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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the REAL meaning of life?
Isn't the Bible full of contradictions?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
The Bible is full of Miracles. Are divine miracles legitimate today?

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

This question has been asked in one form or another by people throughout human history and by people around the globe. The world observes people who are truly "good people" and ask the same question in different ways depending upon the circumstances.

  • Why do "good people" become victims of a disease or a natural disaster?
  • Why do "good people" get caught in the crossfire of acts of "random" violence?
  • Why is it that the "good" young men and women of our country have to die in a war against religious fanatics bent on the destruction of freedom and devoted to the subjugation of the world to their ideology?
  • Why do otherwise innocent children get abused - mentally, emotionally and physically by an older person who is in a position of authority over them?
  • Why does the young, Christian teenager with a promising future get killed in a car accident?
  • Why did my marriage fail after I, a "good Christian", tried so hard to make it work?
  • Why did an "innocent" driver (a "good person") get killed by a drunk driver?
In other words, why do good people have to suffer? While we cannot possibly know all of the details associated with any individual circumstance, we can know and understand some critical truths from Scripture that provide stability, comfort and strength in the midst of our own times of suffering and that help us understand the reason why bad things happen to good people.

Finally, the real question that is being asked, but not stated here - "Is God really fair?" Another related question - "Does God really love me?" or "How can a God of love let bad things happen to His children?"

Why Do "Bad Things" Happen?

Bad Things Happen Because People are a Part of Human History - the Evidentiary Matter in Satan's Appeal to His Sentencing Pronounced in Eternity Past

The over-arching truth that is the key to understanding any suffering in life is this - Satan is trying to neutralize and destroy human history which is to be used as God's evidence in Satan's appeal to his sentence to the Lake of Fire.

In spite of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man has retained the ability to choose. Man has volition. Man is not a robot who is controlled God or Satan1. However, man is subject to many influences and man makes choices. When man makes choices influenced by 1) the sin nature, 2) the world's system of priorities and values, or 3) false religion, man's decisions align with Satan's strategy of neutralization or destruction of the evidence. When man makes choices influenced by divine truth in the soul, man's decisions align with God's purpose in human history - to vindicate His essence.

For example, some men have made and are today making decisions to murder other people while influenced by one or a combination of three factors - the sin nature of man (i.e. the flesh), the world's system of priorities and values (i.e. the world) and/or false religion (i.e. Satan). God must allow volition to function in man even if it means that others will be adversely impacted, e.g. on some occasions "good people" are murdered. If God prohibited fallen man from exercising his volition even if it means that "good people" suffer, then God would be tainting the evidence (i.e. the free will decisions of man in human history). If the evidence in a trial is tainted, then the defendant (in this case, Satan) has a right to declare a mistrial.

When Satan enticed mankind to sin in the Garden of Eden, Satan gained dominion over this earth and human history in an attempt to neutralize and destroy the evidence in his trial, i.e. mankind and human history. Of course, Satan is an incredibly powerful creature against whom we would not be able to stand; therefore, God established certain boundaries in this conflict. (For instance, Satan cannot exercise his full power and destroy humans directly en masse).

Man still possessed volition; however, that volition became subject to influences that were not present prior to the Fall. As mankind proliferated and populated the planet, the exercise of man's volition has taken and continues to take paths that adversely affect that individual and other people. In addition, sin introduced death - spiritual and physical death. The physical body of humans became subject to disease and decay.

Suffering is the result of living in a world that is under the dominion of Satan, a world that has been cursed as a result of sin, and a world where the potential for bad decisions made by people who have been blessed with volition is an ever-present reality. The fact that mankind has volition and the fact that the volition of man is an integral component of the evidence to be used against Satan in his appeal trial means that "good people" will suffer when certain men use their volition to make bad choices. (For more detailed information on this subject, see the links on our website to the question "What is the Real Meaning of Life?" and Special Studies: The Appeal Trial of Satan).

"Is God Really Fair?" and "Does He Really Love His Own When He Allows Suffering?"

The simple answer to both related questions is "yes!" Every one of us have at one time in our lives asked this question either consciously and expressed in those very words or over the years, the question has been suppressed to our subconscious and surfaces in bitterness and unbelief. Even as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and the total sufficiency of His death, we still find ourselves at times in our lives doubting the fairness and love of a God that allows us to suffer injustice.

The journey of faith that characterizes the believer who has found the answer to doubts and questions such as these is a journey on the path paved with truth from God's word. It is only an understanding of critical truths such as the essence of God and the "Appeal Trial of Satan as the Biblical Basis for the Philosophy of Human History" that will properly pave one's path so that one can discover and appropriate these truths without stumbling into a life of practical unbelief.

God is "fair" because His love motivates Him to provide for our every need consistent with His justice and righteousness. God is "fair" because He omnisciently saw our need from eternity past and has the omnipotent power to execute a sovereign plan to address all of our needs. He understands our suffering because there is no temptation that is common to man that He has not endured. His love is so great for us that He sent His Son from heaven to suffer a propitiatory (satisfactory) death on our behalf so that we might share His life eternal. He allows His own to suffer so that they might through suffering be conformed to the image of His Son in the midst of a selfish world. There is no place we can ever go where we will escape His omnipresent desire to reach us. These truths are backed by the very veracity of His nature and they will never change due to the immutability of His character.

The thing that makes our God and our Lord so truly awesome is the subjective way in which He cares for each of us combined with the very objective purpose He has for human history. There is perfect balance between the two seemingly contradictory aspects of God's relationship to mankind; however, only the believer in Jesus Christ who has appropriated the correct understanding of God's essence and the correct understanding of God's purpose in human history can trod the path paved with truth, faith, confidence, and assurance and avoid the path paved with practical unbelief, cynicism, worry, fear, doubt, anxiety and a lack of assurance. (For more detailed information on this subject, see the links on our website to the question "What is the Real Meaning of Life?" and Special Studies: The Appeal Trial of Satan).

1 There are rare occasions where man has made or will make choices that result in demon possession or even Satanic possession (e.g. the Antichrist and the False Prophet of the Tribulation). Once the individual is demon possessed, their actions may be controlled by the demon; however, that situation is: 1) not the norm; 2) not the subject of this question; and 3) the result of a series of decisions that precedes the demon possession.

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Pastor, Steve Ellis The Church of the Servant King