Question: If God is all-powerful and completely good, why are there so
many bad things in the world such as war, famine, disease, and death?
Answer: God created everything to be good. Read Genesis 1:18, 1:24,
and 1:31 “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way.” God made Adam and Eve, their bodies were perfect so that they would not get sick or die. God placed them in the Garden of Eden which had everything that they needed. They didn’t even have to work. “The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it. But the LORD God gave him this warning: “You may freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.” God walked with them in the Garden and everything was perfect.
In Genesis chapter 3 we see that Adam and Eve were tricked by the serpent or Satan, God’s enemy, into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As a result, they were removed from the Garden of Eden, sickness, death, famine, and war came into being as the result of human sin. “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
Satan was once an angel who also had the freedom to choose. He was very powerful and beautiful so he chose to rebel against God. He also led other angels to rebel against God and become the enemies of God. These former angels are known as demons.
Question: “Why did God, who knows everything, create angels and
people to have free will when he knew that some of them would disobey him and as a result all of this suffering would enter the world?”
Answer: Imagine that a rich man let you live in a palace that he had built just for you. Inside of the palace there was plenty of food and it was very comfortable. You might imagine that this would be perfect. You would not have to worry about anything, you could just play and relax all day. One day, you discover that the doors and windows of the palace are locked and you cannot go outside. Suddenly, you would feel like you were in prison. Regardless of how luxurious and comfortable, without freedom, a palace is a prison. You would no longer be happy with the palace or with the rich man because you would be missing something- freedom. God created us to worship him and to love him. Jesus said, `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is not to say that God needs anything from us because he is complete but he does want us to love him. It is impossible to love someone unless you have the freedom not to love them. If someone points a gun at me and demands that I say to them, “I love you,” the fact that I say the words would not mean that I really love them. Worship without freedom is also meaningless.
Question: “Okay, so God allowed sin to happen because he needed to find out who really loves him, but why doesn’t he stop evil from happening today?”
Answer: God is a very patient God. He has given us many warnings in the Bible that we should stop rebelling against him and accept Christ as our personal savior so that we can avoid his future punishment of sin. In the future he will stop all sin and evil but now he is just giving us time to change our minds about sin and repent. If every sin were punished immediately, no one would be alive because we are all guilty of sin.
Question: Why do bad things happen to good people?
Answer: There are no good people because we are all sinners. “For all
have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23).” Many of the bad things that happen to us are because of the sin of Adam and the sin that is common all humans. For example, disease and death came from the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Still, some people suffer because they are doing good. In Hebrews 11:35 and many other places we see this.
We also see that when we suffer for doing good, we are placing our eyes on the rewards of heaven instead of earth. It is much like a mother being willing to suffer the pains of childbirth in order to have the joy that the child brings.
Unlike other religions who have gods who do not understand our suffering,we have Christ. Jesus Christ, the only one to ever live a sinless life,suffered a lot in his life and then he was beaten and nailed to a cross. His suffering was for a higher good because by it He purchased our salvation.
Many times our problems in this life produce better results in the end. “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything (James 1:2-4).”
Sometimes God may allow suffering into our lives to train us for greater
service to him. When athletes are training for competition, they often have to work very hard and there is some pain that comes with their training. However, as they continue, they become stronger and stronger. God does not allow suffering in our lives just because he wants to see us in pain but because he has some higher reason that we may not understand now. Sometime in the future, if not in this life, when we get to heaven, we will likely understand why we had to go through hard times. As Christians, our suffering keeps us from becoming proud, helps us to learn to depend on Christ’s strength instead of our own, and gives us compassion so that we can minister to a world that is also suffering, but does not have the same Hope that we have. When, I have been discouraged and hurting the most,the people who have been able to encourage me the most were the people
who had suffered the most, but yet still had joy in the Lord. They could be much more helpful than people who seemingly had perfect lives and no real problems.
This may provide little comfort for someone who is in the midst of suffering but we must also never forget that we have a personal relationship with God. We can talk to him about our pain. He will be there for us to comfort us. If we feel angry with God because of our suffering, we should pray that God will help us to let go of that anger which would pull us away from him. Even though God has done nothing wrong by allowing suffering in our lives it is natural to feel angry with Him during hard times. It is important to be honest with Him about your feelings and your hurts, and ask him to help you deal with your anger, frustration and pain so the trial will bring you closer to Him, instead of further away.
We need to have three anchors in our lives that will help us to maintain our faith in God, regardless of the trial. We need Truth, Relationships with other Christians, and the Experience of God working and moving in our lives. When we emerge from the trial, we will be able to honestly say, “I would not repeat that trial for millions of dollars, but I also would not want to give up the things that I have learned and the ways that I have grown as a result of the trial.”