Why does God
allow suffering and evil?
The existence of suffering
and evil in the world has
long been considered to be a big problem for Christianity. It
bothers anyone who believes that God is in control of everything.
As the old song says, "He's got the whole world in His
hands." After a tragic event, TV reporters typically
ask survivors if their faith in God has been shaken. Can they
only reply sadly, "it doesn't make any sense now, but
someday we will understand"?
The answer hinges
on who rules the world.
The devil took
Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all
the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and
he said to Him, "all these things will I give
You, if You fall down and worship me." From
Jesus did not respond "they are
not yours to give." The kingdoms of the world must belong
to Satan! It is clearer in Luke:
And he led Him up and
showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment
of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will
give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been
handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all
be Yours." Luke
Elsewhere Jesus said:
"I will not
speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world
is coming, and he has nothing in Me." John
of this world has been judged." From
The fall of Adam and Eve in Eden
apparently gave Satan ownership of God's Creation. So we have
our answer: evil is in the world because the devil rules the world.
We are living in a place controlled by the enemy of God. To
illustrate with a historical example, Hitler's armies occupied many
countries in Europe during World War II. Most people there
tried to avoid trouble by being docile, but the Nazis could do anything
they wanted to the people any time without warning, and take anything
the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking
someone to devour. From 1
The Nazis controlled populations
through intimidation. Satan controls the world through lies
no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie
he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar,
and the father of lies." From
The god of this
world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving,
that they might not see the light of the gospel
of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
From 2 Corinthians 4:4
And you were dead
in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly
walked according to the course of this world, according
to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit
that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
Within occupied Europe, opposition
to the Nazis could not come in the form of large field armies.
Scattered secret groups organized to fight the occupiers.
"The one who
sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field
is the world; and as for the good seed, these are
the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons
of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is
the devil." Matthew 13:37-39
We know that we
are of God, and the whole world lies in the power
of the evil one. 1 John 5:19
For our struggle
is not against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the powers, against the world forces
of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of
wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians
In these circumstances the need
for Christ's mission on Earth becomes clear.
"No one can
enter the strong man's house and plunder his property
unless he first binds the strong man, and then he
will plunder his house." Mark
"Now the ruler
of this world will be cast out." John
Jesus claimed to fulfil Isaiah's
of the Lord" "has sent Me to proclaim
release to the captives," "to set free
those who are downtrodden". Luke
Some followers, like Judas, mistakenly
thought Jesus was going to free oppressed people from Roman rule.
His real mission was against a far stronger power: Satan's.
Eventually a rescuing army will
arrive to remove the occupying armies and take over.
is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels.
Therefore just as the tares are gathered up
and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end
of the age. The Son of Man will send forth
His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom
all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in
that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth. Matthew 13:39-42
But until then, true Christians
are fighting a guerrilla war. Whenever the partisans of World
War II had some success, they drew the full wrath of the Nazis,
and the children of God can expect the same.
Where do you
think you are? The world is
not an amusement park nor a place of peace and comfort; it is a
war zone, an occupied country.
send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore
be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves."
Greater is He who
is in you than he who is in the world. From
1 John 4:4
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"This I command
you, that you love one another." John
In modern America, many Christians
love means having warm, fuzzy feelings for people, expressed
by hugs and big smiles. Jesus has something else in mind.
As an example of loving
others, He told the parable of the
A passerby comes to the aid of a
badly injured man.
the best for themselves, and we work hard to meet our own needs.
In Luke 10:25-28
Jesus confirms that we are to love others as much as we love ourselves.
to be first among you shall be slave of all. For
even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but
to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
love has no one than this, that one lay down his
life for his friends."
By God's design, living on Earth
means having all sorts of needs that constantly have to be met.
There are endless opportunities to serve others. How
important is it? Jesus said He will decide our fate according to
whether or not we did these kinds of things:
"I was hungry,
and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty,
and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you
invited me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick,
and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came
to Me." Matthew 25:35,36
the extent that you did it to one of these brothers
of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."
Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels
with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
And all the nations will be gathered before
Him; and He will separate them from one another."
Those who helped others will hear
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of
Those who did
not help others will hear
Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has
been prepared for the devil and his angels."
In the gospel of John Jesus says
"An hour is
coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear
His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the
good deeds, to a resurrection of life, those who
committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment."
If you have been born again of
the Spirit, and love God, you will love His Creation.
To make it clear for
America, the wording should be:
This I command you,
that you help each other.
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Citations are from the New American Standard Bible,
Reference Edition, 1973.
John Michael Fischer, 2007