[Editor’s note: There are several questions here.  Answers are interspersed in italics]

I am struggling with questions! I have so many and need to discuss with someone.

1) There is nothing that exists that was not created by GOD, so why make wickedness/evil to begin with?

I am currently teaching a class in which I address this question.  Here is a link for the class.    https://youtu.be/mFXEbd7rPVw

Let me give you the very quick version here.  Everything that God has created is good.  In fact, it is very good! (Genesis 1:31)  This is true, and nothing that God has created is evil.  However, believe it or not, there are things in this universe that were not created by God.  For example, the words I am typing right now were created by me, not by God (although God created me and is indirectly responsible for my ability to create these words). God created us and he gave us free will.  Love always does this.  The reason we exist at all, if I understand it correctly, is because God wanted to love us and he wanted us to love him and to love one another.  But love, almost by definition, give choice. We cannot force someone to love us. Because God loved us and wanted us to love him, he gave us free will so that we could choose to love Him if we so choose.  That is why the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the Garden of Eden–so that Adam and Eve could choose whether to obey God or not.  Well, you know what happened.  They rebelled.  They sinned, and brought evil into the world.  Evil is not created by God–ever. Evil is created by human beings who rebel against God and choose an evil nature.

2) We are told to stay prayerful, but aren’t these times already written?

No.  These times are not already written.  In Matthew 6:10 Jesus tells us to pray that God’s will be done.  This means that God’s will is not always done.  God foreknows what will happen, but he does NOT predetermine what happens.  There is a theological system called Calvinism which is common in Christianity. This theology proposes what you say, which is that God determines all that happens.  They propose that the salvation of damnation of all is predestined by God, but this is not a correct theology.  Calvinism is false theology.  God does not predetermine what happens, which is why he asks us to pray that his will be done!

3) Prophecy says no one will be spared, yet we are advised/encouraged to pray. I am a prayerful person, but what are we praying for if it’s already written, and no one will be spared?

Prophecy does NOT say that no one will be spared.  I do not know where you heard that, but if you heard it, you heard incorrectly.  There are hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament (I am not exaggerating!) that talk about God’s judgement, but also talks about God’s remnant.  God always leaves a remnant of faithful believers. Always.  There are so many passages on this, I am having trouble choosing!  Ezekiel 5:1-3, Isaiah 10:20, Jeremiah 42:2-19, Amos 5:15 and many, many more.

4) Are vaccines the mark of the beast?

Of course not.  Please forgive me for putting it this way, but that is an absolutely ridiculous proposal.  Who is so crazy as to say this?  I would like to talk to that person!  It sounds like a conspiracy theorist.  If you know someone who said this, I propose that you should not listen to a single thing they say!!!!  If God gives us the ability to use science to prevent disease, who has the nerve to say that it is sinful to use this cure, and who has the nerve to say, without any biblical evidence at all, that this cure for disease is the mark of the beast.  You can tell that this is making me just a bit angry.

5) Why does God allow the devil to reign and have so much power over HIS creations? No matter how much my children want to make their own decisions or rebel, I reel them back in and guide them. I wouldn’t just leave my daughter to drink and smoke because she has free will. She’s my creation, my child, I wouldn’t allow her to be led astray. We are His children, his flock. Why does God let Satan do evil? WHY!

A good question.  It comes back to question #1.  God is sovereign, but in his love, God grants choice to some of his creation.  Trees obey God.  Stars obey God. Sheep and cows and cats obey God, but humans and, apparently, some angels, do not obey God. God, in his love and in his wisdom, allows his created beings with free will to rebel and to bring evil into the world.  You or I may not agree with God’s decision in this respect, but I believe that God is good, that God is powerful, that God is just and that God is love, and I trust God on this issue, even if it causes me to struggle.  Yes, it is true that when your children are small, you reel them back in.  True.  But, because you love them, you let them go.  When they become adults, because you love them and respect them, you stop dictating to them how to live their lives.  Aren’t you glad that your parents do not decide everything you do?  Would that be love if they did?  No it would not!  Love gives choices, and your child analogy, though relevant, does not overcome this fact.  God did not make you a robot.  He wants your love.  That is why!!!

6) It was predetermined who will be saved and who is damned…for example Judas betrayed Jesus. He was damned from birth. His life path was already drawn out. How is that fair? Is that free-will? The end result, no matter the choices we make in between in this life, will always be the end result. He was created to be doomed to hell?

I am guessing that, unfortunately, you were raised in a branch of Protestant Christianity that accepts predestination.  Groups such as Presbyterians and most Baptists are, unfortunately, taught this false doctrine, but it is a false doctrine.  “God desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  1 Timothy 2:4.  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not just for part of it–not just for the Calvinist “elect.” (1 John 2:2).  Your premise is not biblical.  God does not decide who will be saved.  He gives us free will and he holds us accountable to our own choices at judgment day. God predetermined that Judas would betray Jesus, but Judas could have repented and been saved, just like Peter repented and was saved.

7) Each generation thoroughout time from the Old Testament to now, has been wicked. But God is all-knowing, so Why does history keep replaying itself?

Elijah said something almost exactly like this, but then God admonished him.  “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18).  It can seem daunting to look at all the evil in the world, but there are many who do love God.  I like to think that you are one of them!  I like to think that I am.  We see the wickedness in the world. So does God, but God’s means of bringing light into the world is through you and me, so let’s get out there and spread some light around. There are still 7,000 in your city who have not bowed their head to greed and capitalism, sexual immorality, wordliness, lying all the other sinful things of the world. History keeps replaying itself because we are of the flesh, and most people do not accept God’s love, but many do, so let’s help God do his work of saving the remnant. 

I have known many believers who turn from God, not because they want to do evil, but because they’ve been prayerful and can’t imagine or come up with a good explanation for why so many bad things happen in the world. And they resort to believing God doesn’t exist.

True, so please spread my answer to your friends.  I hope it can help son.  God bless.

John Oakes

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