Bad Things Happen to Good People

Every day one finds stories of horror: stories of bad things happening to good people.

• Three young women captured and held for 10 years in a dark basement while men abused them.
• Unspeakable physical crimes against children, little boys and girls.
• Teenage girls violated and then hung from their necks.
• Ten year old boys at war in Africa, killing and being killed.

These little horrors are repeated uncountable times daily around the world. How does God put up with this? Is God guilty of allowing the most heinous crimes to occur because certainly — if God is God — he has the power to stop it all.

It is worth noting that crimes by millions are statistics while crimes against one child are personal, mentally wrenching and horrors small enough to contemplate. Multiplied by a fifty or more and it is not comprehensible.

War from time immemorial is a crime against the innocent. There has never been a war where only the combatants live or die.

• 1940s: Hitler/Nazis: 9 million dead in the gas chambers during WW2.
• 1970s: Cambodia; 2 million (25% of their own population) slaughtered by their own government.
• 1990s: The Tutsi’s and the Hutus at war: 1 million killed with machetes, neighbor upon neighbor.

These are recent events and not historical anomalies. Atrocities are the norm in war — the innocent always suffer.

Bad things have happened to good people from the time when Cain killed Abel, through the crucifixion of Jesus, the stoning of Stephen, to rape and murder of children every week today in every country on earth.

Polite society likes to think that this is about “them” and that somehow there is a divide people the good and the evil; but the distance is not so great. Every human can kill — those who say they can’t just haven’t been pushed far enough.

And if we can kill them . . . What can we not do?

But let’s not judge the souls of men – – rather let us judge the heart of God. Is God guilty of allowing these horrors if he has the power to stop it?

Bad things happen to good people.

God can stop it, but He does not; He allows it to happen.
Isn’t He guilty?

The quick answer is that Man is guilty — Cain slaughtered Abel and his innocent blood cried from the ground. Yet, it still stands that God did not stop the murder. When Moses was born, the Egyptians killed thousands of children, two years old and younger, to keep the Hebrews from breeding. God could have prevented this, but He did not.

When Jesus was born, Herod sent his soldiers about and slaughtered all the male children 2 years old and younger.
Is God guilty?

Why does God allow this to happen?

It turns out that these are two questions; answering them requires different approaches.

God chose to make Man someone like Himself — and part of that likeness is to make unilateral decisions with absolute consequences. If mankind did not have the power to make permanent inalterable decisions, then man would be so much less that he is, so much less than the image of God. God wanted a creation (us) who could do things like Him.

I’m convinced that God does not like boredom, which means he does not like predictability. Look at the randomness of the weather and snowflakes or the unfolding of creation — the diversity is limitless. And so God as Three (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) can revel in both omniscience and curiosity: the Father All-Knowing and the Son who does not know either the day or the time of the second coming. All heaven waits and watches eagerly to see what will happen as the history of mankind unfolds.

Man must choose to accept that he cannot “know” in the sense that God can know. Man can only “know” by faith. Eve rejected knowledge by faith. Eve chose to believe that she could determine whether or not what God said was valid or truthful. Eve chose to be God’s judge.

From that position, she sinned and chose to walk away from what was revealed to her as truth (“stay away from that tree!”). She was snared when she rejected knowledge by faith and chose to believe (belief is another word for faith) the word of the Liar who said she could have knowledge without God. We still believe that lie today.
So sin entered the world when Eve, deceived by the Great Liar, rejects truth by faith and places her own intellect above what God has said to her through Adam.

Eve judged God. She made a decision whether or not to believe him. But instead of gaining independent knowledge, she put faith in a partial truth (which all lies are) and proceeded to make another bad decision (by eating the forbidden fruit).

This is why salvation is only through faith — it takes us right back to the Garden before sin when Eve should have accepted that she does not have the capacity to know without faith. Truth, for Man, is only by faith, and so is Salvation.

But we are straying — what really interests people is the question: is their Justice? Or is God unjust for allowing evil to happen?
It is amazing how people demand justice and righteousness despite how unjust and unrighteous we all are. Somehow we know in the core of our being that right must prevail and evil must be punished. This is, after all, the foundation of every action movie — the great hero who against all odds triumphs over the villains and redeems his own honor (if not actually saving the innocent).

What of our villains? What of the child molester or the mass murder? What of the infamous murderers of Columbine or the faceless men who abuse? What of them who do the unspeakable to the truly innocent?
Because truly bad things happen to good people.

If this life was the end of the story, then, like Paul, I would exclaim “if the dead are not raised, then we are the biggest fools of all.” And I would fold and surrender and confess that there is no eternal Justice; and so I make all that follows dependent upon the Resurrection of the dead and their Judgement Day. The Judge on that day was the only one without sin — he will be the judge. This judge was tortured to death — crucified. This Saviour, this Judge, who knows good and evil, life, death, and the grave, shall Judge every man for what he has done.

This King — the Savior, Jesus the Just — shall judge every soul at the Great Judgement Day. Every thought, deed, word and intention shall be laid open to Him. He will make right the wrongs of this life. He will comfort and compensate those whose lives and innocence were so violently removed. And he shall punish with horrors those who committed the evils against them all.

There is justice because there is Judgement on the Final Day. There shall be no escape for this day for anyone.

Hitler did not escape justice by committing suicide. Neither the youthful killer of Columbine. Nor the anonymous child molester, the guards at Auschwitz, rapists, abortionists, nor Pol Pot who ordered the murder of 25% of the population Cambodia.

Do you want fairness? You’ll get it on the Judgement Day. Do you want justice? It will be there for eternity, on that Final Day.
Do you yearn for the punishment of the wicked and compensation for the innocent? We all do — everyone who is human. Where did that yearning come from? Your own good nature?

Don’t flatter yourself. God put this yearning for justice in us so that we would know innately that there must be Judgement. If we were merely the byproduct of time and chance — accidents, lucky survivors of infinite generations of death over billions of years — then from whence cometh this innate demand for fairness? There is nothing biological that demand justice for the innocent — in evolution there is no sin and all are innocent just struggling to survive and, theoretically, the week are culled and the strong survive.

Yet everyone years for justice no matter how evil our own hearts — we demand it.

Justice for the evil and innocent alike shall be delivered perfectly, finally, and in full measure on the Judgement.
So, yes, God lets bad things happen to good people. As it did to His Son. It was not “fair” that Jesus was tortured to death. If God let his own son be tortured to death . . . God is not thereby guilty of a crime — he repays in eternity that which we do in this life.

For the dead — they no longer have to wait.
For the living — we have only a few more years for our Judgement Day.

I fear not for the the innocent on the Final Day — they shall be comforted and be made whole. I fear for the wicked: they will inherit eternal fire and groan in horror forever. I fear for those who have taught that there is no judgement day — how many lives would be spared if a fleeting vision of eternal judgement stayed the hand of the child murderer? But he’s been taught that death is the end. It is not. It is only the end of the beginning.

God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap.
And that Judgement Day comes sooner that any of us expects.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. — Revelation 20:11-20

The Lords knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished. — 2 Peter 2:9

One thought on “Bad Things Happen to Good People

  1. I like what you said here “It is amazing how people demand justice and righteousness despite how unjust and unrighteous we all are. Somehow we know in the core of our being that right must prevail and evil must be punished”


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