The freedom to choose, often called “free will, ” leads to pain and evil. Perhaps not our own choice, but, ultimately going against the Unconditional Good leads to pain and evil in this Universe.
The Bible presents a paradox. In a remarkable exercise of his sovereignty, God has given humanity the freedom to make moral choices. In more than twenty passages, the Bible clearly states that every person makes wrong moral choices. Because by nature we tend to choose our will over and against God’s will, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Such acts of rebellion against God produce most heartaches and suffering.
An atheist may rightly reject such an answer, but only if he or she is first willing to face a much more difficult question. Harold Kushner describes the atheist’s dilemma this way: “He has to explain why there is love, honesty, generosity, courage, and altruism in the world, and why it feels so good and so right when we let those qualities into our lives.”