WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SIN?
Question: If there is a God, why is there so much suffering in the world? If God is love and He loves us, why does the news seem to get worse by the day? Why have thousands of innocent people suffered the loss of loved ones or their own lives in horrible and dehumanizing conflicts?
Answer: God is not to blame for all the suffering in the world. He’s not some kind of monster that enjoys making people suffer. It’s not God who causes the pain, death and heartache. The truth is, much of what we suffer is caused by man’s own folly and self-destructive attitudes and trends.
Take wars, for example, which have caused untold suffering throughout history. Martin Luther called war “the greatest scourge that can afflict humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states and it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it!” But is God to blame for man’s wars? The Bible says, “What causes wars and fighting among you? Don’t they come from your own lusts?” (James 4:1.) God is not to blame for the suffering caused by war, but rather man’s own selfishness, greed, pride and competitive spirit-the destruction of others for selfish gain. (Why Does God Allow Sin? Pt 1)
Question: Okay, I can see where man might be responsible for bringing the plague of war on himself, but what about the poverty that pervades the world? What about the millions who are dying of starvation and disease in some of the impoverished nations of the world? Surely they didn’t bring it upon themselves!
Answer: Believe it or not, man is largely responsible for this as well. For example, thousands of years ago, what are now the deserts of Northern Africa were fertile, wooded areas. But over the centuries people cut down all the trees and overgrazed the land.
In countries like Brazil and Indonesia, indiscriminate logging for fast money is slowly bringing about an ecological disaster and population displacement. Can God be blamed for this? Problems like these are caused by man’s own selfishness and lack of foresight or preparation for future generations.
Why Does God Allow Sin?
Question: But the shortage of food is not just caused by desert expansion, war or forest depletion-there are often natural forces beyond man’s control which contribute to the poverty and starvation in much of the world. Isn’t God to blame for those?
Answer: It’s true that some factors are beyond man’s control, but ironically, while millions are undernourished, in other parts of the world there are huge surpluses of food, running into millions of tons a year! God’s earth provides more than enough. No one needs to go hungry. But unfortunately, while many rich Western countries spend hundreds of millions of dollars on storing or destroying these surpluses, even paying farmers not to grow certain crops, and while exercise and weight-loss programs are billion-dollar industries, the poor of the world starve!
Another example of misery and suffering caused by man is the pitiful poverty and squalor of the poor in the huge cities of some developing countries, exemplified by the shanty towns of cities such as Bombay, Rio de Janeiro or Manila, where millions struggle to survive in deplorably inhumane conditions.
God never intended for people to live that way! Most of the people crowded into such slums would have been better off if they had stayed out in the country, where there’s fresh air, more food, fewer people, and where they can raise crops and animals, and enjoy the benefits of the good healthful country living that God originally designed for man.
In some countries, the poor crowd into the cities to escape civil war, guerrilla activity or criminal groups and bandits in the countryside, so their suffering is sometimes brought on by others’ greed and oppression and man’s inhumanity to man in war.
Others, unfortunately, are responsible for their own predicament. They see the cars, televisions and material luxuries that the middle-class or rich own in the cities, and they think that those things will make them happy. They think that in the city they will be able to work less, make more money and possibly even live in luxury.
So they are drawn to the cities, and soon find their families falling apart, their children getting involved with drugs and crime. They can’t find work and they soon suffer from malnutrition and disease.
“Cities,” as the historian Arnold Toynbee said, “are the festering sores on the body politic.” But they’re not God’s fault-they’re a man-made curse!