I believe everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike, encounter this question at least one time in their life: If God is so good and loves us then why doesn’t he get rid of all the bad stuff? After all, the Bible makes it clear that God absolutely despises sin. So, why does He allow sin to exist and for bad things to happen?
I believe we need to start this discussion by stating that suffering wasn’t in God’s original intent for the world. He created man to commune with Him in a paradise called Eden that He declared good (Genesis 1:31). It wasn’t until Adam and Eve committed the first sin that we saw death and suffering in the world. Through this sin the world was cursed (Genesis 3:17). In Romans 8:20, we are also told that the sum of creation “not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it” was cursed, affirming that “ground” in the Genesis 3 passage was a reference to the Earth in its entirety.
So why does God allow suffering now? I did touch on the answer to this in Why Was the Tree in the Garden of Eden?, but I will now elaborate on how that relates directly with suffering. God wants us to choose to have a loving relationship with Him, (John 6:40) and if we choose a loving relationship with Him we will turn from our sin. What kind of choice would it be if we weren’t able to make that decision in the first place, though? If God prevented us from sinning, being that sin causes suffering, the only option left would be to follow Him. This leaves us with the sometimes unfortunate side effects of others’ actions. So while God could stop us from causing misery, ultimately it is through us that suffering exists.
While some suffering is directly at the hands of mankind, we do also have natural disasters and diseases. At first glance it can appear that these are not a result of our actions, thus pointing to God as the instigator. When we look back at the first sin in Genesis, how life was before that sin, and what has come from sin entering the world, though, we can see that isn’t the case. As we have established, in Genesis 1:31 God said that His creation was very good. This signifies a world that is without disease and natural disaster. We don’t see any of those things until after the world was cursed by Adam’s betrayal from committing the first sin.
In short, God allows us to make the decision to obey His commands or not. When people make the unfortunate choice not to adhere to His guidelines laid out in Scripture, they bring suffering into our world. The good news, though, is that if we have a loving relationship with Christ, we can one day join God in a creation that is devoid of suffering. We endure our suffering now, but we are only building up our wealth in Heaven for when we pass on into the next life (2 Corinthians 4:17).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome this world.” – John 16:33
This is one of the most difficult questions that I believe every human being asks. I will present the best answer I can give, but, honestly, I still ask myself this question to this day. Sometimes it seems like everything is perfect (or at least that life is going well) and then some tragedy happens to you or someone else that challenges what you were thinking. Is it really God, though, that allows terrible situations to occur in our lives and in the lives of those around us?
Bad “things” happen because of the decisions that we all make on a daily basis, and the Bible is clear on that fact.
“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.” – Matthew 15:19
It’s not the only reason they happen, but I would have to say it’s the majority. Maybe you had your seat belt on, but the drunk driver around the corner wasn’t paying attention and you had an accident. Someone decided it was funny to throw a heavy object from the top of a building, and it hit someone’s car or a person’s head, and the culprit was never caught. I can go on and on with different situations, but I’m sure you understand the point I’m making.
The second reason why bad things happen to good people around the world is the devil. Yes, Satan does exist, demons do what they can to make people’s lives hell on Earth, and the only way to stop them is guard yourself with God’s word and the name of Jesus.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:10
Many Christians, and people in general, don’t believe in the devil for various reasons, but many tragedies can be linked back to his influence. Of course, I’m not saying that he literally appears in physical form and makes accidents happen, but he does tempt and manipulate the minds of many people who, in turn, go and commit acts of crime and horror.
Praying in the name of Jesus for protection, and also declaring that all the devil’s plans are broken, is a major way you can help prevent and even reverse ill situations coming your way.
First World Problems
My last point that I will highlight is that people often complain about small issues that aren’t necessarily bad. For example, if you get a flat tire (which just happened to me recently) or say the wrong thing, those can have negative consequences, but they’re not the end of the world. Things happen in life that we just have to deal with or repair. That’s just the way life is.
If you are still struggling with questions, you need to give them to God. Ask Him to give you peace in whatever situation your dealing with. His love will guide you out of the darkness you may be dealing with. Remember that many men and women in the Bible had to go through a lot of struggles, but God never left their side as long as they didn’t leave His.
Trust in your Heavenly Father during the good times and the bad times.
This is a question you’ve probably have heard sometime in your life as a Christian. If you haven’t, then just wait: it is coming. But will you have an answer? I believe God allows bad things to happen for a reason, and that is to draw us closer to Him. As a Christian, your life isn’t going to be very easy. We’re going to go along the path that is not common to most people. We’ll be undergoing lots of trials, and temptations in our life because life is a test for us. We will always go through bad things in life, and even though it might be discouraging at times, we must look to what the Bible says about these trials.
“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.” – Ecclesiastes 7:14
“Yet, if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” – 1 Peter 4:16
The Bible says that we must rejoice when good and bad times come. It might not be easy at first because the bad thing might be very severe, but after the trial or temptation will ultimately make you a better person. Here is what Paul writes in Romans:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5
Paul says that suffering produces character within us. We can also use our testimonies of what we’ve gone through to help others who are struggling with the very same things.
I believe that whatever bad thing happens in our daily walk with Christ, God will make that negative into a positive. Later on, we’ll thank God once we realize that he made this bad thing into something good.
To answer the core question, we need to look in Genesis. God created everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Can sin fall into being considered “very good” by the creator of the universe? Well, the Bible never describes sin as anything short of the worst thing ever (Psalm 38:4; Titus 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Matthew 6:12-15; 1 John 1:6; Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 5:25), so there is no way that sin can be anything close to “very good,” as God described His creation in Genesis.
We have determined that sin was not part of God’s original creation. But then where did sin even come from? Once again, the foundational book of the Bible tells us exactly how this happened. What many dubbed as “The Fall” is when Satan used his wit to make Eve reconsider what God told her. You see, God had told Adam and Eve that everything they see is theirs, except one tree. That tree bears fruit, and they are not allowed to eat it. However, everything else is fair game (Genesis 2:15-17). What is the first thing that happens in the Bible after Eve is created? Satan tempts her by asking (and notice how he says this):
“… He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1b-5
Eve was already misunderstanding what God told her. God had simply said not to eat the fruit. Eve had mistaken Him and thought He also said not to touch the fruit, otherwise she would die. Satan used this to his advantage and played Eve like a fiddle. Of course, we all know how the story goes. Adam and Eve eat the fruit and boom! Sin enters the world.
Now why are we to pay for their mistake? Adam and Eve sinned, not us. Not so fast. We have all sinned and no one is perfect.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23
At one point, God was fed up with man. So much so that he was ready to judge us all and wipe us off the face of the planet, literally.
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” – Genesis 6:5-7
Thank the Lord for Noah. God ended up flooding the earth and destroying all human life, except for Noah and his family. God really hates sin.
What does all of this have to do with why God still allows bad things to happen here on planet Earth? I just wanted to give you background on how sin came to be and what God really thinks of it. You now know we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So… why does God allow us to live?
Yes, if we are sinners then we are asking the wrong question. We should not be asking God why he allows bad things to happen, but why He allows us to live. You cannot pick and choose what bad things get eliminated by God. Either all sin goes away or none of it does. As of now, we are allowed a way out of God’s judgment via accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior and living for Him (John 3:16). Do we still sin once we have accepted Him? Yes, it is inevitable in this world. However, Jesus shed his blood on the cross so that, when the end of the world happens, we will indeed feel fine.
Wesley Wood is an aspiring film director. He would love to make GOOD films to help spread God's word and help Christians grow.
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