Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen? (Liyah Aranjuez, April 6th-April 12th)


Growing up Catholic, I have always been taught that I am loved by a just and righteous God; a Father who has created us “in His image and likeness” with all that is good and wise (Genesis 1:26-27). Yet, as I came to realize the truth of reality and the story of Adam and Eve, it was hard to accept that my God, who is claimed to be the purest form of love and goodness, would allow humanity to experience so much evil and suffering especially in today’s world.

I recently discovered a channel on YouTube called Ascension Presents which is an evangelistic platform designed to bring faith-filled presenters to share their thoughts about theological concepts and ideas. They are a group that hope to bring their viewers’ hearts closer to Christ. Father Mike Schmitz answers one of the toughest questions that encompass Christian religion: Why does God let bad things happen? Why would a loving and all-powerful God continue to let many people suffer and experience inexplicable hardships?

To summarize part of the video, Father Mike Schmitz rejects the idea’s mindset when people automatically answer the questions mentioned above by saying “it is all part of His plans”. He states that evil doings and sufferings are, indeed, not part of His plan, that it was not His will to create so much heartbreak. He believes that humans have bought evil and hardships on ourselves since we decided to sin against God and engage in free will.

I thought he made a great point to show that when Adam and Even decided to reject God and fall into temptation, they bought sin and evil upon humanity. This concept made me realize a connection to one of our readings in “In the Beginning..” because Ratzinger points out how Adam and Eve were not in denial of God but how they doubted his covenant. Ratzinger believes what lies at the “very heart of sin lies human beings’ denial of their creatureliness…they do not want to be creatures, do not want to be subject to a standard, do not want to be dependent” on God (Ratzinger 70). God gave humans free will, the freedom to choose right and wrong, which has, in turn, bought about the evil and sin that we see today. In other words, they made the “decision not to accept the limitations of their existence”, limitations set by God to ensure a perfect relationship with Him and everlasting life in His kingdom (Ratzinger 67).

Father Mike concludes by reiterating that God does not allow bad things to happen, we, humans, has brought that upon that ourselves, we have allowed bad things and evil to happen to us. God’s will is to guide and provide strength to those who are weak and provide the greater good for humanity. The Lord declares that he “knows the plans [He] has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Discussion: Why do you personally think God allows suffering and evil to exist in the world? Do you agree or disagree with Father Mike? Why or why not? How do you deal with hardship and obstacles that happen in your life?

21 thoughts on “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen? (Liyah Aranjuez, April 6th-April 12th)”

  1. Personally, I believe suffering comes from the nature of the world where wonderful things pair instinctively with things cruel and damaging. I agree with Father Mike in the claim that humans have free will, that in breaking our perfection connection with God, we allowed evil into this world. I disagree when he says that God gives up some of his control when he gives us free will; instead of giving up, I see it more as a stepping aside, letting humans use their free will to find God or some form of salvation.

    1. Becky, I agree with you completely and think that suffering does come from the natural world. Father Mike’s claim on humans having free will is also something I believe because I don’t think that God has predetermined our whole life and that he is there at times to help guide us or gives us a choice on a “certain path.” I also really like your point when you say that you see God as stepping aside and letting us humans use our own free will to find him or some form of salvation.

  2. I think suffering comes as a form of natural existence, it’s inevitable; and comes from freewill. I’ve heard people ask why God hasn’t been there when bad things happen and I think the answer to that question is God doesn’t want bad things to happen but when they do he’s there to pick up the pieces. I believe that since God gave us free will sufferings are going to happen because not all choices or things that happen in the world are good. Which had me thinking, I wonder if God meant to give Mother nature free will giving since when natural disasters happen they cause so much suffering. I believe what Father Mike said about us having control over what happens to us. Thanks for this post, it really had me thinking!

  3. I personally do not think God allows suffering nor evil to exist in the world. I believe the only reason suffering happens is because some people choose wrong versus right by using their free will. Evil is Satan, who is another being who has a choice of being here on Earth with other people. Satan can also tempt anyone whether they are weak or strong. After God creates his creation and lets them be, He no longer has complete control of them because He gave free will. I do agree with Father Mike because God is all loving and would never do anything to hurt his creations. When it comes to hardship and obstacles that occur in my life, I know that God will always be there to help me up. Even though, hard times do occur God always makes something good out it.

  4. I think God has given humanity free will, which certainly allows evil to invade and as a result bad things can happen to people because of people making bad choices. I’m not sure how that applies to innocent victims. Clearly the people making the bad choices should not be surprised that bad things will happen to them. But what about pediatric cancer or other childhood illnesses. What choices were made that happen? I disagree with Father Mike that we have brought bad things on ourselves. Sometimes that is true, and sometimes it is not. I can’t see how famine in Africa, or cholera in Haiti is somehow brought on by their free will. The way I think about bad things happening to good people is that God created the world and all of the chaos of nature in it. He didn’t guarantee that nothing bad would ever happen, he just promises that the end will be worth it by having eternal salvation. When bad things happen to me, I don’t ask what I did to deserve it, because I don’t think it works that way – I ask for his support to get me through it.

    1. I agree with Christine that when people make wrong choices, bad things can happen. She also brings up a good point about that it is not the innocent people’ fault that they have cancer or illnesses.

  5. I believe God allows pain in the world because that is what helps us grow closer to Him, if we so choose.
    Also, I believe Father Mike has a point in saying it isn’t God that brings the evil about, but rather, humans. Though, this idea has always confused me. Sure, it is humans that actually do the sinning and evil deeds, but God created us and He knows evething, so the concept that he already knows and has planned everything, yet allows this evil, is confusing. It doesn’t make me trust in Him any less, I just have never been able to fully grasp this idea! I deal with hardships in my life by giving all of my problems up to God, and confessing anything I have wrongly committed, and believe that He will always be there to help and guide me, as he has done for me an uncountable amount of times before.

    1. Laura,
      I’m with you – it’s a very confusing concept. If God has it all planned out where does the free will come into play? Or does he just already know what everyone will choose and what the consequences will be after they do so? It’s a struggle to try and figure it out. I guess that is what faith is about, surrendering to what we do not understand but knowing God will be there for us.

  6. sometimes I
    question if God exists whenever I am in trouble or in doubt. if God is here for me why would I suffer from my problem? when i pray, i know things go right but why wouldn’t he protect me from those problems at the first place?

    1. Tsebeot,
      Whenever you feel like this, think about valid reasons why God would want us to learn from our mistakes and pain we all inevitably have to go through.. in case you can’t find a good reason, the answer that helps me is because He wants us to fully TRUST that He will protect us and love us. If we had a perfect life and everything always went perfectly, where would our foundation of TRUST in Him begin?

  7. Personally, I think God allows suffering and evil to exist in the world because it was God’s original plan to not live like that. So, in the beginning with Adam and Eve, because they somewhat “messed that up” for everyone else, God just let the world continue as is. I don’t fully agree nor disagree with Father Mike. I don’t think it was God who “allowed” the baby to fall of the table. I think it was the baby’s free will to roll without knowing its horror. BUT I will say that God won’t let the death of that baby get to stop its parents from living a good life through God. Because I know that the bad things or situation that have happened to me are because I let them happen. I don’t think that God wants to see me sad when I’m in a break up or frustrated when I choose to study the night before a test. God is looking over me and protecting me from potentially doing something harmful to myself.

  8. I wonder that all the time, because God wants everyone to be with him. Why did God even create evil? He knew that there would be problems in the world, but why? I think it’s because he wants to test us. I think that he wants to see how we handle hardships and temptation.

    1. I definitely agree with you in that God allows us to live with these evil in the world to test us. God didn’t create evil, and I would always ask myself if God is so mighty, why allow evil to even exist. But This goes on to what someone had mentioned before, God created free will so that we can choose how we live our lives. It’s our decision to do bad. So when bad things happen to us, then its this test to see of our faith with God. God allows bad things to happen to us because it’s part of His plan. Our plan in life is to go about it smoothly, problem free. But that’ s just not possible, because we sin. So we should rely on God’s plan which comes in perfect timing. And will come with the bad of life.

  9. Adding on to my comment, I deal with suffering and hardships by remembering the phrase, “In God We Trust”. I just learned to trust God and that he will be with me. Giving trust to God is a form of comfort and when you feel that your all alone you know that someone, God, is with you.

  10. Personally, I think God let human beings suffer, even human beings know they have free will they choose to be sinful. Whenever, I’m having difficult times in my life, first I ask myself what I have done wrong to suffer this, most of the times I can find the answers from myself, in this modern day almost every human being is sinful. No one can follow everything in the Bible.

    1. I agree that free will does play a big part in suffering and evil in the world because people make their own decisions to sin, it’s all on them.

  11. I think that God allows suffering and evil to exist because everyone has to go through something bad in their life or sad, nobody is perfect. Although God doesn’t commit the evil and suffering, he does allow it to happen so people in a way can become stronger and grow as a person. However I do agree with Mike when he states that people brought upon hardships and evil among their selves and other because of sin which is true. He later states that we also engage in free will which can lead to sins which I agree with as well. When hardships and obstacles occur in my life I rarely feel negative and don’t feel there’s a way to get out because I sometimes have a lot of doubt, but most of the time I feel positively that I will get out of the situation and depending on how bad the issue is, I’ll pray about it.

  12. I agree with Father Mike, I think suffering is natural to life. I don’t think God looks upon us and says “oh I want this person to suffer now” because I don’t think that’s how it works. I think that it happens because it happens, I think people choose a path and suffering and pain is just part of it.

  13. I am a firm believer in that everything that happens in your life, happens for a reason, whether that reason is good or bad. I also believe that God puts obstacles in your life because he knows your strength that knows that you can overcome it. God puts these “bad” and “evil” things in our lives for a reason, He does it because he loves and cares for us. God also knows that we are not all perfect human beings.

  14. Pain is only temporary and can be fixed with a change in attitude and mind. I agree with father Mike, God does have a “better plan” for us but you have to work for it. I personally feel that there are more than a million paths you get to choose from until it is time to go to paradise. On the other hand some people could have been the best as humans and still suffer, this is something i have never understood. Although I don’t believe God intentionally does this, I do believe that as human beings everyone suffers at least one time in their life. although temporary it is still an emotion we face, and its our decision on how to deal or cope with it.

  15. In my opinion, God allows for pain and suffering to exist because it is our own choices that cause such pain and suffering. Humans have been gifted the power of free will and to do as they pleased so if some of them choose to do bad things then that creates pain and suffering in the world. It all comes down to the choices people make and what they want in life.

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