Why does evil exist? Does it come from God?

Moral evil, the most important one, comes from free and intelligent beings which can therefore disobey the laws of God. God has created everything good and evil only proceeds from the disobedience to the law of God, to His holy will. Thus, all moral evil comes from the wrong use of freedom.

Evil is the absence of God, the only Good; evil isn’t really a being, but the absence of being: evil beings are lacking in plenitude of being, in goodness. God doesn’t want to be absent from His creatures but respecting their freedom -the love which doesn’t respect freedom it is not real love- if they refuse Him, He doesn’t  impose His presence.

Maybe somebody will ask, why did He create us free? Let’s imagine man were not free: he would be like an animal-automaton and, as an animals, he would do everything following the laws of instinct (as an irresponsible machine that was programmed to do this or that) but without merit in what he were doing. In this case, man wouldn’t act morally wrong but he would not be able to act morally well either.

He would be like animals are, he wouldn’t have any merit and he wouldn’t deserve happiness in Heaven, as animals do not deserve Heaven. He wouldn’t deserve hell either, because he would do everything following the laws of instinct, a natural law he would have to fulfill perforce. In such a case, man would not commit moral evil but he would not be able to act morally well, either.

That’s why God has created man free; in order that he can accumulate merits acting morally well. Therefore, freedom is a good thing that makes it possible that we can reach Heaven.

God has made man to His image and likeness and, therefore, free and able to act really well. He is not only able to act well as bees do by making honey, without freedom to disobey the law of God or the laws of Nature, by acting automatically, but he is free to act well or not to act well, to reach the good that costs an effort, a moral good that makes us like God, who acts well freely.

Therefore, freedom is a good thing, for it allows us to do the moral good. As light is a good thing. But, as light has its counterpoint in darkness, so freedom to act really well has its counterpoint in that the free being can also do evil. He can use his freedom which is good, like light, to sin and act wrongly.

As a comparison, consider one arm, which is good because it allows us to do a lot of good things, can also be used to do bad things (nobody however will say he considers a bad thing to have a sound arm). Here we have the source of moral evil, the negative use of freedom.

As per physical evil, it is a consequence of moral evil: a punishment or expiation of moral evil (Adam and Eve are cast away from Paradise after having sinned, or king David, after committing adultery with the wife of one of his soldiers and having him killed, is punished by God with the death of his youngest son – as prophet Nathan announces to him). And this can be also allowed by God on innocent people, in order that, through their suffering, united to Jesus Christ’s, they procure salvation for other sinners (Saint Therese of Lisieux, for instance, offered her life for sinners and suffered a lot, dying very young, although apparently she never committed a mortal sin).

But, in spite of the existence of moral and physical evil in the world, absolute evil doesn’t exist, because God always draws out good from bad, by using the sufferings of men for His own eternal bliss or, even if a sinner dies without repenting and, therefore, is condemned to Hell, it is somehow a good thing because it shows His infinite justice which is also a side of His infinite kindness.

Every evil is used by God to produce a good thing, and evil will not win forever but will be defeated, the infinite wisdom and kindness of God will shine everywhere and everything will be for the higher glory of God.

Thus, the cruel death of Christ at the hands of pitiless men was a maximum evil, but, through it, for the merits acquired by Jesus as a man, God produced the most wonderful thing: salvation for all men who love Him.