I’ve made this point in various ways before: We obviously do not know exactly why God allows certain evil acts to occur, but the answer is certainly NOT going to be, “Oh, you care more about sick children than God does,” or, “God wasn’t paying close enough attention when the Holocaust happened.”
Let me try to crystallize the impudence and ignorance of such second-guessing by picking a very specific act of evil where we do know the full story. Imagine someone confronting God in the following manner:
I really question your motives. If you’re supposed to be omnipotent, then why did you let this totally innocent man–he was a carpenter from Nazareth–get brutally tortured and then murdered? This one wasn’t even close. The guy did nothing but go around teaching people and helping them recover from illnesses. But because he spoke truth to power, the authorities had him killed. How you can sit back and let that happen just proves you have a sick sense of justice. Christopher Hitchens was right.
Now if you don’t believe anything like the God of the Christian Bible exists, fair enough, this post may strike you as irrelevant. But many atheists (including Hitchens) go further than that, and argue that even on its own terms, Christianity is monstrous. There are famous arguments contrasting God’s omnipotence with His benevolence.
So in response to those types of immanent critiques, I offer the above thought experiment. The Christian is able to reply very specifically on this, the worst of all injustices in human history. The answer is much more than simply saying, “Well God wanted free will” or “Adam and Eve brought sin into the world.”
No, on this particular act of evil, God could say, “Of course this was a horrible act. My understanding and moral code are infinitely more developed than yours. But given the structure of the universe–which I designed for quite specific reasons–this was a necessary event in order to save humanity from itself.”
To repeat, if you want to throw out the whole gospel as a string of tall tales, OK. But on its own terms, Christianity has a very good answer for why God allowed the worst act of evil ever. I am confident that He has good reasons for every other act of evil as well.