Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!
I have a friend that is Christian and is raising her 10 year old boy with the word but he recently asked her a question that she considers hard to answer and I am trying to give her some answers with all that I’ve read but I really don’t know how to put it in perspective for a 10 year old. He is very curious and intelligent so I want to be careful here. His question is “Why does God allow evil, sin, and suffering in the world?” It is a common question and one that speaks to the heart for all of us no matter what age. I would answer explaining God’s narrative for the world and the reason why evil exist instead of why He “allows” it but please shed some light!
Thanks for your question! This is, of course, one of the most difficult and asked questions surrounding the nature of reality—not an easy concept to explain to kids! That being said, I think there are some things we could say that could help him along in his journey of understanding this topic, and even speak to the heart of the gospel message.
In my understanding, at the heart of why God does anything is love, and this is no different. He wants to love us and he wants us to be able to love him in return—that’s why he made us, for relationship! But in order for us to have the ability to love, we have to have the freedom to choose whether to love or not to. Robots can’t love, because they can’t choose. You can’t force love, because the reason love is meaningful is that it is unforced. When Adam and Eve (and everyone after them) chose to live according to their own plan and reject God’s plan for their lives, they chose against loving God. If God is the source of all goodness, love, and beauty, then a choice away from him is a choice away from goodness, love, and beauty. That makes for a world filled with pain and suffering.
Thankfully, God didn’t leave us there—he made a way for us to be right with him, taking on the penalty for our sin, and suffering in our place. And eventually, after he patiently waits for us to receive his free gift, he’ll redeem the world and make it a place of eternal joy.
I hope that’s helpful! There are a lot of great resources on this topic, but I bet he would appreciate starting with some of William Lane Craig’s animated videos, which are fantastic: