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Why are bad things permitted to happen?

The Lord’s governance of all people is called His Divine Providence.

There is nothing that happens outside of the care of the Lord and His providence. This does not mean that the Lord wills evil things to happen. The Lord is continually providing for all that is good and true and useful to effect us and inspire us. His will is only that good things happen. However, He also created people to be free. Therefore people make choices that are merely somewhat good, or partially good and sometimes downright evil and wrong. The Lord is present with people in these choices trying to bend them to a lesser evil or even to what is good. He will never exert His influence to the point where someone’s will is broken or pushed beyond their own free choice. We are also told that the Lord will only permit evil to happen if good may come from it. For example, we can see in the death of an individual how often it will impact people for good; by either inspiring others to change their lives, or live more spiritually, or some such thing. When evil things happen the Lord is there permitting it (not willing or desiring it to happen), providing that good might come from the choices made.

When it is said that God permits, this does not mean that He wills, but that He cannot avert on account of the end, which is salvation. Whatever is done for the sake of the end, namely, salvation, is according to the laws of the Divine Providence. (Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Providence 234)

We will be effected by our heredity that is passed on from our parents and ancestors, our environment, our experiences, and our ruling or dominant love. We are created to have free choice so it is completely up to us what we choose to do and what we choose to love. The Lord knows what we are going to choose but that doesn’t mean He is deciding for us. It means that He can allow for, and provide for, our choices.

Daily Inspiration

"The whole of heaven rests on love as its foundation. "

Arcana Coelestia 1055