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1.35 If God is all-powerful, why do disasters happen? Why is there evil?

Evil and suffering

There is a difference between evil caused by people and other bad things like natural disasters. Man received free will from God, and he can make good or bad choices. If God would intervene, we would no longer be free!

Why natural disasters occur, and why God does not intervene to stop the horrible evil committed by some people, remains a mystery. It is, however, never a punishment from God, who is full of love. God commiserates with those who suffer and inspires people to help each other. If we cooperate with him, then evil can never have the last word.

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Neither the world nor the people in it are perfect, hence bad things happen. God proves his omnipotence by bringing good out of evil.

The Wisdom of the Church

If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, why does he not prevent evil?

“God allows evil only so as to make something better result from it” (St. Thomas Aquinas).   

Evil in the world is an obscure and painful mystery. even the Crucified asked his Father, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). Much about it is incomprehensible. One thing, though, we know for sure: God is 100 percent good. he can never be the originator of something evil. God created the world to be good, but it is not yet complete. In violent upheavals and painful processes it is being shaped and moved toward its final perfection. There is what is called physical evil, for example, a birth defect, or a natural catastrophe and these remain puzzling with respect to God’s goodness. Moral evils, in contrast, come about through the misuse of freedom in the world. “hell on earth”—child soldiers, suicide bombings, concentration camps—is usually man-made. The decisive question is therefore not, "How can anyone believe in a good God when there is so much evil?” but rather, “How could a person with a heart and understanding endure life in this world if God did not exist?” Christ’s death and resurrection show us that evil did not have the first word, nor does it have the last. God made absolute good result from the worst evil. We believe that in the last Judgment God will put an end to all injustice. In the life of the world to come, evil no longer has any place and suffering ends. [Youcat 51]

This is what the Church Fathers say

Assuredly [God] is rightly to be called omnipotent, though he can neither die nor fall into error. For he is called omnipotent on account of his doing what he wills, not on account of his suffering what he wills not. [St. Augustine, The City of God, Bk. 5, Chap. 10 (ML 41, 152)]