Why Do Bad Things Happen to Innocent People?
How can God be righteous, yet people who are “innocent” are punished , such as starving children in Africa (or anywhere for that matter). Why are they forced to suffer when there are much more evil people in the world who live comfortably? What gives? There is a really simple answer to the seemingly complex problem.
Simply put: Sin. Sin is what causes the bad things to happen, regardless of a person’s geography, social class, or personality. Sin is a constant in this fallen world, and it is what is the root cause of all evil (seriously, think of any problem and it can traced back to sin. Can’t figure it out, ask me!).
Anyways, you are probably think “Ok, but this doesn’t explain anything.” And I would say “You’re right!”. So let’s start at the beginning. What is sin? Well, by definition, it can be said to be separation from God. What brought sin into the world? The lack of trust by two people, the famous Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3:6 we see the exact time when sin entered the world, and the separation of us from God began.
At this point you may be like “Ok, that makes sense, but that happened to Adam and Eve. I didn’t eat of the apple, so why am I under this ‘umbrella’ of sin?”. It’s because sin isn’t something that only affected the surface of things. It absolutely and unequivocally permeated everything in existence everywhere! That may seem a bit of an overstatement, but Paul says it himself in Romans 8:21-22:
that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
All of creation groans in pain due to sin. And what did God create? Everything! So everything in this worldly realm is permeated with sin. Let me make one point clear: We are all sinful. No one is more sinful than another, because, inherently being born makes us sinful. That is why Jesus had to be born from a virgin.
Now that I have established that every single person and every bit of creation is sinful, it shouldn’t surprise you that people are suffering, including the “innocent” ones. This is the result of sin. And the people who are considered “innocent” really aren’t that innocent. In fact no one is, and that is the reality. We all deserve punishment and all have a separation from God.
But this isn’t where the story ends! No, Jesus came to take on the sin of every single person ever created in the history of mankind and essentially be the bridge between God and us, removing the separation. Just as sin came through one person, it left in one person (Jesus) Romans 5:12-21.
As Christians, we are commissioned (Matthew 28:16) by God to reach the world. These people that we consider to be “innocent” can be reached. I should also note that it doesn’t make them immune to bad things happening, it just makes them immune to the ultimate consequence of sin, which is eternal separation (a.k.a. @#!*% ).
A final note: God is absolute good. God’s character can’t possibly do something that isn’t good. God is also sovereign and has our best interests in mind all the time. So while something we see happen in this world as cruel, especially to people we consider “innocent”, may not sit well with us, it is absolutely critical to remember that God has plans that far exceed anything we can possibly imagine.
In conclusion, this is a broad topic. I tried to answer it in a succinct manner, but still hitting all the main points. If you have any questions, disagreements, please, please post a comment. I won’t be offended if you want to disagree, because I know that I’m not perfect either and may have completely overlooked something!
I am a 21 year old senior at the University of Michigan studying General Biology. After I graduate, I want to got o Pharmacy School to get my PharmD degree and one day own a retail pharmacy. I love to cycle, for pleasure, commuting and work. I also love almost anything relating to technology from news to repairing a computer. I joined TAYA to write apologetic-related blogs, as that is another core passion of mine. I got involved with apologetics my senior year in high school and it really confirmed my faith for me. It is also an area I think the majority of Christians are severely lacking in, so I always enjoy teaching other christians (and non-christians too) why their faith isn't blind! Sometimes the topics I write about aren't very clear, so don't be afraid to email me or ask me (via comment) to explain something more! There is no point in not understanding something because it is likely I didn't explain something well! See you around!
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