The first three posts of this possible booklet:
Where is God?
What is evil?
Pain is not Evil
One of the central claims we are making here is that, by definition, evil is always a matter of motive and intention. A tornado that kills hundreds of people is not evil. It was simply following the laws of nature. On the other hand, if I know a tornado is headed toward my neighbor’s house and I intentionally decide not to tell her, perhaps hoping she will be killed, that is evil.
The question of God’s intention is also a question about evil. We believe God knew the tornado was going to happen and kill hundreds of people. We believe God could have stopped the tornado. So why didn’t God intervene to stop the deaths and destruction? How can God have a loving, good intent toward those people and not save them? 
The question of what God’s intention is during disaster is one of the key issues. Obviously Christians do not believe that God has any evil intentions. The tornado itself—indeed the deaths themselves are not evil. They are painful, but pain is morally neutral in itself. It can be a servant of good and it can be a servant of evil. Most of us would prefer not to have it, but it is not evil in itself.
For example, one reason our body has pain is to alert us that something is not right with our bodies. Which is better, to feel a quick shot of pain because we have touched a hot burner or to burn our hand beyond recognition? The pain in our chest, the pain that alerts us that we are having heart problems, it can save our lives, especially if it drives us to the doctor before a massive heart attack.
The displeasure of discipline, whether from our parents or from some other authority, can be of great benefit to us. It can help us develop good habits that will bring us much greater pleasure later on. At the very least it can help us avoid even greater pains. It can steer our lives in more profitable directions.
There is an order to the world, “laws,” if you would. Certainly humans create their own laws and rules, things that may or may not be beneficial. These are a matter of human will and so enter into the question of good and evil. But the laws of nature are a different matter when it comes to the question of evil. In themselves, they are neither good nor evil.
Things fall down. Gravity can keep us from flying off into space, or it can cause us to die falling off a cliff. In both cases, gravity itself is neither good nor evil. It just is. It can have good and bad consequences, but this is a question of context, not of evil intent.
Gravity is thus morally neutral. We can ask why God allows people to fall off cliffs. We can ask why evil men and women push people off of cliffs. But the gravity itself, the gravity that pulls people down when they are not standing on something, is not evil. It just can have really unpleasant consequences.
I am arguing that things like cancer, tsunamis, and even car accidents to some extent are mostly the playing out of the laws of nature. Human choices and human neglect can factor into them and to that extent they can have a moral element. We can also ask why God does not stop them, which is a question of God as a moral agent.
But we are arguing that these events themselves are largely the outworking of natural laws that God has built into the creation. They bring pain and human suffering, but they are not evil in themselves. Evil has to do with the intentions of moral agents.
Underlying this perspective is a fundamental distinction between events and their meaning, between actions and their significance. Meaning and significance are a matter of minds, not of things. An event or act in itself is only morally significant if it involves the intentions of a “moral agent” like God or a human being.
Since God sees everything, knows everything, since God designed the basic rules for the universe, then everything does have significance. But God has created the universe as something different from himself. He has made it a distinct reality from himself in some way we could not possibly imagine. The significance of things is accordingly something outside themselves, a function of God’s mind looking on them. And we obviously also find meaning in the world.
 We will discuss another approach to these issues later, namely, that good is by definition whatever God desires or wants. God could not thus do anything evil by definition. The problem here is that individuals usually use this definition to take actions the Bible elsewhere considers bad and make them good, while taking actions the Bible elsewhere considers good and make them bad.