Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Scripture: Isaiah 14:12, Job 1:6-12
Why does God permit sin and suffering? Why doesn't the Lord just end this all? In order to find out the answer to this question, we need to go back to the beginning of sin. This broadcast looks at the origin of sin.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, as they open the Bible and talk about themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi, this is Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. My name is John Bradshaw and with me is Gary Gibbs. Hi, Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi, John. We are going to be talking about, I think a question a lot of people ask, you can't help but ask this as you live on this planet, "Why does God if there's a god permits so much sin so much suffering?"

John: Yes, good God, bad world, why is that?

Gary: Yes, if He's a God of love and He has ultimate control of everything, why doesn't He just end this thing? Why string it out and let us suffer like this?

John: You wouldn't be surprised to know because you've done a lot of this yourself. In my public ministry, this is a question that I get asked all the time. Why does god allow suffering and sadness and sorrow and sin? Man it's a good question, right? The couple is faithful. They're Christians. They go to church. They love god. Their baby dies or the young mother comes down with cancer or some dreadful disease or the dad loses his job or whatever the case might be, terrible things.

When there's disaster in the world and innocent children die and the elderly suffer, a lot of people pin this on God and say, "Why is god doing this? Why does god let it happen?" Hey, the insurance company wants to tell you that when the roof gets blew off your house in the storm, that's an act of God.

Gary: That's an act of God, that's right. There was this large tsunami probably one of the greatest natural disasters in our time, chilling.

John: True.

Gary: Well over a hundred thousand people. Who did that? You can't answer that. I'm sure there are a lot of people who have wondered why did God allow this massive carnage of people. Why did God do it?

John: Are you ready for the answer? Are you ready for the answer.

Gary: Go ahead.

John: This could be a short, pithy answer, but I don't think that's going to really be helpful. If you want the answer, you got to go back to the beginning. You're ready to go back to the beginning?

Gary: Let's do it.

John: In fact, we'll go back to before the beginning. You want to do that?

Gary: Let's do it.

John: All right, in heaven, God had a heaven full of perfect angels but when God created the intelligent beings in heaven, one thing he did is he gave them freedom of choice. He made them free moral agents. Man, I got to tell you something, God took a real risk when he did that, didn't he?

Gary: Whenever you have free moral agents like our little children, they have a will of their own and they can choose not to obey their parents. These angels had the opportunity, they had the choice, the ability not to cooperate with God, to obey Him.

John: See, when a person has freedom, there's some risks involved. Now, let me touch on a sensitive area here. I'm married to a wonderful woman, the wife of my youth, the woman I love. You know what? But she has freedom. I don't keep her at home or locked up, chained up, bound and forced to stay in the house. She's free. Honestly, she's free to come and go, right? You know what I mean.

Gary: Mm-hmm.

John: There's a little risk involved there, so we thank god for something we call real love. God loves those angels far more than we could ever experience love on this earth. I'm sure he gave them freedom to choose. Now, there's an angel named Lucifer. Lucifer exercised his freedom to choose in a pretty unwise way.

Gary: But if God is all-knowing and He can tell what's going to happen before it happens then He knew Lucifer was going to go bad, didn't He?

John: True.

Gary: Then why did He create him? Why not create all the other angels? Say He creates a hundred angels. Why didn't He create 99 of them and leave Lucifer out of the batch?

John: Let's talk about what Lucifer did, and then we can come back and address your question. I'm going to read here from the book of Isaiah 14:12 says, "How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning? How are thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations? For you have sin in your heart. I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of god. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation and the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the most high." Lucifer got to the place where he coveted the prerogatives of god.

Gary: You know what I would say, if I met somebody... In fact, I had a friend years ago who all he could talk about was himself. I this, I that. I, I, I. We call that "ego-itis." It sounds like that's what Lucifer had. In fact, the center letter of Lucifer's name is "I.:

John: Yes, he had an "I" problem.

Gary: The center letter of sin is "I." Five times there in that passage he says, "I want to do this. I want to do that. I want god's place." He said this in his heart. This began as covetousness, wanting God's place.

John: Now, you said why did God just not create this guy?

Gary: Yes, why didn't he just leave him off the manufacturing list?

John: He created all the angels and gave them all freedom to choose. If Lucifer hadn't chosen to go this way, there's no reason to suggest that somebody else some other angels might not have chosen this too, you know.

Gary: Now, did God not have any other option? What were his other options?

John: He creates these angels, gives them freedom to choose. He could've created them without freedom of choice.

Gary: What would that have looked like?

John: Man, you've got a heaven full of robots. You can't love somebody that doesn't have the freedom to choose to love you or love otherwise. That can't be a true loving relationship is what I mean.

Gary: If you can't process information and think about it and make decisions relative to it then, you are nothing but a robot. That means that all your other thoughts and your actions and reactions have to have been pre-programmed into you. God's choice was either to create free moral agents, don't create or create pre-programmed robots.

John: We both have a couple of children and we know that, unfortunately, there's a chance that they may not turn out good in the final analysis.

Gary: That's why some people never have children.

John: Right. Now, we got to do everything we can to make sure our family that our children love the Lord. I'm sure in your family you're doing exactly the same thing. But that chance exists. Now, the flip side is to somehow program your kids so the chance doesn't exist, but that wouldn't be real.

Gary: There are days that you wish you could do that.

John: Yes, true and every parent can relate to that. God could have created robots but he did. Then, after Lucifer fell, could God have destroyed him, wiped him out and say, we'll fix the problem by getting rid of Lucifer? You can imagine how bad that would have looked in heaven, can't you? Lucifer starts getting around heaven spreading discontent. Next minute, wham! He's gone. The angels get together under the tree of life and they say, "What in the world? Lucifer was there one minute. He was saying these things. He was spreading his view. God wiped him out. Maybe Lucifer was right and God is unfair or Lucifer should be like the most high or Lucifer should sit in the place of God." Heaven wouldn't be a place based on love anymore.

Gary: No, from there on out, they would say, "Hey, you better never question God or he'll call you into his office and zap you and you'll never be anymore."

John: Heaven would have been based on fear.

Gary: That's right. Hey, John. I think we need to mention to our listeners that we have a wonderful resource that they can obtain free of charge by calling our toll free number at the end of this program, emailing or writing us, "What You Don't Know Will Hurt You." It reveals how sin began. Who's behind all the sin and suffering? It will go into great detail on this very topic and then, get this free of charge no obligation by calling or writing us at the numbers given at the end of this program.

John: God could have chosen to create robots or he could have wiped out Lucifer, that wouldn't work. Here's what God did. He created angels and then human beings with the ability to make their own choices. He gave them every incentive and today gives us every incentive to choose Jesus and to follow the God of heaven. He respects our choice to do otherwise. God doesn't ever take away that freedom to choose. God knows that in the final analysis when this whole battle between good and evil is being played out, the entire universe will know that God was right and did the right thing. Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is lord.

Gary: Then, what we're saying, in summary here, is that we have good angels that god created but one of them goes bad and he convinces one-third of the other angels to follow him and then, there's this rebellion against God. But let's come back to the original question. Why is there suffering? We know why there's sin now. But who is behind tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, fire, murder? Who is behind all that? God controls nature. Is he the one causing this destruction?

John: Oh, no, man, in the Bible, there's a perfect answer for this, the perfect answer. Now, certainly, God is in absolute total control, but he doesn't always step to end every possible disaster, episode of pain or death. Otherwise, God would not be allowing this battle between good and evil just to play out. He'd be influencing people's choices in an arbitrary way that really would have unnecessary impact on this whole plan of salvation in the way we choose for or against Jesus.

Gary: Let me pause you there before you read this, as well. I think also, if god were to stop all this, if he were to intervene every time and stop all of the natural outworking of people's decisions of the natural forces, this would be heaven, wouldn't it?

John: Yes, that's right.

Gary: We're living in a world right now where we're not into heaven yet, where people are still making their choices whether they want to live for eternity with God in heaven or they don't want to live in the heaven.

John: That's important. People are still making choices. I was in a wreck once. At an intersection, a man made a choice to go out and get drunk then he made a choice to run a stop sign. Man, it was too late. Bam! I thank God then and thank Him forever. I wasn't scratched but it could have really been bad. God could have prevented that but that would have been to interfere arbitrarily and unnecessary with people's moment by moment, day to day choices.

Gary: He's not doing that all the time right now.

John: No, He's not.

Gary: One day, he will interfere ultimately and it will end the world as we know it and usher in heaven. But you were going to share with us a story here about why we have natural disasters. Who's behind it, God or Satan?

John: You got the book of Job 1:8. The Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears god and shunned evil." Satan answered the Lord and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? You've made a hedge about him and about his house and all that he has. Put forth your hand now and touch all that he has. He will curse you to your face." The Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power only upon himself put not forth your hand." Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord and then, you read in this story of Job that Satan went out and deliberately caused all kinds of misery and chaos.

Gary: Destroyed his house, killed his family, wiped out his livelihood.

John: Yes, all died. True, all these things...

Gary: Yet the people watching it said, "God did this to you."

John: The Bible makes it very, very clear that it wasn't God at all. It was the devil behind what was going on.

Gary: I think the devil is behind a lot of the death and mayhem that's going on today in our world.

John: Yes, he is. As we've said, God, perhaps, could put forth his hand and stop all of this but he won't. That wouldn't be playing by the rules that the plan of salvation has said in plain, God, on this freedom to choose. Sometimes, we know that angels intervene and god puts forth his hand but on the big picture, he's not doing that all the time. There's a devil spreading misery and mayhem and what he wants people to think, god did this. You can't trust God. God is unfair. That's the line he started spreading in heaven years ago.

Gary: We need to, in these moments of time, these probationary moments before the end comes, we need to make right choices then no matter what comes into our life, we'll be like Job, we'll still worship god. We'll still trust him. In the end, God blessed Job abundantly beyond everything he'd ever lost because Job's faith in god remained constant and we need to have that type of faith.

John: Beyond the pain, beyond the suffering. God is still God and He loves us and He wants us to live happily with Him forever. Oh, friend, you can choose God today and choose to come back and join us next time with Gary Gibbs. I'm John Bradshaw and this has been Bible Talk.

Male: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the text we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for, "What You Don't Know Will Hurt You." The toll-free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058 Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of the Life Talk radio.

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