One of the most common arguments from atheists is that all of the evil, pain, and suffering in the world proves that God does not exist because a loving, omnipotent God would not allow these things to exist.
Many apologetics have addressed this and the best explanation (as stated in the movie “God’s Not Dead) comes down to two words: Free will.
A loving God would not create a race of robots who had no choice in obeying Him. We are given free will precisely because if we were not, we would be nothing but machines programmed to do only what is right and good.
Our obedience to God would be meaningless because we would have no choice.
Sin and evil therefore exist for the same reason God put that tree in the garden: so we have a choice.
As a result, all of the evil in the world falls squarely at our feet--because we choose it.
But the argument often stops there, falling far short of the real fullness of its meaning.
And that’s because if we had no free will, love would not exist.
Imagine that you get up every morning, click on your computer or turn on your smart phone, and the machine before you boldly announces, “I love you.”
That would be meaningless. These machines have no capacity for love. They are inanimate objects capable of doing only what they have been programmed to do.
And when it all comes down to it, sin entered the world because Adam and Eve chose pride and selfishness over love. Eve knew what God had said about eating from that tree and I believe Adam did too.
But when they wanted to be like God--to know the difference between good and evil, they put themselves ahead of God. They didn’t want to be like God, they wanted to be their own gods. They wanted to decide what was right and wrong, not God. And that’s the opposite of love because perfect love never puts “me” first.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 ESV)
And in that night before the crucifixion, when Jesus was praying in the garden (Does anyone else see the “coincidence” that this scene takes place in a garden?) on His knees, sweating blood because He absolutely knew what was about to happen to Him, God in the flesh did not choose pride or selfishness, but submitted Himself to have all the sin of the world leveled against Him when it was you and I who deserved it.
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42 NIV)
Yes, Jesus chose love in that moment.
And in that moment when all the past, present, and future free will choices of everybody who would ever be hung in the balance, the God of the Universe, of His own free will, chose not His own life--but ours.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 KJV)