Pain. Darkness. Death. Despair.
Sooner or later, every one of us is confronted by the reality of suffering and evil in this world. As a result, some have experienced deep emotional pain that has caused them to reject God. While some have concluded He doesn’t exist, others have concluded He is either powerless or uncaring.
Yet the Bible insists from the very first page that there is a God who, by the word of His power, brought this entire universe into existence and repeatedly emphasises that everything He made was good. “God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31, KJV).
So, what went wrong? Surely God can no longer look at the world He made and say it’s very good!
The Bible makes it clear that this world is not the way it’s supposed to be. The apostle Paul tells us: “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22, ESV). And Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, NKJV). Clearly, God’s will is not being done on earth right now and we rightly long for that time when we will see peace on earth and goodwill towards men.
So how did evil come into this good world that God created?
Sadly, we abused one of God’s most precious gifts. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in this good world, He granted them the gift of choice. He placed them in a garden that abounded in trees that were “pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9, NKJV). Everything they needed was there.
He gave them just one restriction: they were not permitted to eat the fruit from one tree. He gave them the freedom to choose– good or evil, obedience or disobedience, life or death. And by choosing to ignore God’s Word and eat the forbidden fruit, they turned their backs on Him. All the pain and suffering and evil we see in this world can ultimately be traced to the unintended consequences of their abuse of God’s gift of choice.
God has graciously provided a costly solution to the problem of pain and suffering. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to suffer and die a horrific death to pay the penalty for sin. Now He grants us the gift of choice. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36, NKJV).
If you choose to ignore God’s Son and live your life without regard to His Word, you will experience the unintended consequences of eternal separation from the good things He has prepared for those who love Him. What will you choose?