Probably the most vexing problem — one insoluble to the finite human mind — is why God permitted the entrance of evil into the world. Actually, it predates Creation. Why did God allow a being He created, Lucifer, to have the choice to lead a revolt against Him? I don’t know. No one does. And yet Christianity has the best answer for it. It doesn’t pretend that evil is illusion, doesn’t attribute malevolence to God, and doesn’t limit his sovereignty to the end that He is no longer God.
I once wrote a story about Henry, a mentally retarded man. I allowed his main caregiver, his mother, to die prematurely, exposing Henry to possible re-institutionalization. I let Henry suffer some consequences of that evil and began to allow Henry to deal with the ramifications of that, making what may prove to be a bad choice so that he could learn and grow in ways he could not were he sheltered. In allowing Henry to react to the bad thing I allowed to happen, in fact purposed to happen, I allowed him a measure of freedom to make choices. And yet I superintended the whole story. I think it a better story because of that, because of that freedom to be who I allowed him to be.
You might think me a bad author for writing such a story. You might think Him a bad Author too. But, it is a better story, and for some, at least, it has a good ending. That’s some kind of an answer to the question of evil.
Frederick Buechner says Christianity offers “no theoretical solution at all. It merely points to the cross and says that, practically speaking, there is no evil so dark and so obscene — not even this — but that God can turn it to good.”
The Author put down his pen at some point, dove into the story, and let Himself experience it all. He even superintended his own death so that The End is, after all, good. So, despite what happens between “Once upon a time” and “The End,” it is a very good story. The real question is: do you trust the Author?