By Jacqui Jacoby and Nikki Dabney
As a Christian, we are called to go out and spread the Word to the people around us. A common fear of Christians, new or old, is that we don’t know enough or won’t be able to answer the questions that our friends have. So we are going to be answering a few important and frequently asked questions about Christianity, God, the Bible, and more. But remember, you don’t have to know everything to spread the Good News!
FAQ: If God is good, why is there so much pain in the world?
[ Original Sin ]
It all started with Adam and Eve.
They had the choice to remain in paradise, ignorant of evil and pain, but they chose to disobey God, and their eyes were opened to the parts of Earth that are void of God. This original sin has been passed down through Adam, giving us an inherited sin nature. Now, we have our desire to follow God warring against our desire to do life our way.
[ Sin ]
What is sin? Sin is actually an archery term that means, “missing the mark.” God designed life to function in a perfect way, and when we deviate from that it doesn’t go well. Paul said, “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law” (Romans 7:7). Sin isn’t sin just because it breaks the Law. The law is there because it helps us know what is apart from God’s best.
[ The Fall ]
Life after Adam and Eve’s sin is known as the Fall. The world is full of sinful people living among each other, and that causes broken relationships, pain, and suffering. This is the state of our world.
When we make choices that are not God’s best for us, we usually experience pain. This is not to say that all suffering is our fault. Innocent people die and suffer every day, but a large source of pain in our lives comes from us or someone else choosing wrong over right.
[ Satan ]
This, in addition to the fact that Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion” on this earth (1 Peter 5:8), ensures that there will be evil, pain, torture, terrorist attacks, heartbreak, and other forms of persecution and suffering in our lives. Let me be clear: evil and pain do not COME from God. But God is all-knowing and powerful, and He USES pain to bring us closer to Him.
[ Why Doesn’t God End Pain? ]
If God were to wipe out evil, He would have to start with me. I have hurt others and brought pain and suffering into this world. It’s not just murderers and rapists who are evil. We all have rebellious hearts.
However, Jesus will deal with evil when He comes again. Read these verses to see why He hasn’t eradicated evil in the world yet.
“In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised?’” -2 Peter 3:3-4
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with YOU, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” -2 Peter 3:8-9
God isn’t slow or ignorant. He is patient with us. He is our judge and defender, He is slow to anger, He is perfectly just and perfectly merciful, and He is our comfort and refuge.