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Josh McDowell

If God is all powerful and loving, how come there is so much suffering in the world?

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evil-in-the-worldWhen God created Adam and Eve, He wanted them to love Him, just as we would like our children to love us. In order for God to receive true love, He gave Adam and Eve the option of not loving Him and not obeying Him. In this way, when they did obey and love Him, He knew that it was real. They were not created as puppets or robots programmed to act in certain ways, but they had freedom to act and do as they pleased.

Unfortunately, they chose to reject God’s directive and they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.[1] At this point, they became sinners and all of their descendants were born sinners. Both still bore the image of God, but they now had a sinful nature. This is confirmed in Genesis 5:31, which states that Adam’s son Seth was born in Adam’s image and likeness.

Consequently, all people are born sinners. This being the case, the Bible is replete with the sin of even its most prominent characters. Abraham took his wife’s servant girl Hagar to have his child, even though God had told him that his wife Sarah would produce an heir for him.[2] Jacob deceived his father into giving him the blessing instead of his elder brother Esau.[3] God refused Moses entry into the Promised Land because he disobeyed God’s instructions by striking the rock instead of speaking to it. As well, he took God’s glory for himself.[4] King David committed adultery and deception, and ordered the murder of a faithful soldier in an attempt to cover his crime.[5] The disciple Peter denied Christ three times[6] and the great apostle Paul was so distressed by his own sinful nature that he stated:

O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?[7]

And again:

 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptances, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.[8]

It is not God’s fault that all people are sinners and they do bad things to other people. God blessed us with free will, rather than controlling us as puppets and this is the result.

[1] Genesis chapter 3.

[2] Genesis 15:4; 16:1–4.

[3] Genesis 27.

[4] Numbers 20:9–12.

[5] 2 Samuel 11.

[6] Matthew 26: 69–75.

[7] Romans 7:24

[8] 1 Timothy 1:15.

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