Can We Blame God for Bad Things That Happen?

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In order to know God’s love in its fullness, we live with pain and the occasional horrors of sin. But because love is a choice, we live in a world where love is all the more spectacular.

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:7-10

Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters—Galatians 6:10.

Students shuffled nervously into the school assembly. They listened silently as their principal explained that yesterday after school a seventh-grade girl had been dragged into a boys’ lavatory and raped. The students erupted with anger when the news sunk in. How could their school have let this happen?

That’s the same question we toss at God: “Why do you allow people to mistreat each other? Why do you let people become murderers, rapists, child abusers, abor­tionists…?”

At the heart of that deep question is why God would make creatures capable of choosing evil-sometimes big-time evil. As hard as it may be to accept when you howl with hurt, creating people with free will was God’s perfect choice. While God’s choices are always unlimited, let’s think about just a few that he had:

  • God could have chosen NOT to create a world at all. Besides being the least popular choice among four out of five people, the choice wasn’t popular with God. He is love-and he wanted a family to share his love.
  • God could have made a world of robots that had to love him. But “forced love” is a contradiction. Robots are simply programmed to respond.
  • God could have created a world where people were free to choose. That’s what he did. He gave Adam and Eve the capacity to obey or disobey, to love or not to love. They ultimately chose to rebel, and as a result sin entered our race.

It might seem like a mammoth contradiction that God is holy yet picked the only option where evil could occur. The result: Free human beings choose to reject him, mock him, and disobey him, and we jump at the chance to violate each other. Yet God allowed choices in order to show his love and allow us to love him.

In order to know God’s love in its fullness, we live with pain and the occasional horrors of sin. But because love is a choice, we live in a world where love is all the more spectacular. When people choose to love in a world where they have total free­dom to do evil, every act of love stomps on evil. And that kind of heroic love reminds us we were made by a loving God so we could love him.

REFLECT: How could a loving God create a world where evil can take place?

PRAY: Ask God for an opportunity to share what you have learned with a friend who struggles with understanding evil.

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