Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Consider the two following quotes, which seem to clash. One is Isaiah 45:7, which clearly states that God "creates evil." The second is from Lamentations 3:38, which says "from the mouth of the Most High, evil...did not result."

The answer to the contradiction may be seen in a third verse, Proverbs 19:3, which says "the foolishness of a man corrupts his way, yet his anger is directed against God." Meaning, that while some evil is undoubtedly created by God (such as the death of an infant), a lot of evil is the result of humans' choices. God has given us the gift of free-will (Deuteronomy 30:15-20); and without the possibility of bad results, free-will would be vitiated.


Entire books (such as Job) have long ago been written about the existence of suffering.

Suffice it to say that Judaism sees the existence of evil as a test, and/or the result of our own (humans') bad choices, and/or a warning (such as pain, which shows you what part of your body needs repair) or a message (Genesis 42:22), and/or mere misinterpretation (such as the bee's sting, which to a child is unmitigated evil but which adults recognize as a protection for that insect which pollinates all fruit-bearing trees).


In any case, this life was never meant to be a walk in the park. People are meant to invest hard effort in this world (see Job 5:7), and suffering is a factor which should assist us in gaining understanding.

Suffering teaches us:

  • our mistakes (Genesis 42:22)
  • to repent
  • that we are not all-powerful or in control
  • that this life is not meant to be uninterrupted pleasure
  • to have sympathy for sufferers (Exodus 23:9)
  • humility; maturity; acceptance; fortitude.

Also, when viewed in the context of the afterlife, when worthy people who suffered may be recompensed and the prosperous wicked will have the opposite, the apparent injustices of this world become easier to understand.

Link: The afterlife

  • Opinion 1
To gain wisdom, to teach us a lesson, so we get closer to Him.
  • Opinion 2
Because God is just a form of reassurance for people in need. Not An actual physical being, God does not "allow" things to happen to anybody.
  • Opinion 3
God does not allow bad things to happen to good people. First, we live in a VERY imperfect world. The law of sowing and reaping, or what goes around comes around, is also in effect. Now, you may be the most perfect human on the planet; but that still doesn't mean that someone else's wrongdoing will affect you. The earth is kinda like a very dusty room(dust representing wrong). You are going through this room and you will get dusty, whether you like it or not. This whole statement is pointless to you unless you believe in God, and ergo, sin.
  • Opinion 4
Because God has released control of the present system of things over to Satan in order to show, since he has given everyone...including angels...free will, that only he has the authority and right to rule and govern everything. It will be all over when the conclusion of this system of things comes to an end and the earth is restored back to it's original paradise state. Then people who want to live under God's' rule will be here and people who don't wont... given that (opinion) you believe in God and what the bible teaches. As for events such as earthquakes and tsunami's it says in the bible that in the last days those things will happen and that there are unforeseen that happen to everyday people like walking down the street tripping and falling in a way that causes death, as far as everything else...which is the majority of bad things...they are the result of Satan and his evil spirit.
  • Opinion 5
First of all, i want to say something about how you asked the question: " Why does god "ALLOW" bad things to happen to good people" . God doesn't allow things, he makes things,he commands things, its not like things ask him to do something and He says "yes" or "no"....No!!..its not like this..God commands things to happen, and he "MAKES" bad things happen to good people so he can test their patience and see if they will still believe in him even though they're going through hardships. he wants them to pray more and more asking God for help to get them out of all that they're going through, this way, God will know who really has faith and wont give up as long as they know that God is always there with them.but at the end, god is always there and is always helping good people!
  • Opinion 6
It is my belief that God exists in everything living and not. Pain is a warning sign for us and misfortune is a matter of perspective. So many know that their lives could be so much more enjoyable from things, good health, nice people, kindness, no famine... oh isn't that Heaven? Your true colors show in your perspective of "good people" obviously in reference to yourself; because you cannot know all the deeds of others now can you. Jesus was murdered on the cross and he was definitely a GOOD person. God exists in all things without which nothing exists... but God is not concerned with earthly desires or pain. God loves all creatures in this world but allows that they aren't all vegans and requires suffering and death for life to remain balanced in perpetual existence.
  • Opinion 7
God doesn't have any influence on whether good or bad things happen to good or bad people. Do you have any evidence that he decides, allows, makes bad things happen to good people or vice versa?
  • Opinion 8
Jesus indicated that God did have an influence on things happening to good and bad people but he treated them both equally; quote: "for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sends the rain on the just and the unjust". Matthew 5:45 I believe this would be one verse out of many in the bible that show evidence of God's influence but I imagine that would presuppose you believed in God.
  • Opinion 9
Perhaps God does not exist and both bad and good things just happen.
  • Opinion 10
Actually I have a couple of thoughts of answers on this.

1. Suffering doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. We are only on this world for a brief moment in eternity so what happens here really isn't worth worrying about.

Romans 8:18 - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2. Suffering can bring one closer to God. When something bad happens to a believer, the first thing they generally do is turn to God for help and comfort thus strengthening the relationship.

  • Opinion 11
As a clinical psychology student I prefer a more logical and empirically based approach to this question. First lets explore the hypothesis's logical progression,

God is all powerful, thus in control of all things; bad things happen to good people; therefore God allows this to happen;

The problem with this statement is that it affirms the consequent. There are several other assumptions made in the statement as well. The qualitative use of the words "bad things" when referring to negative events in itself is purely subjective. Of course, there are a whole range of possible events that could happen over the span of one's life that a majority of people would agree to be negative. The question is what comprises a truly negative event? Assuming the universe is not completely random a devoid of casual order, every event has an inevitable outcome on subsequent events. The higher the impact the event has on a person will, in general, have a higher impact on not only them, but everyone that in affect with that person, and in turn everybody in affect with those people, and so on and so forth. In an egocentric, or self-centered, model of justice an event that is perceived as "bad" to one's self is purely negative. On the other hand, in an altruistic, or unselfish, model an event perceived as "bad" does not necessarily imply the event was wholly negative. For example, a mother's son dies in an accident involving a drunk driver. Of course from the mother's point of view, this would be a life altering tragedy, but does this imply a purely negative event? The Madd organization is an excellent example of an altruistic resolution to "bad" events that happened to real people. This hypothetical situation can not possibly cover the entire spectrum of human suffering, but the argument of potential positive effects in a negative situation cannot be wholly quantified either.

The second assumption is of human nature, and the fact that "good" people do exist. The biblical position of human nature is that it is corrupt. The sermon on the mount gives the solemn warning that to even look with lust is to commit adultery in your heart, and there are many other examples within the bible that point out these disdainful aspects of human nature. For example, try evaluating yourself with the Ten Commandments. When measured with even the simplest version of biblical morality standards, our best attempts to attain these criterion are abysmal failures. I am not suggesting one deserves all the bad things that happen over a lifetime, rather that we may not deserve all the good things we receive.

I hope this has been helpful to encourage some looking for answers, and encourage all to find meaningful truth within their own lives. I would also like to encourage you to test these concepts out for yourselves, who could believe electrons could pass through wires to bring you this webpage were it not for the empirical data that developed the technology. A concept which we now accept by faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

God gave humans free will and unfortunately people choose to do with that will bad things. God is not into controlling people's lives. If God was merely to control everyone's actions, feelings and responses that would make God a liar.

I get my belief from the Holy Bible and the only truth I know that has proved itself time and time again in my own life.

God takes our struggles, pain and trials and can change them around as a testimony of his goodness by being willing to step in and change the situations in our lives.

If you refuse to acknowledge God then why do you demand Him to show up and fix your messed up life? It isn't until we ASK that we can receive anything from God.

It seems self-righteous and self-centered to judge God. Who are we to demand that God fix what he never broke? Can we make people do good and right? What makes us think God can? Are we all just puppets to be controlled and manipulated? If so, then God wouldn't be good or just.

Have you ever tried to make someone love you and obey you even though you knew what was best for another person? God gets involved because we want His involvement. If we don't then He is content with those who do.

  • Opinion 12
I can only give a biblical answer, because, outside that context, I would say, there is no answer to this question.

I believe the answer is in 1 Peter 5:10

10 However, after you've suffered for a little while, the God of all care - the One who through the Anointed One called you into His glory during the age - will restore you and make you firm and strong. 11 May He be mighty throughout the ages. May it be.

and Romans 8:20

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope

The Holy book here states that God himself subjected the creation to futility, meaning mankind, but on the basis of hope, and that the reason for that is that is his wish that we experience this sufferings so that we get trained and become firm and strong, until the time comes for the restoration of all things. He is the God of all care, and through Jesus, the Anointed One He will restore all things and resurrect good people, to life and wicked people for judgement.

Acts 24:15, Dan 12:2

God is almighty, and there is no possibility of rebellion among his creation, neither gets trapped into legal technicalities, as many suggest while reading the account of the garden of Eden. He is the one who defines good and evil, and no one could oppose him and succeed.

He is the Creator and He will be what He will be. So, if things happen is because he wants it to happen. But He is also love, and cares about every creature he has produced, so we can be confident that if He created mankind with the sense and desire for eternity, that He will grant it on His terms. 1Jo 1:8

For us suffering and death seem like a mountain, for him is just a temporary circumstance.

Those who endure this time of sufferings and prove themselves faithful even when facing death, are promised immortality.

Rev 2:10

10 Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil will keep on throwing some of YOU into prison that YOU may be fully put to the test, and that YOU may have tribulation ten days. Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life.

  • Opinion 13
To test his strength.
  • Opinion 14
To test our faith in Him that no matter what happens we will trust Him. Its like reminding us that He is always beside us who is waiting for us to call Him.

And so that we experience not to do bad things in other person. It also helps when another bad things happen we become stronger and stronger coz we believe in Him.

  • Opinion 15
Read the parable Jesus gave about the weeds and the wheat.
  • Opinion 16
Imagine the following.

A family are on the way home. They have a car accident, and one member of the family, the driver, is killed in the accident, caused by a drunk driver (Free will allows him to get drunk and drive his car.) of a second vehicle. The deceased family member is a "good person". They do all the right things according to their religion. Random chance (the will of god) caused the air bag to fail to go off, causing their death. People ask "why did god allow them to die (as god is all powerful "Why did god kill them) by making the air bag fail?"

Turn back the clock.

A family are on the way home. Random chance (the will of god) causes them to get a puncture/flat tyre. They pull over to the side of the road, and change the wheel. The drunk driver successfully navigates his way home. The family arrive home, all alive.

Some time later the "dead" family member takes their partner out for a meal. They consume excess alcohol (free will allows them to get drunk and drive). On the way home they crash the car, killing both of them. Several years later their child commits suicide (the free will thing again) as they could not cope with the loss of both parents.

The other drunk driver carries on drink driving, and eventually crashes into a bus load of school children, killing many. He commits suicide in prison.

Conclusion.

We have free will. God knows what will result from our exercising this free will. God sees that he can allow free will to kill one family member or free will to kill all the family, and many others.

The best outcome is to kill the driver while he is still innocent of any crime, and allow the other 2 to live. At the same time the drunk driver will get a "sharp shock", and stop drink driving, letting the bus load of school kids to go on to a full life.

This in conjecture, as no one can roll back the clock, and see an alternative outcome, but it is plausible. While God may be all powerful, he gave us free will.

  • Opinion 17
God allows bad things to happen to everybody, good or bad.
  • Opinion 18
Anything that causes or allows misfortune is evil.. this is the description in websters dictionary. This then renders this so called god to be evil. Why not? many may be uncomfortable with this concept. I say leave your emotions aside and evaluate the facts. Look up the word theodicy. millions of innocent children starving & sick and suffering. this god does not prevent this? Some may say that's man's doing.. Cop out. no good compassionate entity would for any reason allow the innocent to suffer. Opinion Everything in nature improves with struggle and suffering. That is the way things are made. We cannot blame God for the way he has chosen things to be; if he says it is for a greater good, we should believe him, because he submitted Jesus to terrible suffering, in order to perfect him into a better nature and position. That is the only warranty that give us a reason to believe God is going to keep his promises and bring back the good and the bad in the resurrection of the death. This is a trial period during which God is choosing the worthy of immortality, however salvation is meant for all men, and those who finally are declared just will inherit earth an live forever in it. A good compassionate entity would allow innocent to suffer only if this means a lasting benefit for the innocent. Parents allow doctors operate their kids, even though they are going to suffer, because they hope for a recovery, and their kids do not stop loving them, and start blaming them because of that. The reason is that parents have given more than enough proof that they love their children. In the same way, those who know God, understand that he is a loving father, that has ransom us all by allowing his Son to sacrifice. We are ransomed because by that we have a reason to believe, because we know him. John 17:3
  • Opinion 19
Are you speaking of the God that demands absolute obedience and servitude in exchange for a ticket to a place called Heaven?

Is it the same God that discriminates against those who don't follow his prescribed doctrines and the attendant dictates of the religious leaders?

Is this the same God that punishes anyone who dares to challenge his absolute and dictatorial authority with eternal damnation in a dungeon called Hell?

Is this the same God who also creates numerous disasters and plagues to annihilate those who do not find his favor? But he makes no effort to eradicate the scourge of vicious criminals who continue to terrorize good people in society. Is it the same God who blames the evil on his most powerful rival he calls Satan?

Do you mean the God that unjustly punishes some unfortunate children on this earth with disabilities, Aids, and other diseases or like those that he condemns to lives of poverty and desperation? I guess that God must have created them as some sick kind of entertainment. Is this the same God who was so arrogant that he punishes all humans for the sins of two? What kind of tyrant is he?

This God inflicts harsh unjust punishment like tornadoes, volcanoes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes etc. against innocent children and helpless animals.

A true God would first deal with the vicious criminals and terrorists of the world. He would deal with the criminals who exploit poor people and those criminals who deceive gullible people in order to satisfy their personal greed. He would deal with the multitude of white-collar criminals in business, law, media, sports, medicine, religion and politics. He would deal with the criminals who practice bigotry and oppression against honest and righteous individuals.

The concept of God's Mysterious ways is a convenient excuse of religious fanatics for creating Fairytales. It is no different from parents who make up stories in response to their children's questions about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

If God can't help you when you are in need then why waste time? If you call your parents for help, they respond. If you call your friends for help, they respond. But this great and powerful God leaves so many innocent victims to suffer and die at the hands of vicious criminals.

Jesus was a simple human who was sacrifice because of the greed of a bunch of fanatical bigots. They tortured and murdered him for challenging their religious lies. He was promoted to the status of Messiah after his death, for political expediency.

The idea of something being good or bad depends upon the situation. If something is done as an act of deceit to unjustly cause hurt or pain to others, then it is definitely bad. But if it is done to promote the greater welfare of an individual or society then it is good.

After a lot of research into the various religious beliefs of the highly commercialized regions of the world, I have come to the rational conclusion that God was created in the image and likeness of the rulers of that particular geographic location.

These rulers, through their advisors, created religions that targeted the fears of the people at the particular time. These advisors were similar to the marketing consultants and advertising specialists of today. The wealthy people found creative ways of keep the working-class people (slaves) obedient to their whim and fancy.

The working class people were threatened with eternal damnation for disobedience to the divine laws and instructions of an invisible authority called God. This God has created you in his image and likeness to obey and serve him with blind faith. This God choose special servants to be his messengers to his humble and obedient subjects. This God also commands that his loyal slaves must kill all those who do not obey his commandments.

The creators of a God in their own image and likeness also created a greater villain as every great thriller novel. Satan was a villainous character, created for the convenience of having someone to blame for the pains and suffering experienced by the workers/slaves. Satan was depicted as the great punisher (Hangman) of God. Those slaves who transgressed against the imperial rules of the established religious doctrine were deemed to be servants of Satan and thereby condemned to eternity in Hell.

In my opinion, the Devil exists only as an excuse for the vicious, evil, greedy, selfish and sadistic qualities adopted by individuals as may suit their convenience.

Just as the power of fire can be used for good or evil purposes you don't blame the fire for it's natural qualities, you blame the user.

Absolutely no individual involved in organized religion has a conclusive answer to the question of proving the existence of God! Many religious zealots will venture to market their particular brand of theology in an attempt to create a convincing argument that their dogma contains the only credible proof that the God-Fantasy is true.

Religion has a very powerful influence in economics and politics. If you study the historic formation of various religions with an opened mind and a probing spirit, you may discover some very revealing truths about the world in which we live.

You may be able to discover like I have, that religion can be a very effective and rewarding tool in the hands of shrewd individuals. It can be used to enrich oneself financially or spiritually. It can also be used to manipulate and control others for good or evil ends.

It has been used as an effective political and commercial tool as evidenced by the many historic records of religious wars.

Religious leaders have used their dogma to oppress, victimize and terrorize those who refuse to subscribe to their particular brand of bigotry.

Jesus and John the Baptist were classic victims of tyrannical bigotry from greedy selfish religious charlatans.

Religions and their Gods, has had more to do with human selfishness and greed than with righteousness, piety, compassion and spirituality.

The evil, vicious, and greedy individuals enjoy success and prosperity from the exploitation of the weak. But the weak and less affluent individuals are fooled with false promises of a paradise called Heaven, which can only be accessed after death.

The source of love is within every individual. The source of greed, envy, lust, selfishness, hate and evil also exist in the same place as love. The source of all human emotion is the same the difference is only in the choices that people make.

Good and evil originated from the same source. If one of the powers of fire is to burn then could you tell me if it is good fire that cooks food and provides energy for mechanical machinery and evil fire that destroys and kills?

Is it not curious how God is never around when good, honest and righteous people call for his help in terrifying situations? He hides from every one except the crooked charlatans trying to exploit gullible simpletons. The Internet is doing a better job than him. Doctors and scientists are adding more value to society than he and his cult of religious bigots.

If something exists then it can be realized/experienced and proven. For something to be discovered it has to exist.

Human suffering is alleviated by the hard work of caring, compassionate, righteous and dedicated individuals.

  • Opinion 20
Your logic is very strong, and I agree with you in many things. However, you mention that God hides from the good and help the crooked. That is not true. I have personally experienced Gods help in my life. And One can see that the crooks always end up paying for the consequences of their acts.

I believe that God has forsaken us, as Jesus said while hanging, the bible says that. But I believe there is a reason for everything. I believe every process of creation produces a degree of destruction and waste, God is currently creating, he is not done with us. That is the message of the bible.

If I, as a human being make someone die, I am a murderer, but if God does it, he is not, because he has the right to do that, because he is Creator, and can re-create, we cannot. If we acknowledge the existence of a Supreme being, we have to deal with the fact that he has the right of doing things his way.

As you said, good and evil are relative terms, but God is not relative, He is absolute, so he determines what is right and what is wrong. He provides an explanation for bad things that happen to good people, saying that He has subjected mankind to futility, not blaming the devil or any other creature or being. He says in the bible that he creates good and he creates calamity or evil. So, the bilbe is not an hipocrate book, and God does not evade responsibility for what happens in the world.

Is the humans who have tried to discredit God and give a false representation of him and his promises.

Jesus did not start a new religion, he just spoke the truth, he said he was going to sacrifice, and he did sacrifice. That sole act has made possible for millions to endure this time of suffering and put their hopes in Gods promises. People with no hope is always in the way to corruption and more suffering. We need hope, God, through Jesus gave it to us.

He does not promise heaven to everyone, and hell doesn't exist in the bible. The only thing he says is that at the end justice will be made, everyone will have a fair oportunity to repent and follow his law, and those who do not obey, after all the efforts made to save them, will be exterminated forever. Simple. No eternal suffering, ieo remediation for all suffering through the resurrection and a fair opportunity for everyone to repent.

He has given us a timeline to follow and the time when the re-creation will take place. For him 1000 years mean 1 day, so, our current lifetime will not allow most of us to see that happening, and it is hard to have faith if you see all what you describe happening. For the simming ant the pot is an ocean, but for us its just a pot, and we can save the ant in a second.

The scriptures say that he has created many worlds before ours, and archaeology and anthropology agrees. And he has destroyed those worlds for they don't exist, any more. The present world or age is about to come to an end, after that the restauration will start, and when it is finished, only then, we will see the finished product.

Until that, we have to understand that he is not obligated to intervene in favor of anyone, Jesus said that! But if we believe and pray continuously he will help us and protect us. Keep asking, and don't sop crying, for he will wipe out your tears.

Believe in God, for every created thing needs a creator, every house was made by someone, and God is the creator of all things, and his name is "I will be what I will be".

He says he is Holy and Love, so why not believe him? He has provided a warranty.

He has given us hope, why not embracing it?

  • Opinion 21
God didn't promise a safe kind world. He actually said the opposite was true and that is why he came. He said this is an evil world and that his kingdom was not of this world. Those who have focused on this world have received all the reward they will ever get.
  • Opinion 22
God doesn't allow bad thing to happen to good people. People allow bad things to happen good or bad to people.
  • Opinion 23
Consider the two following quotes, which seem to clash. One is Isaiah 45:7, which clearly states that God "creates evil." The second is from Lamentations 3:38, which says "from the mouth of the Most High, evil...did not result." The answer to the contradiction may be seen in a third verse, Proverbs 19:3, which says "the foolishness of a man corrupts his way, yet his anger is directed against God." Meaning, that while some evil is undoubtedly created by God (such as the death of an infant), a lot of evil is the result of humans' choices. God has given us the gift of free-will (Deuteronomy 30:15-20); and without the possibility of bad results, free-will would be vitiated.
Entire books (such as Job) have long ago been written about the existence of suffering. Suffice it to say that Judaism sees the existence of evil as a test, and/or the result of our own (humans') bad choices, and/or a warning (such as pain, which shows you what part of your body needs repair) or a message (Genesis 42:22), and/or mere misinterpretation (such as the bee's sting, which to a child is unmitigated evil but which adults recognize as a protection for that insect which pollinates all fruit-bearing trees).