Why Does God Allow Suffering?

This is the BIG question on many peoples minds today, and it is one that keeps many in the world from accepting Christ Jesus as their saviour. They believe that if God was a loving God, then He wouldn't allow all the sin and suffering to continue in this world. Many Christians do their best to give an answer to this difficult question, but most of the time, the answer given isn't sufficient enough for the questioning heart. But on this page we hope to give a more complete answer to this "hot" question.

How Did Sin and Suffering Begin?

Although no-one can give a definitive reason as to why sin could arise in a perfect universe. We can give an explanation as to HOW it began and WHERE it began. We don't know the why, but we know the how. One thing we can confirm from what the Bible says, is that sin did NOT come from God.

Before sin came into existence, there was peace and joy right throughout the universe. But there was one created being, who for some reason, became full of pride and was not satisfied with the already exalted position that God had given him in heaven. That created being, or angel, was Lucifer, who was perfect when he was created, which confirms that God did NOT "create" evil.

Ezekiel 28:13-15 ...'Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.'

These verses are talking about Lucifer, the most exalted angel in the heavenly kingdom. And as you can see, when God created him, he was a perfect being. So the question is, if God didn't created sin and evil, then how did Lucifer end up being evil? Because of his own FREE WILL CHOICE to go against God's heavenly government. God didn't create a bunch of robots to serve Him. No, He wanted to create intelligent beings who He could commune with and have a loving relationship with. But that wasn't enough for one heavenly character!

"Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is "the transgression of the law;" it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government." (E.White, The Great Controversy, Ch.29 - The Origin of Evil)

So how did sin enter into our universe? The answer is found in the books of Ezekiel and Isaiah:

Ezekiel 28:17 ...'Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.'

Isaiah 14:12-14 ...'How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine 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, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.'

So as we can see, Lucifer became proud. His heart was "lifted up" and he wanted to be the ONE in control. For some reason, the already exalted position that God had given him wasn't enough, and he wanted more. Sounds like a lot of people in this world today doesn't it? Pride! Pride was the original sin and it is the cause of so much sin in the world today.

Lucifer, who we will now call Satan, then went and caused discontent amongst the other angels and according to Revelation 12:4, he successfully caused a third of God's angels to rebel with him. And as Revelation 12, verses 4 and 9 reveal, Satan and his angels were cast down to this earth. And most people know the rest of the unfortunate story. Satan tempts Adam and Eve to sin against God and the world becomes a place of sin and suffering.

But Why Does God Allow Sin and Suffering to Continue?

Ok, so this is the question that is still on the minds of many people. It's one thing to know how sin and suffering came into being. But another thing to understand why it is permitted to continue.

Now have a real good think about this. If God was to destroy Satan the moment he sinned, what would go through the minds of all the other angels? Fear would enter into their hearts right? And then they would end up serving God out of fear rather than love, which would destroy the very reason that God created heavenly beings and humans in the first place. And not only that, the universe could also be in a permanent cycle of sin and destruction. Someone sins, God destroys them, someone else sins and God destroys them. Then there wouldn't be an understanding of what sin is and why God is destroying those who sin. And the universe would never be a place of harmony and peace again.

Remember this also. Satan sucessfully caused a third of all God's angels to rebel and join him. Which means Satan was able to cast doubts in the minds of the angels. So if God just destroyed Satan and the angels who followed him, then the angels who didn't join with Satan could forever be left with doubts in their minds. And even if God just destroyed all of His creation and started again, there would be no guarantee that it wouldn't happen again. So God HAD to have a plan to rid the universe of sin FOREVER.

First, God HAD to let Satan's rebellion take it's full course, so that the universe could see the wicked nature of Satan's plans. Until fully developed, Satan's rebellion would not appear the evil thing that it was. But through the death, suffering and destruction in this world, and by torturing and nailing the Son of God, Jesus Christ to the cross on Calvary, the whole of God's creation beheld the true intent of Satan and his sin. The unfallen heavenly angels could now see the path Satan chose was wrong.

Second, God HAS to let sin and destruction (suffering) continue in this world in order for the RESULT of sin to be seen by all. And by seeing the result and utter suffering because of sin, it will stop sin and rebellion from rising up a second time.

"Satan's rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages, a perpetual testimony to the nature and terrible results of sin. The working out of Satan's rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority." (E.White, The Great Controversy, Ch. 29)

The same spirit that prompted rebellion in heaven still continues it's rebellion on earth. Wherever the great moral law of Jehovah is rejected, there sin and destruction and suffering ensues. And this is the great lesson that the whole universe HAD to learn. The RESULT of sin. And it is through this lesson of history, that once sin has been destroyed after the second coming of Christ Jesus, the entire universe will enjoy peace and harmony, and sin will not rise up again.

The true character of Satan has been exposed. And the true character of God has also been shown ... 'The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.' (Exodus 34:6-7). And it was this same merciful God who gave His only-begotten Son as a perfect sacrifice for sin, so that you and I could be forgiven.

"The mighty argument of the cross demonstrates to the whole universe that the course of sin which Lucifer had chosen was in no wise chargeable upon the government of God." (E.White, The Great Controversy, Ch. 29)

Why does God allow suffering? For the whole universe to see the nature and RESULT of sin. So that it will never rise up again, as the Word of God confirms ... Nahum 1:9 ...'Affliction shall not rise up the second time.' ... Yes, we may suffer now, but all who turn from sin and give their lives to Christ Jesus have the blessed hope of the resurrection and eternal life to come in peace and happiness!

Please remember. God loves every one of His created beings more than you and I could understand. And all throughout history, He has witnessed EVERY SINGLE PERSON and animal that has ever suffered. And it pains Him to see just one person suffering. BUT He HAS to let this thing play out in order to rid the universe of sin forever, for the benefit of those who do His will. Our Heavenly Father is a God of love, there can be no doubt!