One of the biggest arguments against God’s existence is this: how can an all-good God exist when there is so much pain and suffering in the world?
Our answer to this question all boils down to our comprehension of the dreadful price of sin. To get a better look at the weight of sin’s consequences, we must go to the book of Genesis.
Genesis 1:31a God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
Atheists will often argue: if God made everything good, why are there flaws in creation?
The world is no longer perfect, not because of our perfect God, but because of imperfect man. God’s original intention was for there to be no suffering. Eden was a plan of perfect peace, love, and harmony. That’s how Adam and Eve had a face-to-face relationship with God and walked with Him in the garden!
But something changed. Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought sin into God’s perfect creation, and sin brings death.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
The volatile world we find ourselves in today all stems from what happened in the garden.
But we can find solace in the truth that God’s original intentions for Creation will come to pass. Revelation 21:1-4 gives us a beautiful illustration of God’s future plans for creation:
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Suffering and sin are not caused by God but rather by man’s sin. Before blaming God, look first at our sinful nature. Never forget that God shows abundant mercy by not striking us down where we stand. Not only that, but if we endure to the end, He will offer us the beautiful reality we read about in Revelation 21.
Other atheists will argue that God could have made everything with only the potential for good, thus not allowing evil and suffering ever to happen. To answer this argument, let’s first take a look at Joshua 24:15: “If it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” This verse clearly shows that God has given man free will.
Some say that they’d rather be a robot with no suffering than a free person with suffering. Consider this for a moment.
Does that honestly sound like living to you?
Of course not! God gave us free will because He is a God of love, and there is no love without free will. Would you be happy in your marriage if the love was not genuine and your spouse was forced to love you? Absolutely not. The love between you and your spouse is special because you continually choose to love one another.
Put yourself in God’s shoes for a moment. If you were Him, would you want to create a world without free will? No. He loves you so much that He chose to give His own life to save you rather than making you a senseless robot.
Others will argue that it’s not fair that we have to suffer because of Adam’s own stupid mistake. What if you were in Adam’s shoes? Adam was the original, perfect form of humanity. If he could fall to sin, are you truly so arrogant to believe that you wouldn’t as well?
Many will ask this question: if God does miracles, why are some prayers unanswered? God cannot simply remove the consequence to sin! If He did, He would be a liar because He declared that sin comes with a heavy price.
Still, yet others will ask: How can God let good people go through such terrible suffering, such as the Holocaust, etc.? When you ask questions like this, you underestimate the price of sin. When mankind chose to sin, even your best life will not overcome it. We deserve worse than anything we’ve experienced. God has shown us infinite grace. We must put ourselves in God’s shoes and look at these things from God’s perspective. God hates sin so much He should strike it down the moment it happens. But He loves us so much He often refrains. He wants to see us saved.
Ultimately, the reason for suffering in our world today all comes down to the horrifying price of sin. But don’t fall to despair. Look to God for hope.
Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
As long as we live out our lives in devotion to God, we will indeed find salvation in Him.