Thursday, January 26, 2017


In the USA in 2015, there were 15,696 murders and 327,374 robberies, according to FBI statistics.  Between 800,000 and one million people died in the Rwandan genocide. Approximately 400,000 people died in the Darfur conflict in Sudan.  If God is good, why does He let things like these happen? Why does God allow suffering? Why is there suffering in the world? We’re faced with one of three possibilities:  1) there is no God, 2) God is not able to stop evil, or 3) God is not good.  The first possibility is answered in more detail in other pages on this website and it will be shown that God may exist as well as evil in the world.  In response to the second possibility, there is evidence indicating that an intelligent designer (whom we refer to as God) created the known universe as well as life on earth.  If He can do those things, He is probably capable of stopping evil if He chose.  In fact, the Bible describes God as “Almighty” 58 times in the Old Testament.  Furthermore, Jeremiah 32:17 states, “Ah Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm!  Nothing is too difficult for you.”  This leaves a third possibility that God may not be good.  

How should God deal with evil?
If we could tell God how to run the world how would we instruct Him?  What would we have Him do with all those people who commit evil deeds?  One option would be for God to judge and remove the evildoers.  The problem with this solution is that no one would be left.  Where would God draw the line between a little evil and a lot of evil?  Most of us think we are good people and God should judge those other bad people.  But, think about it.  Have you ever acted out of malice, jealousy, anger, hatred, or bitterness?  Have you ever stolen anything?  Have you ever cheated?  Slandered another person?  The list could go on and on.  The Bible states that “No one is righteous” (Romans 3:10) and “no one is good” (Romans 3:12).  We know that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).  So, exterminating all evildoers may not be such an attractive solution.  

Nursery room monitor?
A second option for God to contend with evil would be for Him to intervene in all circumstances to save people from bad choices.  For example, a drunk driver would not be allowed to hurt anyone or himself.  A drug addict father would not be allowed to use the families’ money.  An incompetent surgeon would be stopped prior to committing medical malpractice.  God would remove all negative consequences of human choice.  What would be the logical result of this course of action?  It would remove human responsibility; there would be no harmful results for evil or foolish actions.  God would, in effect, be like a nursery room monitor, continuously preventing the youngsters from harming themselves or each other.  But even human parents realize that children need to grow and develop to the point of making their own decisions.  As a good father, God wants his children to develop into maturity.  As Hebrews 5:14 says, “solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”  And, God’s plan is that each of us “attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)  If humans are not given the opportunity to make bad choices, then we don’t truly have freedom to make good choices.  

A race of robots?
This leads to a third option God might have used to address the issue of evil in the world – creating people so they would only do good.  If this was in effect, we would of course be nothing more than robots incapable of free will.  But, God gave humans the ability to choose good or evil from the beginning, as stated in Genesis 2:9, ““In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”   And once the first two humans exercised their free will, their eyes were opened, as Satan correctly stated in Genesis 3:5.  From that point on, we became capable of knowing and choosing between good and evil.  So, God did not cause evil directly, but was it good for Him to give humans the capability of causing evil? 

What is God’s nature?
What do we know about the character of God from the Bible?  We know that He is good, as Jesus said in Mark 10:18, “No one is good except God alone.”  The Bible also states that “God is love” in 1 John 4:8.  He is also just (Deuteronomy 32:24) and holy (Isaiah 6:3).  God originally created everything good as seen in Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”  In fact, after nearly every creation day, a similar statement is made:  Gen. 1:4, 1:10, 1:21, and 1:25.  Then, upon completion of the creation, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) 

Where did evil originate?
So, if God is good and He made everything good, from what did the evil derive?  Romans 5:12 informs us that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…”  Adam and Eve were created good, but with the capacity to choose what was not good.  This is the only reasonable option for God to create beings who would have the capacity to choose to do what is right of their own free will.  If there is no opportunity to do otherwise, then there is no true free will.  

What will God do with evil?
Being free to commit evil acts does not mean one is free from judgment for those acts.  Jesus said, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31).  Satan is the “ruler of this world” and there will be a time for judgment at some point in the future when all evil will be banished to hell.  Then those who have chosen good will be together in heaven with God.  In Revelation 21:27, it is written that “nothing impure will ever enter [the city of God], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.”  So, all will receive what they choose.  So, what does that mean for us today?  We have one big decision to make:  Do I chose God’s way or do I reject Him?  God continues to set before us the choice recorded in Deuteronomy 30:19, which states, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live.”     

What is the underlying premise behind the question?
If there is a God, we blame Him for evil that occurs.  Or, at least we ask why He did not stop it.  If an earthquake or other natural disaster strikes, we are heartbroken by the death and destruction, and we wonder why God let it happen.  However, the underlying premise in this question is that we believe humans do not deserve for bad things to happen (unless it happens to some incredibly vile person such as Adolf Hitler or Ted Bundy).  The hidden assumption in the question is that the vast majority of humans are deserving of a good life without any serious troubles coming upon us.  Is that a valid assumption?  From a human standpoint, it probably is valid.  But, what does God say about humans?  “There is none righteous, not even one…There is none who does good, there is not even one.  Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving.  The poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known” (Romans 3:10-17).  This does not sound like people who deserve to have a comfortable life.  Because we are all born into sin, “through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men” (Romans 5:18).  This challenges the mindset of most people that we are basically good.  In reality, before repentance and belief in Jesus, we are all condemned.

Are we judging God?
The Bible gives a very relevant example of someone who endured tragedies and heard from God as he was suffering.  God said to Job, “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?  Let him who reproves God answer it" (Job 40:2) and “Will you really annul my judgment?  Will you condemn me that you may be justified?” (Job 40:8).  That does not sound very compassionate!  Job answered God by saying, “I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know" (Job 42:3).  Pointing an accusatory finger at God is not the best strategy.  Though Job endured great suffering, God rewarded him for the faithful perseverance Job demonstrated.  

There’s no question that it is very difficult to have faith in God when going through a hard time.  We wonder why God let it happen.  Why didn’t God create a good world for humans in which there was no evil?  Actually, He did.  The first two people had complete freedom to do whatever they pleased and go wherever they wished.  There was only one requirement – and that was a very easy one – but the human race could not seem to follow even one simple rule.  Well then, why doesn’t God correct the evil in the world and make it all good again?  He will.  God promises “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” and He is “making all things new” (Revelation 21:4-5).
(Biblical quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible)