This seems to be a major issue people have with God. If we serve a loving and good God, why does He let bad things happen? Wouldn’t He just allow us all to live in perfect harmony and never die? So much injustice happens all of the time, since the beginning of recorded history, but why? Instead of people searching the Scriptures to see what God has to say about it, they just write Him off and with it the whole idea of what the Bible has to say. And with that dismissal pushes away their entire eternal glorious future after they die. Allow me to highlight a few things with Scripture to back up my response to, “If God is good, why do bad things happen?”
1. God made us capable of much because He made us in His image and He gave us free will. We look like Him and we are given control over every living thing on the earth as well as control over what we were given to eat – that’s a bit of power and free will!
• “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NKJV)
• “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:28, NKJV)
• “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” (Genesis 2:15-17, NKJV)
2. Evil was alive on earth from the beginning – here in the form of a serpent – and convinced the humans to choose poorly. Even then, we wanted to be wise and be like God. It sounds a lot like people today.
• “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She gave it to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened,” (Genesis 3:4-7a, NKJV)
3. We are given the daily choice of life or death, and who or what we will serve. Our options are to serve God or serve ourselves or the material world or another person or god.
• “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days;” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, NKJV)
• “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24, NIV)
4. Now that we know we have free will, we chose to know good and evil and we get to wake up every day and decide what kind of choices we want to make – we enter in the ability to do the heinous and the unspeakable to others and ourselves. Because we can do the terrible, we have commandments in place to remind us just how much we don’t need to be murdering people and sleeping around with our neighbors.
• Exodus 20 lists the 10 Commandments. Paraphrasing here, but:
1. No other gods before God
2. Don’t make other gods
3. Don’t take God’s name and misuse it
4. Remember the day of rest and keep it
5. Honor your mom and dad
6. Don’t murder
7. Don’t commit adultery
8. Don’t steal
9. Don’t lie about your neighbor
10. Don’t want your neighbor’s stuff
• “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, NKJV)
5. If God knew we would do these things, why did He even bother to let us have the ability to do evil and have evil done to us? Because He has something better for us very soon.
• “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:18-21, NKJV)
6. God doesn’t leave us alone in the world. He sent us Jesus to save us, and the Holy Spirit to walk here with us until we go home. This is reserved for those of us who believe Jesus died and was raised from the dead. It is an open invitation to anyone.
• John 11:25-26, NKJV – “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
• John 3:16-17, NKJV – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
• “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38, NKJV)
7. Eternal life is the promise for the children of God. It all went to crap with the eaten fruit, God made the Way by the sacrifice of Jesus and through this we live forever in glory and without pain!
• He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:4-5, NIV)
There are so many more verses, and so many details in between, but hopefully this helps make sense of this very common question. I also hope it helps bring about good conversation with those who don’t believe. It is a very good question to be asked and an even better one to have an answer to. If God is good, why do bad things happen? Because He loved us enough to not make us puppets and loved us even more to sacrifice Himself to have eternity with us. Great love and great news!