Part 1: Mommy, Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?
The Foundation blog typically contains articles written for adults, helping them address worldview and apologetic topics with children. However, this blog series was written for children. We encourage you to read through these posts with the children God has placed in your care, to help them critically think through why God allows evil.
God has given us a good world. The sun shines, flowers grow, birds sing, and breezes blow. God has given us family and friends – people who love us, teach us, and care for us. God has given us food to eat and water to drink (and He has even given us sweet treats like watermelon and strawberries!). God has given us many good things.
But we also see many things in this world that are not good. Storms come and destroy houses. Germs make our bodies sick. Family members get angry and argue. Friends say mean words that sting. And people we love grow old and die.
Sometimes you might wonder, “If God is good, why does He let bad things happen?” That is a great question, and it is a question many people have asked before. The good news is, God is big enough to answer this question and others like it. In this series, we will explore why God lets bad things happen. And the first thing we need to do is explore where bad things come from.
Question 1: Where Do Bad Things Come From?
When you see bad things happen in the world, you may wonder, "Why didn't God create the world without these bad things?" If you have thought about this question before, you are thinking in the right direction. Because guess what? The Bible tells us that God did create the world without these bad things.
The book of Genesis tells us that God created everything, and all that God created was good. The stars and the planets were good. The land and the sea were good. The birds, the fish, and the animals were good. And humans, well, they were very good. You see, humans were God’s most special creation. That is because God made humans in His image. Humans, and everything else God created, were just as they should be. At least, they were for a while.
So, what happened? Did God make a mistake somewhere? No, God is perfect, which means He never, ever makes mistakes. The trouble started with the first humans - Adam and Eve. Because Adam and Eve were made in God’s image, God created them with the ability to make choices. They could choose what to call the animals, which food they wanted to eat, and how to spend their time. They could also choose whether or not they would love, trust, and obey God.
Adam and Eve only had one rule to obey. God told them that they could eat fruit from every tree in their garden home. There was just one tree they couldn’t eat from. God said that if they ate from that tree, they would die. Well, one day, a serpent in the garden told Eve that God had lied to her. He said that if she and Adam ate the fruit of that tree, they would not die. Instead, they would become like God! Adam and Eve had a choice to make - trust God or trust the serpent. At that moment, they chose not to trust God. They disobeyed by eating the fruit from that one tree, and when they did, they became sinful.
Right away, their sin destroyed their relationship with one another. Instead of working together, like they always had, Adam and Eve ran and hid from one another. Their sin also destroyed their relationship with God. When God came to walk with them in the garden, Adam and Eve hid from God. And their sin destroyed their relationship with themselves. Rather than admitting they had disobeyed God, Adam and Eve blamed one another and the serpent. Sin ruined all of Adam and Eve's relationships.
Remember, earlier, I mentioned that God is perfect. This means that He cannot let sin go unpunished. Just like your parents punish you when you disobey, God punished Adam and Eve for their disobedience. God told Eve that her work of having babies would now be very painful. He told Adam that Adam's work of farming would now be very difficult, and God cursed the ground. God's once perfect creation was ruined because of Adam and Eve's sin.
Today, all of the bad things we find in this world come from sin. Now you might be wondering why sin affects you. It was Adam and Eve who chose to disobey, not you! Why do you have to deal with all these bad things just because Adam and Eve made one mistake? That is another great question. And it is the question we will explore in our next post.
About Elizabeth Urbanowicz
Elizabeth Urbanowicz is a follower of Jesus who is passionate about equipping kids to understand the truth of the Christian worldview. Elizabeth holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Gordon College, an M.S.Ed. in Education from Northern Illinois University, and an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Elizabeth spent the first decade of her professional career teaching elementary students at a Christian school. Elizabeth now works full time on developing comparative worldview and apologetics resources for children. Her goal is to prepare the next generation to be lifelong critical thinkers and, most importantly, lifelong disciples of Jesus.
Related Posts and insights
Are the Lessons from Superbook Biblical?
Are the lessons from the kids' show Superbook biblical? In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz reviews the popular children's cartoon series, Superbook, which is watched in many homes and even in churches. Learn how to critically evaluate the show as Elizabeth breaks down an episode of Superbook, looking for the good and the error in the lesson that is presented to children.
Screen Time and Dopamine: Is Anything Safe?
Today's question says, "In one of your other podcasts, you said something about screen time and the use of dopamine and the impact on children. I agree and understand your arguments, but are there any videos you can recommend that are okay for our kids?"