If Jesus Triumphed Over Sin and Death, Why Does Our World Still Contain So Much Evil and Suffering?

C. S. Lewis articulated the erroneous conclusion many people come to: “If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore, God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.”

Put another way, if Jesus triumphed over sin and death, why does our world still contain so much evil and suffering? Why are we still sinners, why do many of us get sick, why are some of the godliest people in the world poor, and why do all of us die? If God is happy and wants us to be happy, why doesn’t He bring us complete happiness now?

There are varying responses to these excellent questions, and the good ones all require trust that a good, loving, holy, and just God knows what He’s doing. By delaying His final judgment on evil and waiting longer to wipe away all tears from His children’s eyes, He’s giving more people a chance to repent and trust Christ (see 2 Peter 3:9).

Meanwhile, God is giving His children more opportunities to grow in faith (see 1 Peter 1:6), He’s developing our character through trials (see Job 23:10; Isaiah 48:10), He’s increasing our perseverance and hope (see Romans 5:4), and He’s bringing more ultimate good to us and glory to Himself (see Romans 8:28-29).

God has redeemed us “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). Throughout eternity, God will unfold more and more of His grace and kindness. As wonderful as Eden was, without sin and suffering, would Adam and Eve have reason to praise God for His grace? No. Certainly they could see God’s goodness, but grace is unmerited favor to those who deserve Hell. Therefore, they had less reason to praise Him than we do.

Experiencing God’s grace now will pay off in eternity, too. We may want to skip this growth process and be ushered directly into eternal happiness, but that wouldn’t accomplish God’s highest purpose. He plans to remake Earth into an eternal world where righteousness reigns because He has marvelously overcome evil, starting in the hearts of His beloved children.

Corrie ten Boom, who survived a Nazi death camp, said, “Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.”

Charles Spurgeon said, “In heaven we shall see that we had not one trial too many.” Reveling in God’s sovereign grace, Spurgeon exclaimed, “Cheer up, Christian! Things are not left to chance—no blind fate rules the world! God has purposes and those purposes are fulfilled; God has plans and those plans are wise, and never can be dislocated!”

We can be confident that one day, happiness, not sorrow, will have the last word—and it will have the last word forever.

For more related to the subject of suffering, see Randy’s book If God Is Good, as well as the devotional 90 Days of God’s Goodness and book The Goodness of God

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Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries