If you’ve been through loss, suffering, or seasons of confusion, you’ve likely asked, “If God is so good, why do bad things happen?” We’ve all asked this question at one time or another, and God is not intimidated by it.
Isaiah 1:18 says, “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”
In other words, God invites us to ask tough questions and dig deeper to understand how something like sin and suffering that creates such a lasting stain can be made white again.
The Apostle Paul Knew God Was Good and Answered the Question, “Why Do Bad Things Happen?”
The Apostle Paul understood what “God is good” meant, but he also knew bad things happen. He endured torture, suffering, and imprisonment and was eventually martyred for his faith. This is what he wrote about suffering and provided reasons for “why do bad things happen.”
- “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope…”—Romans 8:18-20 (Emphasis added)
The word “futility” implies emptiness, chaos, confusion, derivation, and destruction. Creation was subjected to destruction, not willingly but because of God, who subjected it in hope.
What Is Paul Teaching in Romans 8:20?
God Himself has to judge His own creation because it is under the curse of sin. But He does this with hope, promising that one day a paradise lost will be a paradise regained.
Romans 8:21 goes on to tell us that creation is in the bondage of corruption because of sin. This is why it “eagerly waits for the revealing.” Because of the bondage, there is chaos, deprivation, and destruction. But there is also a promise that it will one day be delivered—this is the “hope.”
3 Things You Need to Know About Suffering | Making Sense of the Nonsense
- Creation Groans Because of Sin
Why do bad things happen in the world? It was the human choice of sin that introduced human suffering.
God did not create the world as we know it today. It became distorted because of humanity’s rebellion. God told Adam, “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
Adam rebelled and chose sin–anything contrary to what God says–which cursed all creation.
“Then to Adam He (God) said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”:
‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.’”—Genesis 3:17 (Emphasis added)
God gets blamed for many things that He did not do. This is why many ask, “If God is good, why do bad things happen?”–a question that reflects beliefs that need to be deconstructed…
- If God is good and all-powerful, there shouldn’t be any suffering.
- If God is good but allows suffering, He must not be all-powerful.
- If God is all-powerful but allows suffering, He must not be good.
- “… because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”—Romans 8:21-22 (Emphasis added)
Sin cursed all creation with death, destruction, chaos, and confusion.
If God knew ahead of time Adam would choose sin and suffering, then why did He give him a choice? God allowed sin to enter the world, but He was not the author of it.
We were made to be in a relationship with God. So then, think about this:
- To love without the freedom to love isn’t true love
- To worship without the freedom to worship isn’t true worship
If God hadn’t given Adam a choice, his “yes” and ours would mean nothing. He wants our love and worship to be true.
God knew a world without choice would be worse than one without pain.
- We Groan Because of Sin
The Bible says we groan because of sin. So then, what hope do we have in a world that has been scared by sin? God promises paradise lost will one day be paradise regained!
The Apostle Paul looked forward to the new heavens and new earth. Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”
The bondage of corruption over creation will be delivered. There will be a day we will experience the glorious liberation that would’ve been if Adam had not sinned.
Sin has delayed the plan of God, but it has not destroyed the plan of God! There will be a Kingdom without suffering, without sin, and without end.
- “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”—Romans 8:22-23 (Emphasis added)
We live in a world that is at war with itself. We groan and ask why do bad things happen. It can feel like righteousness is retreating and wickedness is winning. But through the suffering, have hope. There is a promise of paradise.
- The Holy Spirit Groans Because of Sin
The Spirit grieves because of the sin of this world, but He doesn’t leave us alone. How? He intercedes and reminds us that the prize will be worth the price of having faithfully carried the scars of life.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”—Romans 8:18
Remember, you are not bearing your scars alone!
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. “—Romans 8:26
Jesus bore His scars so that we can bear ours. Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples that He would leave but send another Helper—the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit dwells in believers, not leaving us as orphans but interceding and comforting us during times of suffering.