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By: Justin Angelos

Have you ever been in the situation where you are trying to make sense of evil and suffering? At some point in a person’s life, there will be some sort of pain, or suffering, and some form of evil, either natural or moral evil. And then the question naturally arises, why? Why me? Why does God allow me to go through this? The question of evil and suffering can be a big stumbling block for people, in fact, this is why some people become atheists. In fact, atheists use evil and suffering as a weapon to discredit Christianity and say, there is no God. “How can an all-powerful all-loving God allow innocent people to suffer?” This is the type of question atheists will throw at theists.

Trying to Make Sense of the Origin of Moral and Natural Evil

Genesis chapter 3 gives us the origin of evil and suffering, 1. “Now the serpent said to the woman, did God really, you must not eat from any tree in the garden”? 2.” The woman said to the serpent, we may eat from the trees in the garden but, God did say, you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch, or you will die.” (Gen 3:2 NIV).

The serpent, casts doubt in eve’s mind, the serpent twists God’s word by saying, “you will certainly not die, for God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, know good and evil.” (V4) Genesis 3:16 God said to the woman I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing, and your desire shall be for your husband. In Genesis 3:17, God tells Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you.” As a result of Adam’s sin, God cursed the ground and removed His blessing upon the earth.

The problem of evil and suffering is not only a question for Christians but also a problem for every other worldview. I once heard someone say, “Atheism does not remove the pain, it just removes the hope.” Philosophers have been unable to prove that an all-powerful, all-loving God and the existence of evil are logically contradictory, as they are not mutually exclusive like a married bachelor or a squared circle, the purpose of this article is not to solve the logical or philosophical problem of evil but, hopefully, shed some light on why God might allow evil and suffering.

Trying to Make Sense of the Definition of Evil

First, evil is not a thing, evil is a privation of good, in other words, good and evil are not relational properties, and good does not depend on evil for its existence. We can have good without evil, but we cannot have evil without good. Think of evil like this, imagine a shiny new BMW convertible car with a V6 engine, now imagine that same car with rust all over it. you can have a BMW without the rust, but rust would not be possible without the existence of the BWM. So, evil is a corruption of what is good. Therefore, the existence of evil does not disprove God’s existence, therefore there must be some morally sufficient reasons why God would allow evil and suffering.[i]

Is All Suffering Bad?

I have concluded that not all suffering is a bad thing, there is a little girl who was born with a rare disease called CIPA, which is a disease in which the little girl cannot feel any pain at all. She can step on a thick rusty nail, and she would not feel a thing, this little girl is literally incapable of feeling any physical pain. At first one would think, “what a blessing” but, it is not a blessing at all. It is a life-threatening disease.

The morning prayer of this little girl’s mother is, “Dear God, please let my little girl feel pain.”[ii] Her mother pleads with God to let her daughter feel pain, the very thing we wish God would remove from our lives, is the very thing her mother is asking God for. I remember being in agony laying in the emergency room with my gallbladder in 2020 asking God, “please remove this pain” and here is a little girl’s mother, who is asking God for pain.

Leibniz and Lennox on Evil and Suffering

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz asked, what the best possible world is, and out of all the possible worlds, which one is the best world God could have created? God could have created nothing at all, but the best possible world God could have created is a world in which free will exists, and the possibility to freely choose and to freely reject.[iii] In any possible world in which there is no free will, love can never truly exist because love, requires freedom, a man cannot force a woman to fall in love with him, she must freely decide to love him.  When people choose to love and worship God, it is freely done out of genuine love for God. This is not possible if, we were to live in a world where all of humanity is determined.

Dr. John Lennox explains it this way, “could God have created a world without suffering? Yes, He could have, but you and I would not live in it because, it would empty the world of something most precious to our humanity, and that is the capacity to love, and our capacity to love, hinges on our capacity to choose.” [iv]

Trying to Make Sense of Evil and Suffering through the Cross

The unique thing about Christianity is—at the heart of the gospel message—is a Cross. And on that cross, God himself suffers incomprehensible evil and suffering. Which says that God has not remained distant from our human suffering.[v] Christianity offers you a Savior, a personal God, who has bled and suffered in our world.

This also says, that God does truly care about our suffering, and the Lord who suffered, rose from the dead conquering sin and death and offering us eternal life, and the beauty, and the joy that awaits, our suffering becomes irrelevant when standing in the presence of God himself, we may never have a comprehensive understanding of why, God allows suffering, but, There is a Savior, who has suffered in our world, and a Savior who truly does cares about our suffering, and we have a Savior who truly does understand our pain.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)

Recommended reading on Evil and suffering: Clay Jones, Why Does God Allow Evil?


[i] Sean McDowell, Clay Jones, why does God allow suffering? (Biola apologetics MA lecture week 4, 2023)

[ii] Lance Cashion. “Why Pain Is Good.” Lance Cashion, May 1, 2013.

[iii] Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopedia. “Best of all possible worlds.” Encyclopedia Britannica, June 6, 2017.

[iv] VeritasForum. “The Loud Absence: Where Is God in Suffering? | John Lennox at Harvard Medical School.” YouTube. YouTube, December 19, 2014.

[v] John Lennox, Where is God in Suffering?

Recommended resources related to the topic:

Why Doesn’t God Intervene More? (DVD Set), (MP3 Set), and (mp4 Download Set) by Frank Turek

Why does God allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People? (DVD) and (mp4 Download) by Frank Turek


Seattle native Justin Angelos brings a passion for evangelism and discipleship along with theology and apologetics. He has studied at Biola University and Liberty University. Justin focuses on providing help for those who suffer from emotional and anxiety issues. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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