I found my research paper from my Senior year in High School and figured I’d put it in a blog. I know even today it is relevant. Enjoy the read from my mind 5 years ago. This was the rough draft, but hopefully it will still pile together like I remember.
An Evil World and a Good God:
As the twin towers fell on that fateful day, many onlookers viewed the sky turning black and the sun blotted out from smoke. Many lives were lost. Families were left without a dad or mom. Firefighters lost their lives serving others, going into a place many wanted out of. The first thought on many minds across the United States that morning of September 11, 2001 was this: “Why would a good God allow this tragedy?” Because God is good, He allows bad things to happen to help people get to know Him.
From the eyes of the beholder, every aspect of the globe has something wrong with it. Starving children in Africa search daily for another source of food and another chance to live, while American children throw away unwanted food unsparingly. Numerous counts of rape, violence and abuse are recorded daily, and the numbers continue to rise as the years pass. Teens who cannot bear to live anymore cut their wrists and even go to the point of committing suicide. Girls starve themselves to feel beautiful. Families are torn apart by divorce, and unwedded couples plan the abortion of their unborn “fetus.” Nature continues to surprise man as one devastation after another occurs: floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Homes are lost and lives are left waiting to be picked up and returned to normal. Where is God in all of this devastation? Where is He when loved ones die, homes are destroyed and wars rage on? If He was so good how can He sit on his throne and control the earth like a little boy on a sunny day with ants and a magnifying glass? History is covered with pain. It is the “chronicle of suffering and despair” (Passantino).
Job was a man who suffered everything. He lost his family, his friends, and his animals. His life was literally stripped from him all because he loved God with his entire heart. Many people who read the book of Job in the Bible, wonder how could a man who have everything taken from him still praise God? How can he love God when God specifically allowed Satan to hurt Job? Job 3:20-21, 24-26 quotes Job saying, “Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of the soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure . . . For sighting comes to me instead of food; my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me, what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil” (Extreme). His children were killed, his cattle were killed, his skin was covered in boils and yet he continued to praise God. When his trials began, he said, “ The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord” (Extreme). Job 2:6 quotes Job saying, “God controls everything: we cannot even imagine the things he does” (Extreme). He then goes on to say in verse nine, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and shall not accept adversity?” (Extreme). As Job faced his trials, God stayed with him until the end. Finally, Job passed the test Satan had set up for him, and he was given back multiples of what was taken away (Extreme). However, though Job, a real human being suffered many times worse than what people today will probably go through, he still kept the faith. Why is it today, when faced with difficulties in life, people look negatively on the situation? Why is it when something goes wrong, the view of God suddenly changes from good to bad? Current situations reflect the way people view God (Burbeck). If things go smoothly, and nothing currently is going wrong, they ignore Him. However, the moment things turn sour, curses are sent up to heaven, asking why a good God would let bad things happen. Corrie Ten Boom said, “No matter how deep our darkness- He is deeper still” (Strobel 71).
There are four problems with the issue of suffering in the world. The four problems are as follows: God is all-powerful, God is all-knowing, God is all-good, and yet evil exists in the world (Strobel 49). God is all- powerful. He can do whatever He wants to do except for sin. People wonder if He controls everything, then He must have created the problem of evil in the world. However, He did not create evil. He only created the possibility of evil. Adam and Eve realized the possibility to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, setting the stage for evil in the world. God is all-knowing, so He knows everything that goes on in the world. He has His eye on every aspect of His creation at all times. He cares about even the little problems going on in people’s lives. He understands the past and the future. Satan is God’s greatest enemy. So, Satan tries everything to destroy a person that cannot be destroyed. So, he brings down the perfect creation of God. He tempts, and then the first sin occurred. Every attempt to have evil win was ruined by God. Love came into the picture, and God sent His only Son to die: forever ruling over evil. God is all-good so He holds back to help people learn from their mistakes. Just like a young child learning not to touch a hot stove, God lets people experience a little bit of suffering so that they might be able to learn from it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (Extreme). If people learn through the little sufferings and bear them well, looking always to Christ, the suffering will not seem so bad. Evil exists in the world because of the first sin. People are made in the image of God (Strobel 60). However, morally people are not in the image of God. They have sinned. Which brought forth evil and suffering. However, no matter how much suffering people go through, there is Someone who experienced more.
Christ experienced the worst kind of suffering ever to be experienced on this earth. John 3: 16 talks about how God allowed his one and only Son to die on the cross (Extreme). That mankind, who has sinned against God, might have a way to live with Him eternally. God offered His son as a sacrifice. He, because of love, allowed His Son to be nailed, beaten, spit at, and shunned. He did this all because of His love for His creation. God caused suffering for His Son, His flesh and blood, Jesus Christ so that people may have a relationship with Him. Similarly, He causes suffering on this earth only to bring people closer to Him. The first sin occurred in the Garden of Eden (Extreme). Eve ate the apple that God specifically told her not to, and Adam shortly after followed suit. This one sin of deliberate disobedience caused them to have to work to stay alive. They were put out on the fields to gather food for their family, and Eve then had to bear children with pain. The world was no longer perfect after the first sin. They were probably thinking the same questions people ask today. “Why would a God who created so much good punish us so? Why would He create something perfect, and the moment we stepped out of line, cause us suffering?” Mankind’s relationship with God is like a bear stuck in a trap with a hunter (Strobel 43). A bear gets stuck in a trap. He cannot get out. However, a hunter comes along, and offers the assistance the bear needs to get out of the trap. The bear views this attempt as another way to harm itself, so it lashes out on the hunter attempting to hurt him. However, the hunter persists his rescue attempts, sometimes even hurting the bear a little. The bear shouts out in pain wondering why the hunter is causing him so much pain. The bear cannot see the good the hunter is trying to accomplish. The bear cannot see that through out all the pain, he will be free in the end (Strobel 43). The same is with humans and their view of God . People see too small of a picture that covers all mankind to know whether God is good or not . When people feel the slightest tug on their comfort zone, they blame God. When God shows them the way and it hurts a little bit, they complain saying that He’s hurting them and there is no good in Him. They tend to go about life looking at all the negative things in life and not looking at the positive. God experiences pain as His creation does (Anderson). God did not intend for people to have bad things happen to them. It is the choices they make that bring suffering upon them (Anderson). Ronnie Hill, in a See You After the Pole speech said to several hundred youth, “Can we only take God’s goodness and not deal with his wrath?” (Hill). God went to the point of sending His Son to die for us. His suffering connects people to Him. Christ suffered on the cross so that mankind can have a relationship. Through His pain and through the pain of mankind, the connection is drawn.
Despite all suffering and evil in the world, Psalms 136 says over and over again, “His love endures forever” (Extreme). When a loved one passes away, and there seems no hope left, God’s love endures forever. God’s love endures forever when wars rage on and nature destroys homes and lives. God’s love endures forever when a girl cries herself to sleep every night and slits her wrists because she feels unloved. God’s love endures forever when a young boy begs for food on the side of the street. When families are torn apart by divorce, and rapes occur, God’s love endures forever. What Christ did on the cross set the maximum amount of suffering. No amount of suffering will ever be able to compare to the way the nails felt as they were pounded through his hands and feet, as the thorns were pressed down upon his head, and as He bore the sins of the full earth and God the Father turning His back on His own Son. God’s love endures forever, because of the pain that Christ felt as He died on the cross. However, love was truly defined when Christ rose from the dead, not abolishing evil, but giving the chance for a relationship with Him, and a chance to live eternally without suffering. The trials that are faced today only prepare people for the life that is available for all with Christ. “God did not varnish over our sin and our suffering. He came into it, like a dentist or a surgeon, to get it all out. In fact, he became our garbage man. He touched and took away our garbage” (Kreeft 130). Suffering will always exist in this world, because sin exists in the world. However, with the Love of God, He “entered space and time and suffering. He came, like a lover. Love seeks above all intimacy, presence, togetherness. Not happiness” (Kreeft 133). Christians will experience true happiness when they die and go to heaven. The job of a Christian is to share the love of Christ to the suffering, lost and dying world.
When the effects of the twin towers fell, and all the debris settled, in the middle of all devastation stood two bars still held together in the shape of a cross. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers in our pleasures but shouts in our pains. Pain is His megaphone to rouse a dulled world” (Kreeft). When all is said and done, the goodness of God’s love will endure forever. Although there is suffering in the world, there is provided a way out. A good God allows suffering only for people to see Him and all His goodness. His goodness is shown in His sending His very Son to die on the cross, which offers a way out of eternal suffering for people. Since God is good, the trials people face are to help bring them to His grace.
Anderson, Jason. Personal Interview. 15 Oct. 2007.
Burbeck, Christina. “Is God Good?” About Running Empty 1999: 1 page. 5 Oct. 2007 <http://www.runningempty.org/good.html>.
Extreme Teen Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1999.
Hill, Ronnie. Speech. See You After the Pole. MetropolitanBaptistChurch, Wichita, KS. 27 Sept. 2007.
Kreeft, Peter. Making Sense Out of Suffering.Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1986.
Passantino, Bob and Gretchen. “If God is Good, Why is there so much Suffering in the World?”. Answers in Action 1997: 2 pages. 5 Oct. 2007. <http://www.answers.org/theology/suffering.html>.
Strobel, Lee. The Case for Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.