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Articles > Life April, 11, 2017

If God Exists Then Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Mercy Olagunju
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 ‘How can we claim a God that is supposed to be loving and caring exists, when innocent people are murdered and die of cancer every moment?’. People frequently ask this question and up until recently, I had always struggled to address this issue, as I myself could not grasp the concept. However, it was not until I stumbled upon a particular passage in the Bible that my perception of God and what I expect from Him completely changed.

cherub with hand over mouth

How can there be evil if God exists?

With everything going on in the world right now this question is being asked more and more. The question of the existence of God is a topic that rarely ever ends with agreement from both sides of the argument, and what I have realised during my short time on this Earth is that we humans tend to resort to the belief of the inexistence of something as soon as we acknowledge that we will never be able to know everything about it. After all, it is far easier to claim something does not exist than to say we simply do not have the answers for everything. Nevertheless, having read this passage from the Bible, my eyes were opened:

“Good people pass away;


the godly often die before their time.

But no one seems to care or wonder why.

No one seems to understand

that God is protecting them from the evil to come.

For those who follow godly paths


will rest in peace when they die.”

(Isaiah 57:1-2 – New Living Translation)

How awesome is it to think that even in our death, God still thinks of us and aims to protect us from evil. This just goes to show that so many things are beyond our understanding and we should never fail to realise that every moment God prevents so many courses of injustice. If you do not believe this, how is it then that one person may cross a street and be perfectly safe, yet another person can cross the same street minutes later and get hit by a car? A few years ago my mother missed her bus and, although at that moment she became very angered, it was not until she learned that that specific bus was involved in an armed robbery that she realised it had been an act of God.

But what if you still do not believe in God and His mysterious ways? Unfortunately, even Christians cannot predict the ways of our God. He operates under what we call ‘sovereignty’, in that He does whatever pleases Him. It is a concept that angers a lot of people: how is it fair that He can take the lives of people just because He wants to? Well, as Job 9:12 (New Living Translation) says, ‘If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him? Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’’

This verse is ever so relevant, even if we did not agree with what God does. Who are we as humans to question Him? Are our cries and bursts of anger going to stop Him from being God and exercising His authority? No! He was, He is and He will forever be God.

But for those who have done nothing wrong, you may ask? What about innocent children? That’s all part of the beauty of the God I serve, everything He does is for a reason. In the beginning of time, He intended for us all to live in peace and joy, but the circumstances of life and our unfaithfulness to Him sometimes means that we make ourselves vulnerable to evil. Ever since I have established a relationship with God, I have never felt more secure in my future for I know he is protecting me.

I know this may all be a lot to stomach, and whether you believe or not, I would like to end with something very important. I think the truth of the matter is that God never intended to harm us, for as Jeremiah 29:11 (New Living Translation) recalls “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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  1. Henry Newton

    but god is supposed to be omnibenevolent and omnipotent, thus he is compelled to, and perfectly able to, protect us from all evil in life and death. this doesn’t solve the problem of evil but merely complicates it further.

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Hello Henry, thank you for your comment.
      God most certainly is Omnibenevolent and Omnipotent. But believe it or not, with as much power as He possesses, He has blessed us all with free will. Would it be safe to agree that many atimes the trouble/dangers people get themselves in, are due to our own actions? If a person is a drug addict or alcohol addict and dies because of their addiction, can we really blame God? I know there are many exceptions and sometimes people really just die unexpectedly. But to be a Christian is to acknowledge that life is temporary. Even the Bible says ‘it is appointed unto man to die once but after this the judgement’ (Hebrews 9:27). And most importantly to always love and honour God no matter what we go through in life. I think the story of Job in the Buble will offer you great insight to this topic.

      God bless you

      • Henry

        The free will défense only solves moral evil. And what is free will anyway? Can god have the power to create something he cannot control. If he can he’s not omnipotent. If he can’t he’s not omnipotent or we don’t have free will. What about natural evils? Why does god allow earthquakes and tsunamis? These kill people. God has the power to stop these and yet he doesn’t?

  2. Dew

    If God were to compel everyone to act a certain way, he would be called a dictator and a loving God doesn’t seek to force but wants to love everyone back to redemption. The concept of free will is for man to realize how imperfect he is without the help of God. Its pretty simple–the imperfect world needs a perfect God. By the way, thanks for this topic. It takes guts to speak about things like this these days. God bless!!

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Thank you so much Dew, God bless you too! 🙂 And thank you for your insight too.

  3. Atilia Stefanova

    I agree that this topic is one of the most relevant these days. We as humans are inclined to question, to be curious and most of all seek new knowledge as it drives us forward to progress.

    Unfortunately, you are right about the ‘I do not understand, therefore I do not believe’ narrative, but I seek to add more to this comment. Using it only to one side of society is very unfair, since religious people often use it to disprove topics, like evolution. Of course not every aspect of it has been discovered, so the religious run to God for explanation or even worse, they erase every piece of proof found of evolution and paint the world from a creationist stand point. Therefore, we are all guilty of disbelieving something to which we haven’t gotten full proof of.

    Next point I would wish to adress is using any holy book as proof of something. Believe me when I say that both of my parents belong to very different religions and I have thoroughly read each of their holy books and while they are a beautiful source of literature and comfort, I found no proof that they are written by or included the interference of supernatural creatures. Simply saying ‘this happened’ is not proof.

    This is where I want to adress the question at hand. I asked my (very religious) anthropology teacher why this evil happens upon children and innocents. What his answer revealed was astonishing and not very moral to me. He explained that everything bad that happens to child, not been able to even sin yet, is because of his parents. That is right, not only because of the sins of his parents, but humanity’s sins too. Despite the claims of every religious person of how kind, loving, caring and moral their God is… They accepted beings who haven’t had a chance to speak yet, get punished so brutally. Moreover, they argue that God protects them by punishing them like this. Picture a child, ill of cancer, being ‘protected’ in this way. Oh, how ‘mysterious’ the ways of God are, I agree with you on that. God is for sure giving us hope for the future, I bet.

    Anyway, I felt there should be two sides of answering this question, that is why I submit my opinion. It is mine and mine only. I respect any person’s opinion, wether it be religious, non religious. It is fundamental, however, to have both sides of the story. Thank you for the opportunity to share mine.

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Hello Atilia, thank you so much for your insight. I really appreciate your contribution. Firstly to address your comment on Christians dismissing scientific evidence and so on, I believe the reason why we find many Christians, such as I dismissing scientific research without necessarily giving it much thought is because we see no need to believe in anything which goes against the Word of God. I believe that’s God is not a God of confusion. Truly everything in the Bible is perfect and true. Now, I believe the issue arises when we as humans try and ‘figure’ out God, as if to say He is a man that we can comprehend. The Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:11 says ‘ He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.’
      This verse speaks about the fact that we will never be able to understand or grasp the works of God. If we as a human race, cannot figure out all the processes in the brain or all it’s structures, how can we try and understand the one who created the brain? The Bible even warns us on trying to know more than God has allowed us to know, because it leads to unbelief if we try to grasp the concept of God using our human minds. God was never created, He does not have a beginning nor an end, He has just always been there and will always be. How can we understand that using our human minds, we cannot. And thus the Bible compels us to walk by faith and not by sight. Any Christian who tries to walk by sight cannot be a Christian for long. We believe in Jesus who we have actually never seen and a God who most of us have never seen, but our faith sustains us and reassures us that He indeed exists.

      I will now address your point on why evil things happen to innocent children who have had no opportunity to sin. It all comes from Adam and Eve and the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Prior to Eve eating the forbidden fruit, God’s plan was for us to live forever with Him. There was never meant to be any disease, sickness or sorrow. But because of the sinful nature of man and Eve falling into temptation, this plan was ruined. In the book of Genesis, you can see consequence placed upon man as a result of this. As to whether, it is directly a child’s parents fault can be argued. There are instances where the sin of a man or woman can bring a curse upon their future offspring, but also we can see in John 9:3, Jesus said the blindness of the man was not due to his parent’s sin, but simply so the power of God could be displayed.

      Ultimately, as you have addressed, God does work in truly mysterious ways, which sadly will never be known to man. But the most important thing I can tell you is that He sincerely loves each and everyone of us. He sent His only Son to die for us, so we could experience freedom from sin and death. And He desires for us all to forsake our sinful ways and come into His presence.

      Thank you once again for your comment & please do not hesitate if you have any further questions

  4. ashrakat

    hello Mercy let me say for you i am a muslim and in our religion god told us in quraan that every thing done is the best for us.

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Hello Ashrakat, thank you for your comment.
      It’s so nice to hear the similarities we have in religions. I would love to know more about what the Quraan says about this topic. I too believe that everything done is the best for us. Because God has shown us that He loves us so much when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us. That is the greatest display of love and so everything He does is out of love for us and humanity. If you have any further questions, feel free to comment 🙂

  5. Mikayla Riches

    I think god must have good and bad in him just like every human he created and that is why humans have good and bad sides. It can be. Reflection of him himself. It’s what makes the world turn

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Hello Mikayla, thank you for your comment.
      I understand the concept of your opinion, because the people does say that we were created in the image of God, and that should mean in terms of personality as well as appearance, right? But unfortunately this is not the case. God is perfect and holy in every form, there is no “bad” side to him, We as humans, as you can see from the fall if Adam and Eve in the Bible, introduced sin into our lineage. It is simply human nature to commit sin, for example a child who steals a lollipop and lies about it, his parents did not have to teach him how to steal, it is just in his nature to do so. This is why it is important to be born again in Christ, because when we are born in human form we have the sinful nature. When we are born again, we are cleansed of our past sins and made pure once again.

      If you have any further questions, I would love to hear them.

  6. jess

    wow, this is something I never thought about. I just had a debate with a Christian friend of mine who enjoys asking challenging questions, and he asked me something similar to the topic of this article but I struggled to answer.. thank you for the insight my friend, God bless 😉

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Oh wow! I’m so happy, All Glory to God. God bless you too

  7. kirajarvis

    I think its true but others believe there are reasons for this. hard to argue with though

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Hey, I definitely understand this. With this life we live, it is quite hard to discern what is right from wrong. But having personally encountered God and spoken to others who have also, I can confidently say that my life has changed for the better. A Christian life is not a life devoid of trouble or difficulty, but the difference is we have a different solution. Rather than finding the solution in alcohol, stress or bitterness, we put our trust in God. Who has assured us that He will be with us no matter what we go through. If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them x

  8. Chelsie

    I’m not religious but I do accept that my beliefs could be wrong, unfortunately I will not know till I die.
    Even though I personally don’t believe in God, I do not understand why religion and science are apparently polar opposites. I feel everything in life would make more sense if they went hand in hand, one providing how it all happened, the other why it happened and what it could possibly mean. For example, all religions teach God created the universe and all life, none give a detailed explanation of how God did this that is where science comes in and gives the explanation.
    There is no religious or scientific evidence or reasons to disprove either side therefore it would make more sense if people believed both, furthermore there is definitely no sense behind people insisting you have to be one or the other.

    On the topic of this article, if I ever did start to believe in God I would think of God more of a higher power that just looks over people but does not actually interfere in people’s everyday life and just leave the world to go about on its own with people hopefully following God’s guidance and not being evil. Plus the evil things such as natural disasters, cancer etc. is just how nature works I doubt God would interfere with the natural course of something. Also God apparently created the kingdom of heaven so death is not a cruel thing to God even if he does choose who does die.

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Hello Chelsie, thanks so much for your comment.
      Firstly concerning your first question about science, you might like to read the comment I left for Atilia as it does address some of those issues. But ultimately, the limitation in the knowledge we have as Christians is most definitely done purposefully by God so that we may acknowledge that we can never understand Him or His works fully.

      I completely agree that nobody showed be forced to agree to anything, we have been blessed with free will as well as autonomy in thinking. However, I believe that God is extremely involved in our everyday life. Did you know in the Bible , God used to walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8). There are so many instances in the Bible where people cried unto God to give them children or deliver them from sickness and God answered them.

      Even if we look at the life of Jesus, everybody who came to Jesus for healing was healed. And of course Jesus is God in human form. God desires to be fully involved with us that is why when Jesus died and went back to Heaven, He left us the Holy Spirit of God who is meant to guide us day by day to live a life that pleases God. Also, remember that the “natural course” of things was implemented by God as He is the creator of all things.

      I also agree with you on death, the Bible tells us that “To live, is Christ, and to die is gain”(Philippians 1:21) and “the day of death better than the day of birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Death is not something to be scared about as it is the day we will meet our Maker. Of course that is subjected to whether we are children of God when we die. The reality is that not everybody will make Heaven, the Bible tells us that Heaven is for only those who are born again and believe in God

  9. sebghat

    The Lord exists – but if you do not go to him, what do you want?

  10. Kim Dimla

    isn’t it cus eve ate an apple that she wasn’t supposed to so god was like f**k it, and let them experience pain and sin?

  11. Hackeem

    Wait a minute this theology is really bad and does not describe God at all. John 10:10 “The thief(devil) come to steal kill and destroy but God give life and life abundantly.” If we say God is killing them, then how can you trust Him and He is good if you’re blaming him for someone dying. If you’re reading that verse in Isiah in context, you will see that He is talking about His elect in Israel under a time when people were being pressured into serving baal. Anyway, I’m not doing this to correct you, but this tYpe of belief will cause you a lot of trouble in the future. God is not a mystery anymore in Ephesians it says “Dont be a foolish but know the way of the Lord.” In corinthians Paul says, ” No eye has seen nor ear heard the plans God as for those who love Him, but in these last days He has REVEALED it to us by His spirit.” In Ephesians 6 It says we are in war with the devi who wants to kill and destroy, if you believe what you’re claiming you will allow satan to get away with murder and blame it on God, whereas we have to war against his schemes. Please consider this and open your Bible again and ask God to teach you, as I said I have no need to be right or correct you but this belief will cause a lot of harm.

    • Mercy Olagunju

      Hello Hackeem, thank you for your comment.

      First of all, just to say that I’m not denying the fact that the devil does use people to do wicked to take the lives of innocent people, that’s no lie. But what I’m trying to say is that ultimately, nobody is supposed to live forever. Whether we like it or not, our days on this Earth are numbered. Even in Job 14:5 it says “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (NIV). And Genesis 6:3 says “Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

      So ultimately we are mortal as humans and we will die eventually. But my article is addressing the times when people die due to the will of God. There are circumstances when people die not because of the devil killing them but because God made it to be so, both to protect them and to punish them. In Genesis 38, you can see the story of a descendant of Jacob who committed a sin and in verse 10 it says “What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.” Note it didn’t say the devil put him to death, but the LORD.

      Individuals do have to take responsibility for their own actions at the end of the day, so yes I agree with you that the enemy does seek to devour and destroy us, but you cannot then assume this is the case for everyone. The Bible tells us that God seeks to protect us from harm and shield us but initially in the story of Job, He allowed the enemy to destroy Job’s family and home just so He could prove Job’s loyalty and then bless him later on. Job’s friends assumed they knew everything about God and assumed that what was happening to Job must have been because of his sins yet it was the complete opposite

      All I’m saying is that God is not predictable and there are many situations where we just have to trust in God.

  12. WhoCares

    I think the devil created some stuff, i’m not religious or anything

  13. Aleah Estes

    What about kids who are endlessly abused by family members, some to the point of taking their lives or babies that have horrible things happen to them? Or people that don’t necessarily die but have to live their entire lives depressed with that trauma. I believe in God but I just really struggle with such horrible things happening to innocent people and children. “Our unfaithfulness to Him sometimes means that we make ourselves vulnerable to evil.” What did children do to deserve such evil?

  14. Mbali

    I unfortunately haven’t found the answer. A 15 year old being beaten and stabbed to death? God but why? For those who have sinned, they deserve all the bad things that’s coming to them.

  15. jeff

    we always point out most of the problems man faces daily from God. But if you claim “if there is a God why do bad things” then i think try answering another like,” if there is a satan why do good things happen” since man acknowledges that there’s a dark force fighting good stuff on earth. please reply if you’re still confused

  16. Raneem

    I think God tests us with difficult situations to test how strong our faith is, to make us stronger and believe in him with no hesitation. At first you do question how this could happen to a good person, it isn’t fair to them, but if you think about it makes sense to test how good they are.

  17. Ed Sayers-Flood

    This is a great response. The only slight edit I would consider would be that despite God having a sovereign plan it doesn’t mean he is the one to command the death. Death was the result of humankind sinning and it upsets and angers God as much as it does us (Jesus himself wept at the death of Lazarus). Of course God awaits eagerly when we are united with him in Heaven! Great post

  18. Yoshni

    God does exist we just do not see god. Bad things only happen because god is testing us whether it is in a negative way or in a positive way , God does this to see how strong we are as human beings- there is a saying that connotes ” God gives a hard time to his strongest survivors”.

  19. jade robinson

    I think it is because they have have done bad things in there life or maybe a past life. But even so god is meant to be able to forgive

  20. Tasnim Khan

    I think that us living on this Earth is an ultimate test, God will put you through tests to see what you do, do you take the easy way out or be loyal and effectively find the solution by organising yourself.

  21. Vidya Gunness

    I think God exists yes but what is to happen will. It is our destiny. In order to balance the scale of life good and bad must happen. It’s only through the bad we learn and grow and will be grateful to life and the good things.

  22. Jordan Barlow

    But he did protect us from all evil when He sent Jesus to die for us so that our sins may be forgiven and we can have a relationship with God. Judgment day will come and heaven will reign but until then we have an opportunity to tell as many as possible about the great news of Jesus and what it can mean for us

  23. Emma

    I guess you could say karma

  24. Arslan Muhammad

    I think… As we prepare to lay 26 souls to rest in Newtown, Conn., countless are left behind, alone. As long as good people have existed, bad things have happened to them. And as long as religion has existed, believers and non-believers alike rightfully as

  25. Sanjeet Shokeen

    it would not be wrong to say “God helps those who help themselves” . no doubt that innocent people are dying but there could also be possible reason that these people have not taken enough pains to help themselves. god does exists but it would be wrong to blame god for not taking good care ourselves instead we should be thankful to him for all the happiness in our life.

  26. Asimah

    I think that bad things happen as a test for us humans so god can make us get closer to god and pray and ask for gods help because no one is more powerful than God who is omnipotent and omnibelevolent. I also think that it’s because it makes our beliefs stronger and if we pass those little tests e.g something bad happening to us then we will get closer as human beings

    • Mercy

      Hey Asimah, I completely agree with you, even in Job 36:15 the Bible says “But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity.”

      The truth is that there are so many dimensions of God and so many reasons why He displays His power the way He does. We will never be able to understand the reason He does all He does, so we must trust Him ultimately

  27. Hemang

    its very funny

  28. Ravoof

    In simple because of those bad people…

    • Mercy

      Hey Ravoof, you can read my comment below on how it isn’t necessarily because of bad people, sometimes it’s God’s will also.

  29. Nana

    I love this article. This topic is such a difficult one to explain to people and you’ve given some great points. Also what people should remember is not all the bad things that happen in life e.g. someone killing someone, is God’s doing. God gave us free will. If he was to control us then what would be the point? This isnt a sims game. Evil also roams the earth. People do what they want and sadly sometimes the end result isn’t always good. Things happen for a reason that is definitely hard to grasp but after a while you get it.

    • Mercy

      Hey Nana, thank you so much for your contribution. I completely agree with you. People are so quick to blame God for everything but we have to begin to take responsibility for our actions. If God didn’t give us free will, we would blame Him for not giving us choices. And even now that we have free will, people still blame Him. But I’m grateful for individuals like you who have a heart in tuned with God’s. Thank you & God bless

  30. Jay

    I use to be a believer until a close relative passed away. This relative had bowel cancer and was receiving palliative treatment. He continued to suffer to the end of life. This relation was a dedicated believer and read the bible every morning: yet he suffered from a disease which was soul destroying. His belief carried him through the illness and helped him lead a peaceful ending of life. I on the other hand felt that if there was a God the why should he have to suffer this endurance when he put his heart and soul into his religion. I suppose what I believe and what he believe are very contrasting views. This is a large detabable topic but it is important to highlight that we all are entilited to our own opinions and should respect each other’s wishes and views.

    • Mercy

      Hey Jay, thank you so much for your comment. First of all, I would just like to say I’m so sorry for your loss and I understand that the death of loved ones can be very difficult.
      Firstly, I think it’s important to understand that everything does really happen for a reason and as hard as it may be to accept, I believe everything does. This topic arises very often amongst people but even when you look at the Bible, and we see the story of Jesus who endured the most gruesome death and was undeniably the holiest, unflawed human being, we can understand that when God allows someone to die, it isn’t because He hates them. Just think if God had not allowed Jesus to die then we Christians would have no role model and no freedom from sin.

      The truth is there are so many reasons as to why people who are God-fearing and genuine good people die even after endless prayer. I myself have known of many great men of God who travel the world preaching the gospel and devote their life to Chris and yet still die the most awful deaths. Even in the Bible, the disciples of old suffered terrible things just because they were preaching the gospel, does that then mean God does not exist because He didn’t spare them?

      I believe one thing that may have seen your relative through their sickness is the understand that this life will live now is not supposed to last forever. The understanding that one day we will all die but there is hope for everlasting joy in Heaven with God, is enough to encourage any believer in God. As difficult and hard as any situation we may endure in this life, glory awaits us when we meet God.

      And lastly I would just also like to say that I would never impose my views on you and I respect whatever you believe. I hope that you are able to see the beauty in the sovereignty of God and understand that eventually everything works together for them that love God