Have you ever thought about it?
- Why do bad things happen?
- Why do bad things happen to good people?
- Why do bad things happen to innocent people?
- Why are there natural disasters?
I was talking with someone a few years ago and the subject of evil and suffering came up. They said,
"The only way I am able to keep my love for Jesus is to not think about such things. God and I don't agree on how He handles things. I cannot get past it. The only way forward is to not think about it."
Honestly, I didn't know what to say. There are no easy answers to the problem of evil.
I would not disrespect your experience by trying to give a quick, catchy answer. Instead, I offer a conversation and a few thoughts to ponder.
Professor John Lennox is not stranger to pain, loss, and suffering. He does a great job grappling with what he calls "beauty and barbwire." Below are a few interviews and lectures. This is not something to quickly file away and move on. If not yet, at some point this question will come to the forefront.
Here are a few thoughts to get us started:
- There is evil in the world because of God's love for us.
Think about it. If you think God should remove all evil in the world, where do you think He should start? With me? With you? The Bible says there are none righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:10) I am disgusted by the fact of evil. However, I am not innocent. I have done things I am not proud of and perhaps you have as well. Out of God's kindness, He gives us free will. This means we have the capacity for good and evil. We do not always choose good. His great love does not destroy us. The difficult thing is when our evil impacts someone else.
- There is evil in the world because of the curse of sin.
We live in a fallen world. Because Adam and Eve were the leaders of the garden, when they fell into sin the curse extended to everything under their care. This means all the chaos stems back to the curse of sin. The Bible says that before the flood, the whole process of precipitation was different. There whole weather pattern was different. Therefore, natural disasters would have not been a thing.
- There is evil in the world because hurting people hurt people.
Many people can get their head around the first two ideas. It is this one that hurts the most. Broken people break people because that is how they cope with their broken world. This is why the Gospel is such good news. Without God, there is no reason to have anything other than a "me first" mindset. It is because of God that we have a naturally built-in idea that some things are clearly wrong.
There is evil in the world and it stinks. However, the good news is Jesus is not disconnected from it. He entered into our pain and suffering while on the Cross. We serve a risen Savior who understands.