Jesus said, “If you…who are evil, know how to give good gifts…how much more will the heavenly Father give…to those who ask him!”
We cannot know why God permits evil, can we? If God is real, i.e. exists (and He does as is obvious to reason); and if God is the highest good; we then surmise that evil is contrary to all that is good and therefore contrary to God; we must conclude that evil serves some good purpose according to the eternal nature of God. Therefore, we can know why God permits evil – ultimately to deepen our understanding of who He is and to see Him as a result. If this were not the case prayer & praise would become meaningless.
To what end would evil be known in the afterlife? If God is perfection, holy, just, et.al. to say we would know in the afterlife would be to say that we know something that is not necessary since evil serves the purpose of calling us back to God as a result of our sinful nature none of which is necessary nor will it be present before God in eternity. This presupposes also that we will know everything that there is to be known which is to say we will know everything that God knows which would – to be God. We are not God. We will spend all of eternity knowing God better and we will never exhaust all that there is to be known about God.
Simply put, if there were no moral evil there would be no necessity of natural evil since the purpose of natural evil is to call man back to God (from moral evil).
When God originally created – everything was good/very good (absence of all evil) – no natural evil existed since it was not necessary to call man back to God.
Trust and submission require an object/person in which to trust and to whom to submit. “IF God” then God has a plan; and if God has a plan that presupposes man can know His plan and He wants man to know His plan; If God can be known and if God has a plan it goes to “reason” that man must be able to know God.
If man sought God; man would not have been distracted by “becoming God” (self-life); man would not fear death and man would “count it all joy”… man struggles with counting suffering, trials, temptations as joy; evil exposes the true nature of man’s heart; “man’s intentions are continually evil (contrary to God).”
Man sees that God is real; Man sees the reality of what He has done; Man then recognizes the purpose of suffering and chastisement; which, having exposed the truth – man has the need to repent and make right what was wrong and then stay right knowing that the knowledge of God is the greatest purpose (good).
If nothing and no one is eternal (the alternative to eternal) than everything and everybody is temporary which obviates that everyone and everything had a beginning, the conclusion then that everything and everyone came from nothing. This is not possible. So, this cannot be true which means something or someone must be eternal. We can further divide this out to say that everything (i.e. all matter) is not eternal since to be eternal is to be self-maintaining; matter is not self-maintaining therefore matter (i.e. all things) are not eternal. The conclusion then: there must be an uncaused cause – a self-maintaining eternal being.
To say that reason is ontological, is to say that reason is real, that it exists since everything must have a cause. In all of creation only man has the ability to reason; to reason is to use one’s intellect; the implication of which is an unemotional thought process (feelings follow the thought – they neither lead it nor create it). Reason transcends time and eternity giving man the exclusive ability to form concepts, interpret meaning and comprehend eternity – i.e. God – to know God; to enjoy God; to glorify God.
In showing that God is eternal and reason is ontological we conclude that the soul is not eternal (e.g. the pre-mortal existence of all souls) since then the soul would have total knowledge; to “know something is eternal and knowing that matter is not eternal then we conclude then that it must be spirit; – not me however.”
Rather than cry out against God, evil actually cries out for God in several ways. We have no way of knowing something is really evil unless there is a God who established the moral law by which we can judge it to be evil. Additionally, as every pastor knows, the only real help when someone is suffering comes from God. “To whom else shall we turn—He has the words of eternal life” (Jn.6.68). When this life is fading, the only real comfort is the hope of eternal life. As the apostle put it, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (II Co.1.3-4).
The only realistic expectation that there will be an end of evil someday is that Christ has already defeated it. Hebrews declares of Christ that “he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (He.2.14). The apostle John saw the completion of this process when he wrote, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Re.21.4).