In the final article on the question of how we should think when faced with all of the crises that are going on now in the world, I’d like give a short answer to the question, “Why do bad things happen?” Countless books have been written on this subject and I don’t claim to have all of the answers. But I do have some thoughts that might give you tools do think about this subject.
The Bible tells us that when God made the world and mankind, everything was good. We learn very quickly that that situation did not last very long. Satan, in order to undermine God and his glory, attacked mankind with the offer of being like God. Eve took the bait as did Adam her husband. We learn then that the whole created order was cursed by God. In Romans 8:19-22 we read, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”
Since the curse things die. Since the curse there is pain and suffering. Since the curse things wear out and degrade.
We groan because we know things should be better. The pain we feel physically and the aging process all testify to the fact that things are less than ideal. The fact that we can picture a better situation is a sign that there is in fact a better life. We’re just not there yet.
Why are there wars? James 4:1 tells us, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” In other words it’s sin that causes this.
Why are there earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados and hurricanes? Isn’t it because God has cursed nature? Things are not as they were originally created. Creation is groaning.
But why would a good God let these things happen? That is the question of the ages. My thought is that God has cursed this world and he will continue to allow those effects work themselves out according to his plan until the end when he renews everything. According to Romans 8 creation waits until the glorious liberty of the children of God. In that final day when the resurrection comes and God sets up his kingdom, things will be made right. Until then we live in a world affected by man’s fall and the consequences that flow from it.
How are we to live in light of all of this? I would say, first, avoid cynicism. Do not succumb to the thought that all is hopeless. Remember God is in control and is acting lovingly and for his glory.
Second, avoid fatalism. Fatalism is the view that everything is predetermined and unalterable so why try. Even though God is sovereign, the Bible never encourages a fatalistic attitude.
Third, pray. Pray for your leaders. Pray for those suffering from tragedies. Pray for your family that each one may come to know Christ and his salvation personally. Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Pray for the glory of God to triumph.