Those of us who believe God is sovereign over all things must be careful when we talk about evil. God is not the author of evil. Death is no more from God than poor grammar comes from the mouth of an English professor. Crime is not from God. War is not from God. Abuse, lying, stealing, murder, hate, and every other destructive act and attitude of mankind are not from God. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and other agents of destruction are not from God. The "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2) is the source of death and destruction. Diabolos is the Destroyer. His minions are his agents. The devil and his legions are the enemies of all that is good and constructive in this world. The Apostle Paul states your ultimate battle as a believer in Christ is not against "flesh and blood" (humanity), but against "principalities and powers" (demonic entities), and "the wiles of the devil" -- a whole host of evil agents in the spiritual realm (Eph. 6:10-20). They are those who destroy. C.S. Lewis once wrote:
The more a man is in the Devil's power, the less he is aware of it, on the principle that a man is still fairly sober as long as he knows he's drunk. It is the people who are fully awake and trying hard to be good who would be most aware of the Devil.Though all evil has its source from Diabolos, the Scripture states there are three great agents of Satan's destructive evil - the world (the anti-God system of living), the flesh (the internal anti-God spirit of man), and demons (fallen angels who are anti-God beings). God can no more actively create evil than rain can create fire. It is impossible. The world, the flesh and the devils create their own destruction. Evil is against the nature of God for "Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights who does not change" (James 1:17).
Yet, the Most High God is sovereign. How can God be sovereign and there still be destructive evil in this world?
(1). When a tornado ("strong wind") afflicted Job, it was sent from "the prince of the power of the air" (see Job 1) but ultimately orchestrated by God for Job's good (Romans 8:28). Our insurance companies have poor theology (as did Job's servants). They all want to call fires and winds that destroy crops and kill people "acts of God" (see Job 1:16), but in reality the Scripture is quite clear these things come from "the prince of the power of the air" or Diabolos (see Job 1:12-16).
When Jesus who is Emmanuel ("God with us") calmed the storm on the sea, He rebuked the wind and said "Peace, be still" (Mark 4:39). Literally, Jesus said, "Quiet, be muzzled." These are the same words Jesus uses when He casts out demons in the gospels. Christ treated the storm on the sea as an antagonistic and rebelling force under a dominating and unrestrained power (the prince of the power of the air). However, His word is sufficient to overrule the chaos of evil and bring calm. Conflicts, rebellions, storms, wars, and all destructive forces have their source in Diabolos, who is the author of confusion in both the physical and spiritual worlds. The King of Good can overrule him.
This truth leads many to ask, "If God can overrule every act of evil, then why does He not overrule every act of evil?" Answer: He did not create robots. The Most High allows the wicked to be wicked. He did not make them this way. The Most High, however, "will work all things for good to those who love Him" (Romans 8:28). This verse does not mean a tornado is good. This verse does not mean an act of evil is good. It means that if God does not calm the storm, He will cover the saint. The word "work" in Romans 8:28 is the same word in Greek from which we get our English word "symphony." Beautiful music contains minor notes, and the stunning composition God is orchestrating in your life might sometimes includes minor notes. God does not play the instrument, but He sure knows how to orchestrate for your good what the devil, your flesh and this world intend for your destruction (see Genesis 50:20).
(2). Illnesses such as cancer and heart disease are not from God. Aging, loss of eyesight and hearing, physical deformities and mental deterioration are not from God. All these things are enemies to God's people. Death is our last and greatest enemy (I Corinthians 15:21). Death is not from God. It is an intrusion into life, and God is the author and sustainer of life.
Yet, Jesus Christ, the Most High God, holds the keys of life and death (see Revelation 1:18). It has been said that when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He cried "Lazarus, come forth" for if He had just said "Come forth" every dead body in the cemetery would have been raised to life! Christ kills no one. Christ, however, holds the keys of life and death. He has the power to grant life, and He has the sovereignty to permit death. Death is an enemy, just like a destructive tornado, or any act of evil is an enemy to God and His people. If Christ can prevent death and evil, and if Christ can grant life and good, then why won't He prevent every death and grant everyone life and goodness?
Again, the Most High did not create robots. We are free-will agents who were created to be in submission to God. A humble heart under the sovereign reign of the King of Kings will take on the character of the King of Good. Goodness, love, mercy, kindness, patience, joy, meekness, are all fruits of the Spirit and evidence of spiritual life from God that will lead one to acts of constructive good for the world and other people. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God that He may lift you up in due time" (I Peter 5:6).
I believe in a sovereign God. My faith in Christ is steadied by my faith in His power. I desire my fellow believers who struggle with the sovereignty of God to realize that when I speak of the Most High's sovereignty, I am not saying He is the author or source of evil or destruction and death in this world or in our lives. Scripture teaches me that the prince of evil is overruled by the King of Good. Jesus Christ came and inaugurated an eternal kingdom that is currently in the process of overcoming all other kingdoms (Daniel 2), including the kingdom of Diabolos. In the consummation of time, the Kingdom of God will reign on a transformed earth where the curse of sin and death is fully reversed. Amen.