The Goodness of God in a Cruel World

The Goodness of God in a Cruel World

One of the most difficult things to convince a believer about is the goodness of God.  They do not even wait too long before they challenge you that if God were good, why is there so much evil in the world.  An obviously good question. So, we must go there, if God were good, why is there so much evil in the world? There is an age-old dilemma that we as Christians always have to deal with.  If God is all-good, then He would want to get rid of evil in the world. If He is all-powerful, then He has the ability to do it. Why then, is there so much evil in the world in the face of a good God.  It is a concept that is difficult to understand.

When we say God is good, we are saying that is His very essence.  God will not be God if He were not good. So, the goodness of God is one of His basic attributes.  Psalm 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” As it is with all of His attributes, the goodness of God can be seen in His creation.  Genesis 1:31a says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” The goodness of God is very germane to our faith. We feel His goodness in our souls, we feel it in His provisions and His protections.  If, for example, someone was to prove to us that God is not good, or our mind somehow perceives that God is not good, then our faith can fall apart like a pack of cards. This is what the devil tries to do daily.  The devil tries to prove to us that God is not good. The devil tries to play with our mind and create a perception that God is not good. We ask questions like, if God were good, why am I suffering like this? We wonder why all the natural disasters if God is indeed good.  We tend to think the negative things all the time because that is what Satan will have us do so that we can begin to doubt this important attribute of our living God.

The truth, however, is that we can see proof of the goodness of God all around us daily.  This proof abounds in the life-sustaining provisions of God, in the crops that come in their own season for our food, and even in the air we breathe. As Christians we must be ready to showcase these proofs of the goodness of God to others every day.  But, what about the evil? This is how C. S. Lewis a former Atheist puts it: “If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having” (A Mind Awake: An Anthology of C. S. Lewis).  In essence, the idea of evil in the world is the only reason goodness is appealing and worth pursuing.  When we look at the things we consider to be good, we find that there is supposition that there is evil.  For example, how can we talk about love without talking about hate. How can we talk about mercy without talking about wrong doing?  So, we have a choice, between love and hate; and between kindness and wickedness.  

Apostle Paul says when we sorrow, we should not do it as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  This is because we know our God is good and that good always overcomes evil. In our sorrows or when evil strikes, we can always cry out to our benevolent God.  When my late wife died at a young age, that was torment from Satan himself, but because I know I serve a good God I was able to cry out to Him in my anguish just like Job did in Job 1:21c, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”  The good Lord restored my soul, He restored my hope, and He ultimately restored my joy. That is our good God. The idea that God is good does not mean we will not have trials. The idea that God is good does not mean we will not be sick. But in all things God will establish His authority and show His benevolence.  The lessons we learn in life do not usually come through pleasure. In fact, great lessons of life will come during periods of adversities and pain. Afflictions can be blessings in disguise. The bible teaches that “tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:4, KJV), and “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17, KJV).  It is the way of salvation and does not take away from the goodness of our God. Despite the evil in the world, our God remains omnibenevolent. He is all good, and He is good all the time.

– Pastor Simbo Odunaiya

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