It is vital to define what evil is. Law is…
It is vital to define what evil is.
Law is needed to define good and evil. Where there is no law there is no definition of good and evil. There is only good.
When God created the universe he said that everything was “good”, and “very good”.
In the Garden of Eden Adam became subject to God’s law when he was told not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
– Genesis 2:16-17 King James Version (KJV)
That command from God defined sin.
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
– 1 John 3:4 King James Version (KJV)
Where there is no law there is no sin.
New Living Translation
For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)
English Standard Version
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
King James Bible
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
An example is a roadway with no posted speed limit. In such a scenario there is no law on which to base giving a speeding ticket or citation.
God by the fact that he is God, and by the fact that there is no standard (law) above him by which to determine the goodness or evilness of his actions, cannot but be good. And everything He does cannot but be good.
The only standard that measures God’s actions is God Himself.
Since God is not under any law that binds and defines His actions He cannot but be good at all times.
“We affirm that He is under no rule or law outside of His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.”
– Arthur W. Pink
Ultimately good and evil are defined by God. But above God there is nothing that defines God, but He Himself.
And God is good.
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
Ancient Epicurean notion:
Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? … Why is there any misery at all in the world? Not by chance, surely. From some cause, then. It is from the intention of the deity? But he is perfectly benevolent. Is it contrary to his intention? But he is almighty. Nothing can shake the solidity of this reasoning, so short, so clear, so decisive… (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, pp. 88, 91).
Some have argued that the flaw with Epicurus’ logic is that we are trying to determine what is good or evil from our perspective, instead of God’s.
As someone said in a forum addressing this issue,
“The flaw with this logic is it presupposes a standard of good that may be applied to a god. Under most monotheistic systems, the god is the definition of good. So anything that it does, including not preventing evil, is still good.”