This is an age old questions that has been debated by theologians and philosophers for centuries. It is also asked: Why do good things happen to bad people? The answer is simple and it lies in Genesis Chapter 3. When God created everything, he said it was all “very good” and therefore there was no sin, no suffering, and no curse. However, God created humans with a free will, so there was a potential for man to rebel. After the fall of man, God pronounced a curse on Adam, Eve, and the Earth. From then on, people who initially would have lived forever with God in the earthly paradise would be destined to die (the curse). Death and suffering come in various forms, such as sickness, cancers, and genetic diseases. Today, we have countless diseases and genetic mutations that have caused much suffering. Many ask how God could allow this to happen, but this shows a lack of understanding the Scriptures.
The world we see today is fallen; it is full of violence, disease, injustice, and misery. God never wanted suffering and death, but since Adam rebelled and he is the father of all people, we have to suffer the consequences of his actions. We all have the sin nature and are subject to suffering. Bad things happen to good people because, there are no good people. We have all fallen. No child has to be taught to lie or disobey their parents—it comes natural, just as sin is natural. God is love but he is also just, and we are all under the curse, but we also have a an escape from the curse through Jesus. Suffering is a part of the Christian walk (2 Cor. 4:17) but our heavenly dwelling place will be free from all effects of the curse.
If God did not exist, pain and suffering would still exist. To whom would you complain then? Why is it that people say God doesn’t exist because pain and suffering exist? Do they assume God is all good and all loving at all times and should therefore prevent all wrong? If we eliminate all the bad in the world, could we then use all the good as evidence for God?
By telling God what he should do, or by defining God according to your own terms based on what you want, you are committing idolatry. You are creating a god based on your standards. There are plenty of belief systems out there where they have created their own gods to fit their needs. Yet, they fail in explaining the nature of this fallen world.
God is all good, and all loving, but he is also a God of mercy, compassion, and justice. He punishes those who do wrong, but he is also merciful in withholding such discipline at times. Would you complain if God immediately punished you for everything you did wrong? What if you were arrested the moment you shoplifted? What if you were exposed as soon as you lied? What if you were accused of an affair as soon as you had a lustful thought for someone other than your spouse? God should punish us all immediately by this standard because we broke his law, yet he sometimes withholds justice because of his great mercy. Be thankful for that. Sometimes we complain about a person getting away with horrible crimes, and we ask “Where is God? Why won’t he do something about that criminal?” We, however, don’t say that when we are the ones doing wrong. We find many examples of God executing judgement in the Old and New Testaments where people did evil and God punished them severely. And rightfully so. But let’s not ignore the fact that in many cases, he gave them ample amount of time to repent of their sins, but they refused to repent. Could it be that God’s discipline is his way of turning this world back to Him?
What would you say if God intervened with every action you took? What if you tried to make an independent decision but was stopped every time because God wouldn’t let you have that freedom. You would have no free will and you would be his robot. Thankfully, God gives us free will. But our choices come with a price.
Pain is a good thing. There are children who feel no pain (like Gabby Gingras, Isaac Brown). This is not a good thing. They could suffer from appendicitis and no one would know until it is too late. They could rest their hand on a hot stove and not remove it until the third degree burns appear. The list of problems goes on. Because of pain, we learn to not touch the hot stove, to be careful with sharp objects, and to seek medical attention when our body is not acting right.
But why is there suffering? Why do we have so many health problems? For one, look at the unhealthy things we put in our body (free will). Sugary drinks, carbs, fat, genetically modified foods…no wonder we are so unhealthy and suffer the consequences. Let’s not blame God for our free will decisions.
But what about other types of suffering unrelated to our health like genetic disorders? The answer to that starts in the oft-ignored and mocked book of Genesis. If we go back to the beginning of time with Adam and Eve, we see that God created a perfect world. There was no death or suffering. When Adam rebelled against God (free will), the curse upon all living things began. Since we are related to Adam, we inherit the sin nature. If you don’t believe that, ask yourself if you ever had to train a child to lie, or train a child to be selfish or jealous or rebellious against their parent. You don’t have to train them because it is innate. Sin leads to consequences, and such consequences include suffering. As time has gone on, there has been an increase in suffering, wars, diseases, genetic mutations, and disorders. We see this affirmed in Romans 8:22 which tells us that all creation groans. The world is not getting better, and one of the biggest reasons for that is the growing rebellion against God.
There is a reason for pain and suffering, but that does not mean there is no God. If we read and understand the Bible, which is God’s word to us, we can then see why there is pain and suffering, and it is our due reward for our inherit rebellion against our very creator.
Fortunately, for those who confess their sins and acknowledge Jesus Christ as their savior, we have the surety of entering into Heaven after our death. There, we will have no further pain or suffering because the curse of Adam will be removed. The works of Satan will then be stopped. For those who reject the free gift of salvation, they face an eternity of pain and suffering with no relief. Please don’t make a decision to reject God based on your misunderstanding of Him. Those who have not been born again cannot fully understand the spiritual things of this world, but if you seek the truth you will find it
It’s unfortunate that so many misunderstand the Bible and God and form their belief system on their incorrect understandings. “God condones rape.” “It’s a sin today to wear mixed fabrics.” “God killed innocent people.” “God condones slavery.” The list goes on. All these statements are untrue. There are ample websites out there to answer these false claims. A quick Google search will provide you with more than enough feasible answers to all these questions. Have you taken the time to research it?