Why is there so much "evil" in the world? Depending on the flavor of Christianity, the answer is because of Satan, because of man, or some mix thereof. At the root of that evil, regardless of the source, is a choice, a decision of Free Will.
So, when we ask why does God allow all of this evil in the world, the answer comes back that this evil is the natural consequence of Free Will, beings choosing to act against the will of God. The answer continues; this Free Will is necessary so that those who are saved for all eternity will not robotically love God, but rather will choose to love God with all of the depth and sincerity that we would find in the best human loves, or even greater. In order for this to occur, people also need to be able to utterly reject the will of God and to commit acts on the opposite end of that spectrum as well. Maybe so. Maybe not.
Now is about the time in the argument when many skeptics examine the themes of fate and predestination in the Bible, exploring the Salvation of the Elect, but let's dig a little deeper into the philosophical argument instead of that well trodden, and controversial, path.
What Is It?
First, let's look at what Free Will is. Clearly it is not the ability to choose to do anything, as you or I can't choose to fly like a bird, but no Christian would argue that that denies Free Will. You can't choose to be the president of the United States of America if you were born in Luxembourg, but, again, that's not a cancellation of Free Will, just a law. So Free Will can be said to be the ability within yourself to select from the options which are truly available to you, and those options can be, and are, limited.
(Some modern research is questioning whether or not the options are truly available to select or if the outcome is selected for you by chemical and other factors, but we'll set that aside for now.)
In most Christian theology, Free Will must include the option to love God or reject God, and part of that rejection of God is inextricably tied to the ability to work many kinds of evils to mankind. Is it really inextricable? Is evil really a necessary byproduct of the Free Will in this equation?
God has Free Will. No Christian could possibly argue to the contrary. Yet God is restricted in His Free Will, even more than we are. Really? In some very important ways, yes. Consider that God can't lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18), and even more significantly, God can't do evil (Job 34:10)! Furthermore, no Christian can argue against the depth or sincerity of God's love (1 John 4:9).
So God has Free Will, and has true love, but doing evil is not even an option for Him. God, Himself, is a model which proves that evil is not a necessary byproduct for Free Will to work.
But wait! What about that all-important choice? Could someone with God's type of Free Will still choose to reject God? That answer appears to be yes. Consider Deuteronomy 9:4, where God chose to favor the Israelites despite their non-deserving nature:
“It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” NIVAgain, consider how God chose to favor Jacob over Esau according to Romans 9:11-13
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” NIVIf God is free to choose to favor one person or group of people over another, then the flip side of that decision is that He chose not to favor another. In other words, God chose to give His love in one case and not in another.
So if we operated with God-like Free Will, we would be prevented from working evils on each other, yet we would be capable of love, and it would be our choice who we love, and the depth and sincerity of that love.
Evil is not a necessary byproduct of Free Will, at least if you can trust what the Bible says about God. That creates an HUGE problem.
Why? Well, then, evil is not necessary. If evil is not necessary, then all of our suffering as the consequence of evils is meaningless and pointless. If this suffering is optional, then God is not good or loving, because no good God would intentionally make His beloved creations suffer for no reason.
This position is reinforced by the concept of Salvation, because at that time, the Elect will arise to a life where they can't do any evils or even the smallest sins. All it would take is to lift that restriction on sin, to allow for a choice of not to love God, and you have a valid selection process which would work on Earth without the need for all of this unsavory evil. Now how God could fairly treat those who chose not to love Him is a matter for further debate.