What are some ways that the Holy Spirit restrains evil and promotes goodness in humanity at large?

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One of the difficult questions is to understand what and how the Holy Spirit is functioning in this world. His work is mysterious and difficult to grasp, to understand. The Holy Spirit is always present and active. He has always been present and active in the world. One of his tasks, one of his functions in the world is to promote that which is good and to restrain evil. And I think the simplest answer to the question of how he does that and how we know he does that is to say that the world, the fallen world, could be a whole lot worse if it were not for the presence of the Spirit's restraining power in the world, and it would be a whole lot less good than it is if the Spirit were not present and active in his world. Theologians talk about God's special grace and God's common grace, and God's common grace is available to all, so that all who live in a world where the Spirit is present experience some of the goodness that comes from him, and also receive the benefits of his restraining of evil. Christians of all traditions would also say one more thing about that, is that we are looking forward to the day when there is no evil to be restrained and when there will be nothing but good in the world that God has created.

Answer by Dr. Glenn R. Kreider

Dr. Glenn Kreider is a Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.