One of the most prevalent questions among believers and non-believers revolves around suffering in the earth, and personal suffering. It seems that if there is a God, and if He is good, there should be no suffering. He should “do something”. Because most Christians lack understanding in this area, they have no answers for those who have decided there must be no God. How can we understand God’s role in a world full of suffering?
The world God created was perfect.
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. (Gen. 1:31)
There was no sickness, no death, no violence, no war, and there were no disasters. Evil was not a part of God’s creation. Just before the completion of creation, God created the purpose for His creation; man.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion . . .” (Gen. 1:26-28)
God created the earth for mankind and gave the earth to mankind. Men and women were created to have dominion and rule the earth as God’s representatives.
The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men. (Ps. 115:16)
God put mankind in charge of His creation.
. . . You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, (Psalm 8:4-6)
Once Adam and Eve sinned against God, the consequences were immediate. Darkness, death, sickness, violence, lust, and fear all entered into creation because man had chosen independence from the Source of life and goodness.
The earth was now under the dominion of an enemy, the one who had deceived Adam and Eve, and through their sin had now “stolen” their dominion. In a very real sense, God was on the outside looking in. The earth was under man’s dominion and God must honor His Word.
Cain killed Abel and God didn’t intervene. Why didn’t He do something? He couldn’t. The earth belonged to man, and man had given it to Satan. God’s only way to now intervene in the affairs of men would be through man’s choice to believe Him by means of His covenants, and finally by means of His gift of redemption through Jesus. Only by our faith can God “do something” in our lives.
Suffering is not God’s fault. It is now our responsibility to “reign in life” (Rom. 5:17), “heal the sick” (Luke 9:2), “resist the devil” (James 4:7), and “believe and receive” (Mk. 11:24). God is waiting for us to believe Him. Born-again believers are now the light of the world, and are called to demonstrate God’s goodness in the midst of darkness.
by Barry Bennett – shared with permission