Many people struggle with the question "Why does a good God allow evil and suffering to exist in a world that He created?" This is an age old question. After all if God is indeed good and loves man why does He allow man to suffer?
The answer begins in the story of God's creation of the world and man. In Genesis 1:31 God at the conclusion of His creating the world declares that everything was good, "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day." In stating that everything was good, God affirms that this was how He desired and designed all things to be. Nothing was less than it should be. Nothing was lacking.
The ideal creation also included an ideal man and woman. Their relationship with all things was perfect. In Gen. 2:25 we are told, "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." Why were they not ashamed? Because they were innocent as children. Every thought was pure, holy and God-honoring. They had no desire to exploit or deceive one another. No ego, no pride, no feeling of competition and no desire to dominate the other.
But all that changed when Adam and Eve sinned. Sin brought immediate consequences. "Their eyes were opened." In an instant they recognized their base desires and felt and looked at their nakedness in a very different way. Gen. 3:7 tells us, "they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." In the next verse we find them hiding from God. The same God whom they previously walked with and trusted they now HID THEMSELVES FROM. Sin changed how they thought. They were no longer godly and accepting of each other, but now motivated by shame and fear they thought selfishly according to what they now felt was best for them as individuals.
All sin comes from selfish motives. We steal to gain. We kill out of anger and fear. We lie to escape accountability or to gain the smallest measure of the opinion of others. We lust to satisfy unhealthy desires. We covet the things of others because we resent their success and prosperity.
Adam and Eve's sin brought curses upon life that punish all. In Gen. 3:16, Eve brought affliction on all women; their pain in childbirth was multiplied and their marital relationship with the husband would be marked by "a desire" to be in control of him. Because of Adam, men would find the soil cursed with thorns and thistles. An occupation that once was a work of love would now be a work of great labor. And because of Adam's sin in v.19 man and woman "would return to the ground"; meaning they would die.
Pain, labor, contention in relationships, a world that is cursed and the certainty of death. These are all the consequences of sin. And it is passed on to all men regardless of what they do, good or bad. In Rom. 5:12-14 we read, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned- For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come,"
So as we come to the end of part one of this study, we see that the first sin brought the consequences of sin into the world and they are shared by all who live. We also find that the innocent nature which God placed in man was lost when sin entered the world. Also we find that every relationship that man has is cursed because of sin.
In part two we will examine the impact of the free will of man on the problem of suffering and evil in the world that God made. I hope you will join us then. - David Miller