This post is only for non-Calvinist Christians.
Conservative Christians think “God’s mysterious ways” is a card that trumps any argument that comes their way for which they don’t have an answer. If God doesn’t want little kids to be raped to death, then why doesn’t he interfere with the perpetrator, or distract them to other matters? “His mysterious ways”.
Even if you believe God uses evil to accomplish a greater good, isn’t it also true that God could accomplish whatever goals or good he wants, without using evil? Does it make sense to say that the only way God can increase the probability that a littel girl will grow up to take the job of rape crisis counselor, is if he allows that child to be raped?
The bible says God is easily capable of motivating people to do what he wants them to do:
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, (Ezr 1:1 NAS)
The bible says God will force people who don’t believe in him against their will to do his bidding:
2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.
4 “And I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out,
17 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them? (Eze 38:2-4, 17 NAS)
(if gog and magog had already decided by their own freewill to attack Israel, how can the metaphor “hooks into your jaws” be an appropriate way to characterize God “allowing” these pagan nations to do what they already planned to do?)
The bible says God can keep a person from sinning:
6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. (Gen 20:6 NAS)
The bible says God can make his intentions so overbearing on a person that it successfully wears down their resistance:
7 O LORD, Thou hast deceived me and I was deceived; Thou hast overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.
8 For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the word of the LORD has resulted In reproach and derision all day long.
9 But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. (Jer 20:7-9 NAS)
With all of this ability and power, it would appear foolish for a bible-believing Christian to assert that God needs to allow evil to achieve his purposes. Of course he doesn’t need to allow evil. He could simply do to everybody, what he does to the people described above, and motivate them, using “hooks in their jaws” where necessary, to obey his will. And if God needs evil to achieve his purposes, then he is not fully omnipotent.
So since God clearly has the ability to make people do his bidding, by reason of bible passages that show he respects human freewill a bit less than you think he does, why does God just stand around watching little kids getting raped, and doing nothing about it? I think the answer is obvious. We see inconsistency between the will of God in the bible and what happens in the world, because there is no god, or the god who exists has less power/less desire to control evil, than as described in the bible.
Hyper-Calvinists will assert there is no inconsistency since the bible says God creates calamity (Isaiah 45:7), tells us we are still responsible for everything we do (Matthew 16:27), then tells those who argue that God’s power makes him solely responsible for evil, to just shut up (Romans 9:19-20)
But alas, this post was for non-Calvinists who seriously think God wishes that people would stop sinning.