all their afflictions, He [God] was afflicted." Yes, when man suffers God suffers. God's suffering is basic to any discussion ofWhy God permits evil.
Many aspects of church theology concerning God's character have been Hellenized by Grecian philosophy. Some Christians accepted the Greek idea of Divine impassibility, the notion that God cannot suffer since God stands outside the realm of human pain and sorrow. Catholic theology early declared1 as "vain babblings" the idea that the Divine nature could suffer. Calvin broke with Luther and fostered this Hellenistic concept on his wing of the Protestant Reformation. Calvin and the Reform theology he founded taught Divine impassibility. The Westminster Confession of Faith teaches that God is "without body, parts or passions, immutable."
We strongly take exception to "without passions." No wonder Calvinists have neither a reasonable nor compassionate answer to why God permits evil. They assert that no one dare question the sovereignty of God. If God has ordained a plan for the human race that requires evilso be it. Who is man to question God's sovereignty? No wonder such a doctrinal concept of God teaches that the vast majority of mankind are predestinatedbefore they were even born--to eternal torment. Such an answer to the question of evil is totally unacceptable.
Many have respondedCan an unfeeling God love? A concept that embraces the idea that God cannot suffer has to answer the questionCan God love? The prophet Jeremiah's reference to the "tears" of God (Jer. 14:17) confirms the beautiful insight into God's love penned by Pastor Russell.2
But God is not man. He is not bound by man's limitations. God's ability to suffer does not disturb His peace of mind. His fatherly love that shares the sorrows of His human family contains no anxiety over their eternal welfare. With Divine serenity His wisdom has planned for the eternal welfare of all, and in His serenity He knows His Divine love and power will attain that end.
The title of this bookletAnd God Criedis based on Jeremiah 14:17 where God speaks of shedding "tears day and night" for the "daughter of my people" (KJV). Calvinists insist that it is Jeremiah, not God, who is crying. However, it was God who told Jeremiah to tell Judah that He, God, was crying for their plight.
Only God could say the "daughter of my people." The generation of Jews living in Jeremiah's day were the "daughter" or descendants of God's people, Israel who came out of Egypt. In verses 17 and 18 God, as a loving father, deeply feels the chastisement inflicted on His wayward people.
In verse 19, Jeremiah is speaking. He asks God, "Hast thou utterly rejected Judah?" Why has thou smitten us?" Notice the us. Jeremiah includes himself as a part of Judah, God's people, or the "My people" of verse 17. Yes, God says He was crying over the plight of His people. Jeremiah includes himself in the "My people" for whom God was crying.
First, this treatise will consider the Scriptures that reveal the tenderness of God's fatherly love as He shares the sufferings of His children. Then the questionWhy does god permit evil?is Scripturally answered against the backdrop of both man's suffering and God's suffering.