Why does the one true God allow evil and suffering?

The Bible teaches much about causes of suffering and articulates some explanations. However, some instances are left unexplained. God's reasons and purposes transcend human finite knowledge, and we cannot always understand suffering. Some events remain a mystery. At times we must trust God without understanding {Isa. 55:8-9; Job 42:2-3}. We will not have complete answers until eternity {John 14:1-3; Rom. 8:18; Rev. 21:4-5}

Causes of Human suffering

Scripture asserts suffering is inevitable in a fallen world [Gen. 3:14-19; Pss. 10:1-18; 22:1-31; 38:1-22]. Indeed, Christians may suffer more than do unbelievers [Rom. 6:1-14; 8:35-39; 1 Thess. 2:14]. One cause of suffering is sinfulness [Ps. 7:12-16; Hos. 8:7; Rom. 2:3-6; Gal. 6:7-8]. Misuse of God's gift of freedom, beginning with the fall of Adam and Eve and continuing in all persons, brings devastating consequences.

Assumption that suffering is always the direct result of sin is wrong [Job 4:1-5; 27; John 9:1-3].

Note: Sin may result in suffering [Ps. 1:1-6; Jer. 31:29-30; Ezek. 18:2-4], whether by individuals or corporate group [Josh. 7:1-12; 2 Kings 17:7-24; Amos 1:3-2:16].

Some evil and suffering transcend human depravity and are caused by Satan and demonic forces [Job 1:9-12; 2:6; Luke 9:38-42].

Suffering of believers:

Why does God allow the righteous to suffer?

The unrighteous do sometimes prosper, and the righteous sometimes suffer {Ps. 73:2-12; Jer. 12:1-4; Mal. 3:13-15}

Job was a righteous man, but he suffered great disaster. Yet, through all his suffering, Job continued to serve God {Job 1:21}. At a national level Habakkuk asks why God allows an unrighteous nation to defeat a more righteous nation {Hab. 1:12-13}. When David realized the eternal consequences of unrighteousness, he reaffirmed the goodness and justice of God {Ps. 73:1-2 8}

The ultimate solution to suffering comes in heaven {Rev. 21:4-5}. Even amid suffering, Christians experience God's care. He hears and answers prayers for strength in suffering. However painful suffering is, it is a shadow compared to the glory yet to come {Rom. 8:17-18}.

A second reason is that God either sends or allows suffering to teach, discipline, and mature us.  Suffering reminds us of our finitude and teaches us to trust God [Judges 2:21-3:6; Job 1:9; Mal. 3:3]. God disciplines those He loves. His disciplines is a sign of love rather than wrath [Prov. 3:11-12; Ps. 94:12]. Suffering should not be received with sadness or defeat, but with rejoicing because it leads to maturity and godly character [James 1:2-12; 1 Pet. 1:6-9].


A goal of human existence is not to avoid suffering but become godly....More to come.