Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
by Jason Camorlinga
This question can take on a few different forms but the essence is usually asking why God would allow pain, suffering, or death to effect a seemingly innocent person. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? How do we answer this question when our peers, family members or friends ask?
The following is a fairly straightforward, logical response to “Why do bad things happen to good people?” PLEASE remember this however, if a hurting, grieving human being approaches you in their moment of need, they are probably not interested in hearing you launch into a polemic against the existence of “good people.” In those moments we need to be the listening, empathizing, sympathizing hands and feet of Christ. Certainly, your head knowledge will inform your response, and there are definitely times during conversation or debate in which the above is entirely appropriate to share, but deeply hurting and emotional people need your love and compassion in that moment far more than they need a lecture. In other words, know your audience, listen well, and love as you ought.
There are no good people
The main problem with this question is that there are no good people, we are all the bad guys (Romans 3:10-12, Psalm 14:1-3). Human suffering and sin are directly linked to Adam committing the original act of rebellion toward God. God created man “upright” but Adam chose his own path (Genesis 1:26-27, Ecclesiastes 7:29). The apostle Paul specifically points out that all mankind fell with Adam because “all sinned” with him (Romans 5:12). Since that initial rebellion, all of Adam’s descendants have been born corrupted “children of wrath,” sinful and worthy of death (Ephesians 2:3, Psalm 51:5). Because of the rebellion of all mankind, God has no obligation to reduce or eliminate human suffering and death. Martin Luther wrote, “Original sin itself, therefore, leaves free choice with no capacity to do anything but sin and be damned.” Commonly, people will claim that they are “basically good,” but they fail to appreciate the depravity of their sin and fail to recognize that doing a good act does not make them a good person; it makes them someone who did something good…
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