Does God allow bad things for a good reason?

Hello, I’ve heard something lately form a priest and i’ve been thinking of it too much and couldn’t figure it out . So the thing is that God let bad things happen(or at least we see them bad) like coronavirus for example to prevent other things that are even worse that were coming to us. So it’s like the story of the guy who didn’t wake up early to work and he started blaming god for that and then realized that this saved him from a car accident. So does God really let these things happen for that reason( for protecting us from things worse) and if that’s the case why doesn’t he just take away that other thing or these are natural things that happen as a result of the nature’s behavior and laws?

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Hi Gabriel,

Great question. From my perspective, things like the coronavirus are things that cannot be categorized easily. There is plenty of evidence in scripture about God sending (or allowing) plagues, disease, famine and all other sorts of tribulation as acts of judgment, for the purpose of bringing repentance. In contrast Jesus heals a blind man whose seemingly whole purpose for being blind, was so that Jesus could heal him. To be honest, it is not easy to say if the virus is a buffer to a much larger issue, or if it is a means of judgement, or a trial/test that God is sending. Perhaps all three. The Bible states that God, in every situation, acts and wills for the good of those who love him. That being said, those who love and revere God will experience this situation differently than others who do not. This is not to say that Christians will receive only good things from this, but rather, in my view, we will see what God is doing more clearly and see/experience the good that God is doing.

I read an article that stated more people in America are praying now than in recent memory. Obviously there is no way to confirm this, but I found it interesting that in our darkest moments, many people turn to the Lord for their comfort and guidance. I hope this situation, and others in the future serve to lead people to Jesus. God is super patient with us, and it seems that when the world
is moving further away from him, God allows something to remind us just how fragile we are.

To answer your question more directly, in my view, God allows the world to operate within the confines of its construction, but with the addition of corruption (sin). When Adam and Eve sinned, the world fell with them. This transformation created many of the evil or terrible things that we see coming from the world (such as viruses).The way I look at this is, just as God allows people to sin and does not just magically take sin away in humans, God also allows the world to function in a fallen state. Given that many of the maladies we experience are a result of the fall, and thus are “natural”, or from nature, we assume this is just how the world works. However, what we are seeing is nature in a fallen condition. God will create a new heaven and new earth, just as he will create a new body for us. But in all of this God is moving. He is doing things to bring his creation to repentance in Christ. As long as we hold firm to that, we will always be able to see the good that God is doing, even in times of intense trial.

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@Gabriel Great question :slight_smile: What you are describing is called the Problem of Evil and the solution presented by the priest you listened to is only one attempt at explaining it. And I would agree with you that the solution offered by this priest - that God is protecting us from worse things - is not entirely satisfactory.

There is a big difference between trying to solve the Problem of Evil intellectually and learning to trust God as a Christian. The intellectual problem of evil is very difficult, admittedly. But as a Christian - I have experienced the love of Christ in my heart and I have experienced His amazing love for me, who is so undeserving. I also experienced a love for others I never knew before salvation when Christ came into my life. I then have a relational reason for trusting God even though the intellectual problem is difficult. This distinction is very important.

Below are some examples of approaches people have taken to solving the problem of evil:

  • God had to allow evil in order for us to have free will
  • as broken as it is, the world we live in now is the best of all possible worlds in that the most people will be saved and know God forever
  • God allows evil in our lives so that we can grow in perseverance, faith, and love - it has a sanctifying impact on us
  • as limited human creatures, God may have reasons that are simply beyond our ability to understand
  • all of these objections against God are in the Bible - Job, Habakkuk, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes - and while God has not answered the ‘why’ questions, He has provided the resources for us to handle these issues in our lives

Other Resources

Below is a list of reasons God may have allowed evil, as well as some additional threads and a few good videos.

  • without God there is no objective basis for saying that suffering is evil/bad - there must be a moral law / lawgiver for us to condemn injustice and evil in the world
  • God did not remain distant from our suffering, but came down to this broken world and suffered with/for us - that is evidence of God’s love for us (Romans 5:8). So even if we do not understand why God allows bad things to happen, we can trust that God does love us.
  • suffering is temporary - our life on this earth is 70 years or so, but life with God without tears, pain, or sorrow is eternal
  • God may have reasons for allowing suffering that we do not know / understand - a God who cannot have reasons that we do not understand is no God at all, but rather an invention of our own minds. We should expect that, if God exists, He is great enough to have reasons we cannot guess.
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Hi Gabriel,

In addition to the things stated above, I would like to add to Kevin’s comment that the whole reason for Jesus’s coming was to redeem us from sin and evil. While we are freed from the power of sin and death when we choose to acknowledge Him as God and obey Him, we still live in fallen world full of sin, evil, and death. But as Kevin said, the day is coming when all will be redeemed, even creation itself!
In the meantime, we find God redeems even some of the worst situations. Biblically, Joseph’s brothers’ selling him into slavery was redeemed so that Joseph became the vizier to the Pharoah and was able to save not only his family, but many other people too. As Joseph says to his brothers “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good…” (Genesis 50:20 HCSB) God takes brokenness and redeems it. Who knows? Could this pandemic lead to a revival of 1000s of people entering into everlasting life? I hope so; often it is darkness that drives people to the Light.

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Interesting thoughts on whether or not God is allowing this or if it is the evil in the world causing Covid-19. I would say that no matter the reason, that this has really knocked the world upside down and has shown the weakness of man. With all the technology, internet, etc., it seems that we have a sense that we can figure out just about anything we want (ask a millennial :slight_smile: )

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…2 Cor. 12:9
…For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10b

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