Tag Archives: theodicy

Why Would God Allow Bad Things to Happen to “Good” People?

Life often confronts us with tragic situations that make us wonder about God’s willingness or ability to help us. Why would a good God allow such things to happen? Doesn’t He care?

This question is addressed by the Book of Job. In this amazingly relevant story, God allows His best example of a “righteous” man to suffer terribly. Job’s faith is stretched almost to the breaking point, while well-meaning friends accuse him of having done something to deserve his suffering. Job’s struggle continued until it was finally broken by the evidence of God’s infinite wisdom and power.

It is impossible for us to fully understand the ways of a God who puts our faith to such strenuous tests. Yet the story of Job reminds us that God can take evil deeds done by others and work them into the fabric of His plan for our good.

God doesn’t shield His people from all of the wickedness and suffering of a fallen world. But He alone has the power to use pain, persecution, and even death as part of His plan for our ultimate good ( Romans 8:28 ).

Another example of how God brings good out of human evil is the story of Joseph ( Genesis 37-50 ). Despite being sold by his brothers into slavery, Joseph eventually became God’s instrument to spare the lives of multitudes in Egypt, including the members of his own family. Although his brothers acted wickedly, God used their evil deeds for His good ends. When his brothers feared he would seek revenge after their father’s death, Joseph said, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:19-20).

One of the wonders of God’s providence is His unfailing power to demonstrate His goodness even through the intentionally evil deeds of His creatures. What a comfort to know that no evil can thwart the good intentions of our sovereign God!

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Why Would an All-Powerful God Permit Evil?

God permitted evil to enter His universe as the price of freedom. Although He could have created the universe without the potential for suffering or sin, such a universe would not have allowed free creatures to exist. It would have been a robotic universe, with no more awareness of grace or God’s goodness than a colony of insects.

The Bible teaches that God became a human being and entered into the suffering of His creation. By experiencing and sharing His universe’s suffering, He made redemption possible. He made it possible for all of the wrongs of the world to eventually be made right.

God’s true nature is revealed in Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul declared:

In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).

In the natural universe, underlying reality appears at times to be good and at times to be evil. Only Jesus provides a clear definition of God’s holy, loving nature.

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