Why Does God Let Innocent People Suffer?
No. 9 in the Series, Most Frequently Asked Questions Concerning God
This is the most frequently asked question concerning God. If God is loving, why do evil people flourish and innocent people perish? Why does God not step in to help, deliver, and save? Millions of people died in World War II. Many innocent people are still dying all around the world today in war and in peace. Babies are born impaired. Children become crippled. Adults become paralyzed. Old people become invalids. There is senseless killing, lying, cheating, stealing, and robbing between and within nations and ethnic groups, in “bad neighborhoods” and “good neighborhoods,” and in families. Who are the victims? Mostly the innocent––the children, the aged, and the nice people. Where is God? Is He not a loving God? Did He not create man? Why does He not help? Why does He let it happen? Isn’t He in control? We need to go back to the beginning to see why things are the way they are and if there is a solution to this problem that all humanity faces.
The Battle of Two Kingdoms
The Bible tells us that before man was created, Lucifer, the archangel who had been appointed by God to be the head of all the angels (Ezekiel 28:14), (Jude 9) rebelled against God and became God’s enemy, Satan (Isaiah 14:12), (Ezekiel 28:15). As a result, sin entered the universe and caused it to become fallen. The earth became the kingdom of Satan (Luke 4:6). Since then, there has been a struggle between these two kingdoms––God’s and Satan’s (Isiah 14:12-15), (Colossians 1:13). This is the source of all the death, misery and chaos in the universe – the battle between God and Satan.
Man is to Express God and Rule for God
But God had a plan to deal with Satan. God wanted another of His creatures – Man – to defeat Satan. Man was made by God in His image to express God and rule for God (Genesis 1:26). To express God is to love as God loves, be righteous as God is righteous, and so on. God has many divine attributes, and man was created with the corresponding human virtues. Man is supposed to live a life that expresses God’s divine attributes through his human virtues (Matthew 5:48). Man was also made to rule for God as His deputy authority on the earth to overthrow and replace Satan and to bring in God’s kingdom of love and righteousness (Matthew 22:39), (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Man was created perfectly. He would not get sick or die. God provided everything that man would need to live – He gave man air, water, food, and sunshine to sustain him; and trees, flowers, plants and animals to make the earth inviting, beautiful and living. Then to enable man to know God, express God and rule for Him, God made a spirit within man and set man before the tree of life (Genesis 2:9), (Zechariah 12:1). The tree of life signifies God becoming life to man. If man would take God into his spirit by eating the tree of life, man would have God as life and be able to express God and to rule for God.
The Greatest Tragedy of the Universe
Although God’s intention would have been fulfilled if man had eaten from the tree of life, God created man with a free will, so that man could choose between Him and Satan––signified by the tree of knowledge. Satan came in disguise, in trickery, and deceived man by making the tree of knowledge seem very pleasant (Genesis 3:1), (2 Corinthians 11:3). Man chose the tree of knowledge, and hence instead of receiving God’s life, man received the satanic life into himself, resulting in sin, evil, and death (Romans 5:12). The satanic life has been growing in man over the millenia.
Because man took in Satan’s life, man is under the control of the satanic nature inwardly as well as under the authority of Satan outwardly (Ephesians 4:17-19), (Romans 7:23). The Bible calls Satan “the god of this age.” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Man is blinded by him and is unconscious of what the evil one is doing to and in him (1 John 5:19). Satan’s desire is to ruin and kill man. The real and living God created man, but the god of this age got into man. The universal tragedy is that the very man who was to be a king living in God’s kingdom has become a slave dying in Satan’s kingdom (Hebrews 2:14-15). This is why there are wars, injustice, and oppression. Satan is destroying the man God created so that the condition today is not God’s original intention.
God’s Way of Saving Man from Suffering
God loved man and still wanted to save man from suffering back to Himself (Romans 5:8). He took some definite steps to bring about the defeat of Satan, heal man and bring in His own kingdom. First, He Himself came to earth as a man named Jesus Christ 2000 years ago (John 1:1,14), (Matthew 1:21). He as a man set up a pattern for us, showing us how men may love one another and live righteously by God’s life (John 6:57), (1 John 4:7). Satan attempted to corrupt this Man and bring Him into subjection, but this perfect Man did not succumb to any of Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:9-10). He was the one-man kingdom of God. Satan had nothing in Him (John 14:30). Jesus did not have the satanic nature; therefore He was inwardly free from the tyranny of Satan. Yet He did not wish to be the only man fighting Satan to take back the earth. He wanted many of His fellow men to join Him in this struggle.
For this, He died to pay a ransom for all mankind in order to redeem them from God’s righteous judgment of sin and was resurrected to be man’s life (1 Peter 3:18), (1 Peter 1:3), (1 Corinthians 15:45). Now the way has been reopened for man to take God in as life and to express and rule for God so that, together with Christ, he can defeat God’s enemy and bring in His kingdom. (Hebrews 10:20), (1 John 5:11), (Galatians 2:20), (Revelation 20:6), (Revelation 11:15). All this happened 2000 years ago, yet most people have not heard about or received this good news. The world is still in chaos because so many are under Satan’s deception and control to resist God and live by the sinful nature.
The Way to Stop All Suffering
If you want to get out of this chaos and save the world from Satan’s kingdom, you need to be saved yourself first by receiving God into you through calling on His name (Acts 2:40), (Acts 2:21). He can then start the process of salvation inside of you. Then you need to spread the good news abroad to your acquaintances. (Mark 5:19). When enough people on earth are filled up with the God of love and righteousness, the kingdom of God will be brought in and the condition of this earth will radically change (2 Peter 3:13). People will be living in peace, loving one another (Revelation 21:3-4). There will be no more robbing nor senseless killing. All forms of evil will be removed from the earth. Would you like to see this in your lifetime? What should you do?
You may turn from Satan’s kingdom of darkness to God’s kingdom of light, and from Satan’s authority of death to God’s authority of life (Acts 26:18). You may pray:
“Lord Jesus, come into me. Deliver me from Satan’s kingdom into Your kingdom. Forgive me of all that I did under the tyranny of Satan. Save me now."
Then you will become a part of what God is doing in man to end all the suffering in the world and to bring His kingdom to the earth.
*All quoted verses taken from "The New Testament Recovery Version Online" at http://online.recoveryversion.org, Copyright © 1997-2012 by Living Stream Ministry.