[I have a few more thoughts to add on the discussion of good ol' "the problem of evil". in response to "J". Then follows below, his next issue/question]
Evil is not a created thing. It is the lack of a created thing being in conformity with God's will. First there is GOOD . . . then a deviation from GOOD, from God--a "turning away"--into a corruption of that Intended GOOD which begins something like an absence of Good/God. Then a continued looking at . . . living in . . . and focus upon that corruption/absence of God . . . produces more corruption/"darkness" (since God is Light) leading eventually to chaos, death and pure evil (where there is NO experience of GOOD, of LIGHT . . . . Since God is the source of LIFE, a turning away from Him, of course, leads to DEATH . . . .
So, evil is not a thing in and of itself (as "dualists" claim, co-existent with God) but, rather, a parasite against--a perversion of--good.
God's Word says--and we can see for ourselves--that everyone is born with an innate knowledge that GOD IS. Whether we suppress the knowledge or not, we all know and accept that some actions are simply/absolutely just "wrong" (or evil) (ie., the willful rape, torture and murder of an innocent child.) There can only be EVIL . . . because first . . . there is GOOD (God/God's will) and then, derivatively . . . a turning away from or corruption of that Will.
But aside from recognizing that this is true, here is something else to understand which trumps even that knowledge.
First . . . there is God.
He is and always was and always will be.
He has certain characteristics, ie., personality traits . . . which are the foundation and basis for all subsequent "reality" (such a love, logic, "personableness", what we call "holiness", "justness"...)
Because He is all-powerful, omnipotent . . . He can do anything which does not contradict His very nature/character. [It is a nonsense statement and mere fallacious absurdity to argue that He ought to be able to do something against His nature if He is "all-powerful" ie., create a square circle.]
Now, being omnipotent, He has created a universe and separate beings . . . who are relatively capable of "turning away from" or "corrupting" His intended Will/creation.
He allows it to continue . . . for a time . . . to show the glory (immensity) of His nature . . . through the use of contrast--light vs. dark, hate vs. love, good vs. evil etc. (within the creation)--to develop in the creatures He made to love . . . a greater, more meaningful love and appreciation for Him--a love and devotion they experience and return to Him through the (relative) free will He allows them to exercise . . . .
Heh, which leads to considering the next issue you have brought up (free will) . . . another doozy, lol. (Knowing you as I do, I find it pleasantly confirming that your questions and ponderings are the top shelf issues indeed. . . .)
"My next question isn’t so much of a question as it is something I find seriously irksome. It involves the concept of free will.
I accept or concede (however you wish to look at it) that everyone has free will. I’m exercising mine right now in the form of composing this message to you, thereby proving that I do indeed have free will. What troubles me is that the ability to exercise free will is imbalanced.
I’ll go to an admittedly absurd length here to make the point: Theoretically, I could go next door right now, murder the guy who lives there in his sleep, lock the kids in the basement, and spend the next few hours ravaging his wife as I pleased. I have no intention of doing this for any number of reasons, but it is within the realm of possibility in terms of free will. However, I believe that I shouldn’t have the ability to do such a thing because it constitutes the imposition of my free will upon others -and the temporary or permanent suspension of their ability to exercise their free will.
Let me phrase it differently: My legal rights (yes, this is apples and oranges, but hear me out) end where your nose begins. The same should damn well apply to free will. Alas, it does not.
Again, this is something that seriously annoys me and isn’t a question as such, but comments or insights are most welcome. take care, J"