Does God unjustly allow people to suffer?
There was a time in man’s history when there was no suffering or pain. It was in the Garden of Eden prior to man’s initial sin.
We learn in Genesis that God created the heavens and the Earth and all things in the universe. During the creation process God would say multiple times that what he had created was good. Then in Genesis 1:31, God stated that everything he had created was very good. There is no doubt that God was pleased with His creation.
This pleasure was also in mankind. If God had pleasure in man, then man was at that point sinless; we can draw this conclusion because God has no pleasure in sin. Eventually, we learn that man sinned against God (Genesis 3:6-7); God then reveals to Adam and Eve the consequences of sin in Genesis 3:16-19. God told Adam and Eve that they would now experience SORROW and DEATH. Therefore, the suffering and sorrow that you and I face today is not the work of an unjust God, it’s the consequences of sin. Mankind suffers because mankind sins. This does not necessarily mean that God imposes sin on the individual as a result of their individual sin. But we must remember what Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Furthermore, God does not allow or cause suffering in the world. We live in a world that is affected by the sin that is in it. This sin is a result of man’s lustful desires “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1:13-16 KJV). All suffering and sin is a result of mankind’s transgressions. One thing is certain; those that endure suffering and remain faithful to God will be blessed (Matt. 5:3-11).
Finally, we should know that sometimes innocent people suffer as a result of the sins of others or the causes of natural laws. When a drunkard drives a vehicle and hits another person killing them it was not a cruel God that took the life but the actions of a sinner caused the death. What if rock fell from a cliff and struck and injured or killed a person, is God at fault? No. In these cases the forces of nature are the point. Gravity is a natural law and we must not blame God for natural causes.
One thing is for sure, God loves us and want us to be saved from sin. This is possible through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). If a person believes in Jesus as the Son of God (Mark 16:15-16), is willing to repent of their sins (Acts 2:38), willing to confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 10:32) and be buried in Baptism with Christ (Acts 2:38, 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21), God will forgive them of all their transgressions.
(Questions/Answers is provided by Tony Hoss, Minister of Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)