Questions of the Week

Question:  Lately it seems as though children are suffering needlessly and for no apparent reason.  Why does God all these horrible things to happen? 

Answer:  The whole issue of God allowing evil is a tough one.  It takes a low of thought – and prayer – to even begin to understand how a loving and holy God can allow the tragedies of child abuse, murder, and other horrors.

First, it’s important to know that God does allow evil.  If you didn’t believe that He allows evil, then you would have to believe that God is powerless to stop it when it happens.  And we know that isn’t true.  As the sovereign, all-powerful God and Creator of the universe, God allows everything.  Nothing good – or bad – happens outside of His control.  This is different, however, than God initiating and causing the evil and suffering.  As a holy and perfect God, He is incapable of evil, and He cannot cause evil.

Let’s look at it another way.  If God did not allow evil, then He would have to destroy everything that is evil, including us (by that we mean all of humanity, not just Bruce and Stan).  But in His great love and mercy, God not ony allows us to live, but He has given us a way to get back into a right relationship with Him (Romans 5:5-11).

Even though God allows evil now, that doesn’t mean He will allow it forever.  The Scripture is clear that right now, God is being patient with us so that more people will repent.  But His judgment of sin will come (2 Peter 3:8-10).

Just as sin has infected the human race (such that we cause evil not intended by God), so the natural world is under the curse of sin, sometimes causing terrible disasters that take the lives of babies and children.  In general, our world operates in marvelous ways.  Simply by looking at the wonder of God’s creations, we can see the glory of God (Psalm 19).  As the same time, creation isn’t perfect.  Scripture says, “Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse.  All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.  For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:20-22).

Just as the earth groans under the weight of sin, so do most people groan in shock, dismay and disgust at child abuse.  But that is the effect of sin.  At the same time, we shouldn’t lose hope.   We can be confident that such evil will come to an end in God’s timing.

Meanwhile, when we learn of tragedies like the ones in the news recently involving children, we need to pray for those affected by this unspeakable evil done by sinful people, that God’s grace and comfort would come upon them in a powerful way.