Before you begin to read this article, I needed to let you know, I have been pondering a lot on this question that has been on my mind. Plus it was the results of many people I have encounter in real life and encounter in a irc chat room that many posed this question to me. This article was researched and prayed about to write something like this for you to read.
This had a profound effect on me as of late and has caused me to dig deeper into the question asked in a paragraph below. First of all I take no credit for all that was written here, most of these comments posted are from many well know men around the world.
Many are Pastors, Teachers, Scholars and Authors of well written commentaries. Bottom line too many to list here but the main credit goes to the Holy Spirit for using me to seek and to find many of the topics discussed here, much that was written by these men and me included.
This is in a way a combining the efforts from all these people and the credit is shared by all of them, following God to speak about what they encounter in asking the same question. Were all of one mind and in one accord here. So I needed to say this before we got started. The real intent and hopes of writing this here was to help share some insights and help you in a way to understand and address the questions were going to talk about.
Before we get into the article of asking a life long question of asking why does God allow bad things to happen we have to understand one very important fact.
A harsh reality of life is that it can sometimes be deeply painful. Too often, we encounter stories of loss, sickness, abuse, death and tragedy. And, our own lives are scarred by experiences we wish had never happened. In all this sadness and pain it is right that we should ask “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”
There are two ways to look at this question. First of all, technically speaking there are no good people. The Bible says in Romans 3:12, “All have turned aside. Together they have become useless. There is none who does good. There is not even one.”
The reason there are none who are good is because God alone is truly good. Luke 18:19 says, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” God is the standard of righteousness, and all of us have fallen short of that standard (Rom. 3:23). Therefore, there really aren’t any good people and bad things to happen to them. So the question we deal with all the time from many we encounter are.
Q. If God is in control of everything, why do bad things happen to us? I’d like to believe in God, but I just can’t understand this.
A. I’ve been asked hundreds of times why God allows evil to take place, and I have to tell you honestly that I do not know the answer—not fully, believe me I have tried to answer it. The Bible talks about “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, KJV)—and that’s what evil is: a mystery.
On the other hand, from a human perspective there are decent people who are very nice. They are honest, don’t lie, don’t steal, and treat people very well. So, though they aren’t perfect, they are trying to do what’s right. So why would God allow bad things to happen to them? The easiest answer lies in the effect of sin.
Sin is in the world and it affects everyone to different degrees. Because of this sin it brought about evil into the world. But let me tell you three very important truths about evil that might help you.
First, the Bible tells us that evil does not come from God, nor can we blame God for all the evils in the world. Evil comes instead from Satan, and it entered this world when Satan deceived Adam and Eve and caused them to turn against God. Both evil and Satan are real, and the two go hand-in-hand.
Second, the Bible tells us that someday all evil will be banished. The vast spiritual conflict between Satan and God that has raged from the beginning of time will be over, and God will be triumphant. Someday all evil will be cast “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
Third, the Bible tells us that in the meantime, God can give us victory over evil. This doesn’t mean bad things will never happen to us—but even when they do, we can know God is with us, and He will give us strength to stand against them.
Isn’t it better to face life’s problems with God rather than without Him? No, we may not understand everything that happens to us—but when we know Christ, we know we are on the winning side.
So If evil came from Lucifer Who became Satan, why did God create him?
“Why did God create Lucifer who later became Satan knowing ahead of time he was going to rebel?” This question is a little trickier because we are asking a “why” question to which the Bible does not usually provide comprehensive answers. Some would also say that God knowing this and allowed it made him not perfect as if he knew this was going to happen. Despite that, we should be able to come to a limited understanding. We have already seen that God is omniscient.
So, if God knew that Lucifer who later became Satan would rebel and fall from heaven, yet He created him anyway, it must mean that the fall of Satan was part of God’s sovereign plan from the beginning. No other answer makes sense given what we’ve seen thus far.
The Bible doesn’t spell out all of God’s reasons for creating him who became Satan, but it is important to remember that everything God created was initially “very good” (Gen. 1:31), and things only went wrong when the devil rebelled against his Creator (sometime shortly after the creation week, not before as many believe), and then human beings followed suit.
This is important since God did not create anything that was morally evil, and so He is not morally blameworthy for the evil that exists. Satan has no one to blame but himself for the choices he’s made.
So did God knew this would happen in advance? Of course, so He must have had a good reason for allowing evil into His creation. In the end, it must be worth it in God’s eyes to create a world in which He knew the devil and others would rebel against Him. I believe God is ultimately accomplishing a greater good through all the evil that the devil brings about.
First, we should understand that knowing Satan would rebel is not the same thing as making Satan rebel. The angel Lucifer had a free will and made his own choices. God did not create Lucifer as the devil; He created him good (Genesis 1:31).
In trying to understand why God created Satan, knowing he would rebel, we should also consider the following facts:
1) Lucifer had a good and perfect purpose before his fall. Lucifer’s rebellion does not change God’s original intent from something good to something bad.
2) God’s sovereignty extends to Satan, even in his fallen condition. God is able to use Satan’s evil actions to ultimately bring about God’s holy plan (see 1 Timothy 1:20 and 1 Corinthians 5:5).
3) God’s plan of salvation was ordained from eternity past (Revelation 13:8); salvation requires something to be saved from, and so God allowed Satan’s rebellion and the spread of sin.
4) The suffering that Satan brought into the world actually became the means by which Jesus, in His humanity, was made the complete and perfect Savior of mankind: “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered” (Hebrews 2:10).
5) From the very beginning, God’s plan in Christ included the destruction of Satan’s work (see 1 John 3:8).
Ultimately, we cannot know for sure why God created Satan, knowing he would rebel. It’s tempting to assume that things would be “better” if Satan had never been created or to declare that God should have done differently.
But such assumptions and declarations are unwise. In fact, to claim we know better than God how to run the universe is to fall into the devil’s own sin of promoting himself above the Most High (Isaiah 14:13–14).
We see in Scripture that God often permits evil in order to bring about a greater blessing. Consider what Joseph said in Gen. 50:20 about how God accomplished a righteous end through the wicked actions of his brothers, or how God used Satan to test Job so that he and all those who read his story could gain wisdom and be blessed. God even turned the greatest evil into the greatest good, when Jesus was crucified (Acts 2:23; Rom. 5:18–19).
Ok, if this was the case, then why does God not stop bad things from happen to people?
The answer is: God bestowed on us free will. But unfortunately, we humans have abused our free will by rejecting God and walking away from Him. And that has resulted in the introduction of two kinds of evil into the world: moral evil and natural evil.
Moral evil is the immorality and pain and suffering and tragedy that come because we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, hateful and abusive. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
So much of the world’s suffering results from the sinful action or inaction of ourselves and others. For example, people look at a famine and wonder where God is, but the world produces enough food for each person to have 3,000 calories a day. It’s our own irresponsibility and self-centeredness that prevents people from getting fed.
In other words: look at your hand. You can choose to use that hand to hold a gun and shoot someone, or you can use it to feed hungry people. It’s your choice. But it’s unfair to shoot someone and then blame God for the existence of evil and suffering. Like that old cartoon said: “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”
The second kind of evil is called natural evil. These are things like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes that cause suffering for people. But these, too, are the indirect result of sin being allowed into the world. As one author explained: “When we humans told God to shove off, He partially honored our request.
Nature began to revolt. The earth was cursed. Genetic breakdown and disease began. Pain and death became part of the human experience.”
The Bible says it’s because of sin that nature was corrupted and “thorns and thistles” entered the world. Romans 8:22 says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” In other words, nature longs for redemption to come and for things to be set right. That’s the source of disorder and chaos.
Let’s make this crystal clear once more: God did not create evil and suffering. Now, it’s true that he did create the potential for evil to enter the world, because that was the only way to create the potential for genuine goodness and love. But it was human beings, in our free will, who brought that potential evil into reality.
Some people ask, “Couldn’t God have foreseen all of this?” And no doubt he did. But look at it this way: many of you are parents. Even before you had children, couldn’t you foresee that there was the very real possibility they may suffer disappointment or pain or heartache in life, or that they might even hurt you and walk away from you?
Of course — but you still had kids. Why? Because you knew there was also the potential for tremendous joy and deep love and great meaning.
Now, the analogy is far from perfect, but think about God. He undoubtedly knew we’d rebel against Him, but He also knew many people would choose to follow Him and have a relationship with Him and spend eternity in heaven with Him — and it was all worth it for that, even though it would cost His own Son great pain and suffering to achieve their redemption.
So, first, it helps me to remember, as I ponder the mystery of pain and evil, that God did not create them. The second point of light is this: Though suffering isn’t good, God can use it to accomplish good.
He does this by fulfilling His promise in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Notice that the verse doesn’t say God causes evil and suffering, just that he promises to cause good to emerge. And notice that the verse doesn’t say we all will see immediately or even in this life how God has caused good to emerge from a bad circumstance.
Remember, we only see things dimly in this world. And notice that God doesn’t make this promise to everyone. He makes the solemn pledge that he will take the bad circumstances that befall us and cause good to emerge if we’re committed to following Him.
Ok then again, back to the original question – If God has the power to eradicate evil and suffering, then why doesn’t He do it?”
The answer is that because He hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean He won’t do it. let’s say if someone wrote a novel. What if you read only half of it and then slammed it down and said, “Well, that was a terrible job with that book. There are too many loose ends with the plot. He didn’t resolve all the issues with the characters.” I’d say, “Hey – you only read half the book!”
And the Bible says that the story of this world isn’t over yet. It says the day will come when sickness and pain will be eradicated and people will be held accountable for the evil they’ve committed. Justice will be served in a perfect way. That day will come, but not yet.
So what’s holding God up? One answer is that some of you may be. He’s actually delaying the consummation of history in anticipation that some of you will still put your trust in Him and spend eternity in heaven. He’s delaying everything out of His love for you.
SecondPeter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”To me, that’s evidence of a loving God, that He would care that much for you.
We’ve all seen examples of how the same suffering that causes one person to turn bitter, to reject God, to become hard and angry and sullen, can cause another person to turn to God, to become more gentle and more loving and more tender, willing to reach out to compassionately help other people who are in pain.
Some who lose a child to a drunk driver turn inward in chronic rage and never-ending despair; another turns outward to help others by founding Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
As one philosopher said: “I believe all suffering is at least potential good, an opportunity for good. It’s up to our free choice to actualize that potential. Not all of us benefit from suffering and learn from it, because that’s up to us, it’s up to our free will.”
God’s ultimate answer to suffering isn’t an explanation; it’s the incarnation. Suffering is a personal problem; it demands a personal response. And God isn’t some distant, detached, and disinterested deity; He entered into our world and personally experienced our pain.
Jesus is there in the lowest places of our lives. Are you broken? He was broken, like bread, for us. Are you despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do you cry out that you can’t take any more? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Did someone betray you? He was sold out. Are your most tender relationships broken? He loved and He was rejected. Did people turn from you? They hid their faces from Him as if He were a leper.
Does He descend into all of our hells? Yes, He does. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote these words: “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.” Every tear we shed becomes his tear.
So when tragedy strikes, as it will; when suffering comes, as it will; when you’re wrestling with pain, as you will – and when you make the choice to run into His arms, here’s what you’re going to discover: you’ll find peace to deal with the present, you’ll find courage to deal with your future, and you’ll find the incredible promise of eternal life in heaven. All of us will go through pain and suffering.
God does not send bad things to punish us or test us. In fact, God does not send them at all. Rather I sense that there are powerful forces loose in the world, forces like evil, disease and death. What is God’s role in all this turmoil? If God is not sending the disease, the accidents, the tragedies, then why not, Zeus-like, step in and prevent them?
For me, this is a harder question to answer. The experience of the individual cries so clearly for divine intervention, for healing, for salvation from emotional or physical pain. Although sometimes miraculous healings do occur which suggest the presence of the Divine, in my experience there generally is not much physical intervention.
However, the “intervention” I have experienced has been as powerful as anything physical. I have grown certain that God actually mourns these horrible events with us, that God is as sad, even more so, about what is happening to me as I am.
Yet I keep coming back to this haunting question, With all of God’s power why does he not stop the bad things from happening in people lives?
In searching his words which we all know to be true, I found this passage that helps me understand a bit. God allows bad things to happen because it is his will to allow bad things to happen. Let us read.
(Ephesians 1:11– says Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago). See the things that we might consider bad, such as getting robbed or breaking a leg by falling down some stairs, would both be bad.
Theft is morally wrong, where accidentally breaking your leg is not. He allows both kinds of things to happen to us. Why? Well, we can’t always give a definite answer to every situation, but we can say that God is not surprised by anything and he has a reason for allowing things to occur.
Another explanation as to why God allows bad things to happen is due to Adamic representation. Adam represented us (1 Corinthians 15:22) so that when he sinned in the Garden of Eden, we ended up suffering the consequences of his rebellion. In other words, we are born in a fallen and sinful world because of Adam’s sin.
This would mean that God is allowing the consequences of sin to run their course in the world, which includes bad things, because Adam represented us. Also, we could say this demonstrates how bad sin really is, and God wants to show everyone how bad sin and its effects really are.
Yet another explanation is that God can use bad things to lead to good things. For example, when we look at the crucifixion of Jesus, which is the means by which we are saved from our sins, we see that it was a result of people doing bad things to Jesus. Yet, we are saved by it.
Sometimes we don’t understand why bad things happen. Personally, I suffered really bad things in my life and I am very sure you have also, because of it I have asked this question over and over, Why God, Why God, why did this bad thing happen to me or to her or to them. How come you do not stop it from happening.
I have heard some people say that all the bad things that happen in the world prove that God does not exist. How could there be a God, they wonder, who allows so much evil to take place?
All I can do at this point in my life is to give an answer to these people by assuring them that God does exist and He deeply cares about His children. He cares so much, in fact, that He suffered crucifixion and death so that we might truly live.
I believe suffering results from our separation from God. He is holy, all-powerful, all-loving, all that is good. God’s role, I have felt, is to be “by my side,” to understand me, to comfort me, to “lead me beside still waters… [and] restore my soul” (from Psalm 23) in the metaphorical “Valley of Death” which I face, as does every other person in the world.
The question of stopping evil means that if God is to stop evil, then He must stop all evil. This means that the murderer must be stopped along with the thief. But it also means that thinking evil, which is in rebellion against God, must also be stopped as well; that is, if all evil is to be stopped.
Therefore, for God to stop evil and suffering may very well mean that He must remove the ability for people to freely choose what they want to do. So, if God is going to stop evil, is He required to stop all of it or just some of it? If only some of it, then the question would still stand. If He stops all of it, would we be free?
Which lead me to write this article and combine many other inputs from many well know Ministers, Teachers, and Theologies from all around this world in order to search for the ultimate answer I been asked or asking this question myself. WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD.
My answer is, I do not have the answer to that question as to why a loving God would allow so much evil in the world and be a stumbling block to faith for many people.
Why do good people sometimes suffer terribly while evil people live lives of ease? These are very difficult things to understand, Unless you accept God’s grace to deal with suffering, inevitably you will become bitter.
However, if you choose to trust God to bring about His purposes through the suffering, you can avoid the trap of bitterness and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. (See II Corinthians 5:7 and II Peter 3:18.)
Finally, and most importantly, God’s role is to help me and you to heal on a daily basis- help us collect the pieces broken by experience- help us become whole again, Whole as I was intended and created to be from the beginning by this loving God.