If God is Love itself and God is omnipotent , as the Bible suggests, there are events in the universe that seem to contradict this idea. For example, why does God allow evil to manifest and flourish on Earth? Why does He not eradicate all the violence, poverty, disease and misery? In order to answer these difficult questions, we must understand how and why the universe was created in the first place.
It is true that God is omnipotent but He created the universe from His own substance and according to His form. We know that His substance is Divine Love and His form is Divine Wisdom. This means that God is Infinite Light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Divine Love is a substance that is infinitely and harmonically organized. And this organization is Divine Wisdom or Truth. Thus, God can only intend what is Good or unselfish, think harmonic or True thoughts and do what is Just.
Now, in order to realize His substance or Divine Love, God requires beings other than Himself to love. And these beings cannot just be automatons or robots that are compelled to love God; they must possess a self that is free, distinct and separate from Himself. This means that they should be able to reject God’s Truth or even hate God if they desire. This is made possible by the material world. Just like the natural self of man, the natural world is a world of spiritual darkness where Truth and Love can be FREELY and WILLINGLY received and reflected to the creator.
Thus, Divine Truth and Love are projected harmonically into all the lower dimensions of the universe by correspondence and influx. But, when Love reaches the level of the earth, it must be freely reflected or reciprocated harmonically by all existential beings in order to return into Heaven and the Lord. However, due to the freedom and uncertainty of existence, human beings can choose to reject God’s love and instead love themselves and the world. And, although God desires that all beings in the universe choose Light, Love and Truth, He must allow beings to freely choose darkness (selfishness) and reject Him or else the freedom of loving would be abolished. When humans freely, willingly and consistently choose darkness (selfishness) over Light (unselfishness), they can no longer withstand the Light (Truth) and Fire (Love) of Heaven and tend to feel more at ease in realms of spiritual obscurity (hell).
Thus, we can see that God is still omnipotent but He is compelled to allow darkness (selfishness) in the universe in order to fulfill His Divine Plan. And what is His Divine Plan? He desires to produce a realm where He can share true Love with beings that He loves and who truly love Him in return. And how does He know that they truly love Him? All angels in Heaven are human beings of previous ages that have FREELY and WILLINGLY chosen to love God in return. When they were on Earth, they could have rejected God and fulfilled their selfish lusts. But they freely chose to love God and other beings instead. And this is how God knows that they truly love Him.
We can now also understand that the material plane of the Earth is a place where we can freely choose between Good (unselfishness) and evil (selfishness), Truth and lies, Light and darkness. God, through Divine Providence, correspondence and influx, is always guiding our souls into the Light of Heaven and away from the darkness of hell. But we must always reserve the freedom to choose the darkness of hell. All those beings who are in hell have freely chosen to be there from their own volition. They prefer to love their own self than to love God and other beings. And God respects their choice and continues to love them even though they may hate and reject Him.
Now, we can also perceive that it is our inner relationship with God and other beings that is important, not the outer events on Earth. These outer events are only displaying what is happening within the hearts and minds of humanity. There is violence, war, disease and poverty because human beings are still in love of self and the world. And God allows these events because we can only be reformed and regenerated through freedom and rationality. These events also serve to show us what is exactly in our hearts and minds. Moreover, the Lord eventually uses every evil event in the further realization of His Divine Plan.
Hence, instead of trying to change others or the world, we should be more concerned with changing our own mind (or repenting) and resisting our own selfish urges. The earth is just a school or seminary where we build our soul, reform our understanding by studying the Word and regenerate our will through temptation. This is how we eventually develop a spiritual body that is able to withstand the radiance of Truth and the fire of Heavenly Love. Otherwise, we will not be able to enter the harmonic fields of Heaven and we will be compelled to remain in the darkness of selfishness (or hell).
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life… DEUTERONOMY 30:19-20
WHY DOES GOD LET IT HAPPEN? by Bruce Henderson, courtesy of Swedenborg Foundation