Answers to "Ask Mike" Questions
31. How can a good God allow bad things to happen?
God is not the author of evil. In fact, Scripture says, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong." (Habakkuk 1:13a, NIV) Even this Old Testament prophet went on to ask, "Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?" (Habakkuk 1:13b, NIV)
When God surveyed all the possible universes he could have created, he recognized the potential problems with each. He chose to create this one Ė the one we live in Ė and said at the end of the creative process, "It is very good." (from Genesis 1:31) Saying it was good meant it was perfect. When God said it was very good he elevated it a step further.
Something happened! The universe we live in today is not perfect. Stuff happens! But why does it happen? Canít God do anything about it?
The Bible teaches evil originated with rebellion in the Garden of Eden. Knowing it was forbidden, Eve and Adam ate fruit God had forbidden (Genesis 3:6-7). The disobedience of the first pair brought terrible consequences upon the whole universe. God cursed the serpent, he cursed the ground, he cursed Adam with toil, and he cursed Eve with pain in childbearing (Genesis 3:14-24). Because of Godís curse, everything underwent fundamental changes. God did not cause evil, he initiated the consequences of Adam and Eveís rebellion.
Could not God have made Adam and Eve so they could not have rebelled? Yes. But to do so would have denied them free will. Had God made us so it was not possible to sin, he would have created mere automatons.
Evidently God values our free will which enables us to choose to love him more than the absence of sin and evil. I do not understand that except that I wanted my children to love me, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. That may be a vestige of the image of God in me; it helps me understand why God values our free will.
Why isnít God doing something about it? Paul Harvey often says, "We arenít doing nothing about that...." Take heart, God is not doing nothing about the presence of evil in our present world. Paul wrote, "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that* the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." (Romans 8:19-21; read the next few paragraphs in Romans 8 as well). The universe will one day be regenerated and restored to its pristine condition prior to the Fall (see 2 Peter 3:10). When that happens, Godís people who have also been "reborn" or "regenerated" will live on a new heaven and a new earth that is every bit as perfect as it was on day six of creation!
Until then, we live in a fallen universe where we continue to see and experience sinís consequences. Until that day we "wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved." (Romans 8:23b-24a, NIV, emphasis added)
What should you do until then? Be faithful!
* - NIV note on Romans 8:20, 21 Or subjected it in hope. 21For
Question #1. Some of the people in the Old Testament were immoral and violent. They killed a lot of people in neighboring groups. Were they really in touch with our God of love?
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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.