Despite evil and suffering in the world, God is good.

Defenders of the Christian faith admit that questions about evil and suffering are the hardest to answer. How can a good, loving, and all-powerful God allow evil and suffering? This lesson responds to this question by directing us to the larger story of creation, fall into sin, redemption, and new creation. The Holy Spirit-inspired writers of scripture were aware of questions about evil and suffering, and their answers were formed by the revelation of God’s goodness disclosed to them. This lesson begins by identifying the source of evil and suffering on earth, analyzes the human condition corrupted by sin, and concludes with God’s triumph over evil and suffering. 

Golden Text- Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


A. God’s Creation Was Very Good

Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 1:31 gives a summary assessment of God’s creation accomplished over the preceding six days: “it was very good”. Beginning with the creation of the land and the first signs of life on the third day, each subsequent day of creation concluded with the statement, “God saw that it was good.” The last assessment took into account the totality of creation, and it was deemed “very good.” The Hebrew word for good is variously translated into English as good, pleasant, agreeable, sweet, fair in appearance, and so forth. In God’s own eyes, the whole of creation was a picture of harmony and order. It was exceedingly good. All living creatures received all that they needed in abundance. Food, water and land were not scarce. There was not indication that they must fight to survive. The proper response of Adam and Eve to such an ideal environment should have been gratitude expressed in faithfulness to God.

B. The Fall Into Sin

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

It is important to see here that Eve started out with good intentions. She understood the instructions that God had given to her, and in the face of the adversary acknowledges the one who gave her these instructions as God. Just because she knew the plan of God, and recognized Him as God did not exclude her from temptation.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Notice the words of Satan here. He tells her she will be “as gods”. Pouring into her human nature, and encouraging her that she could be something that she was not meant to be. She has already acknowledged who was Lord of her life, but the goal of Satan is that we become Lord over our own lives because in ourselves our hearts are desperately wicked. 

Also, notice that he tells her she will then know good and evil. Maybe all she heard is that she would become as gods, and missed this last part. At this time she knew no evil. There was no wickedness known to her, but we see as a result of their decision to be disobedient we now experience good AND evil.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

We see here the first example in the Bible that we, as humans, have the freedom of choice. Our God is not a dictator making us do what He desires, but He sits on His throne, with a perfect plan for us, waiting for us to seek Him.

8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan, first to disbelieve God’s Word, and then to disobey God’s commandment. They gave in to temptation and disbelieved and disobeyed God. Their fall into sin was that simple, and extreme in its consequences, affecting every human and the whole creation. As.a result of their sin, the curse of sin descended on God’s entire “very good” creation, corrupting everything with evil and bringing every living creature under the sentence of death. Because Adam and Eve had been ordained by God to have dominion over the whole creation (Genesis 1:27-28), the consequences of their sin spread to the whole creation.


A. Born In Sin

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Their fall into sinfulness corrupted the human nature of Adam and Eve, and also brought about the spiritual and moral corruption of al who have descended from them. Clearly the sin which began in the Garden of Eden spread its corruption to the children of the first couple, resulting in the first murder, when Cain killed Abel. In David’s greatest apologetic Psalm (51) he acknowledged not only the sins he had committed, but also confesses the sinfulness that corrupts human nature. David admitted that he had been a sinner by nature from the beginning of his life, and he needed God to give him victory over his sinful nature. 

B. Bent Toward Sin

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

No matter how “good” we try to make ourselves, our personal righteousness will only amount to the of filthy rags. We have been blemished by our sins. This scripture refers to us as leaves and our sin as the wind. On our own, we have no choice but to be controlled by sin.

7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

We must realize the seriousness of sin. This is what will drive us into a right relationship with Christ. When I realize that nothing that I can accomplish or achieve can bring redemption for my sins, and that my sins drive me away from Christ, it will cause me to fully depend on Him.

Mark 7:20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Devout Jews in Jesus’ time were concerned with keeping rules for ceremonial purity. They also tended to confuse ceremonial purity with spiritual and moral purity. Jesus said ceremonial purity is not the same as spiritual and moral purity. Ceremonial purity is outward cleanliness, but spiritual and moral purity is inward cleanliness. As Jesus made plain to see in His teaching, all the outward evildoing in the lives of humans, comes from the evil within them. Until thus evil is removed by the saving grace of God for Christ’s sake, we cannot be free from sin’s dominion over us. God, who forgives our sins for Christ’s sake, also purifies us spiritually and morally within, so that good from within is manifested in our outward living.


A. The Christian’s Hope

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

The fact that there will be a future new creation gives Christians hope in the midst of a broken world. We will participate in this new creation. Paul had confidence that what God had started in Jesus’ resurrection would spread by the Holy Spirit to believers throughout the world, and eventually to the whole creation. This faith led him to conclude that one could not reasonably compare the sufferings of this present life to the glory that is to come. Present sufferings are real, but they are temporary. In the end, they will be swallowed up by the eternal glory of the new creation.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Paul spoke for all believers in Christ in this verse. Another way of saying this could be, “we know that in all things, God is working for good to those who love Him.” 

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Because, as vs. 28 says, God is working for our good, no matter what is happening now, God’s love is working in us, through us, and for us, and nothing can separate us from his love. No circumstance, no battle, no struggle. While we may be pressed today by the evil prevailing in this world, we know we are “more the conquerors,” because Christ has already triumphed over all evil on our behalf, and His victory is ours.

B. The New Creation

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

The present world with all of its suffering, sorrow, pain, and death will not endure forever. God gave to John the apostle a vision of the old world passing away, a new heaven and earth emerging, and the New Jerusalem (the community of God’s redeemed people) coming down from God out of heaven. In this new world, God will dwell with His people, and “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall their be any more paint: for the former things are passed away”. Not only will this present evil world cease to exist, but in place of this world, Christ will “make all things new”. Then, this new creation, that has already begun in this world in those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, will be complete.

The fact that Christ will make all things new is astoundingly good news. The emergence of all things being made new began when Jesus was raised from the dead. In John’s vision, the resurrected Lord Jesus, seated on His throne, announces that all things are being made new. As the happy result of Christ’s redemptive work, the old order of evil and sinning, struggle, pain, sorrow, and death will pass from existence. The whole creation will be saved from sin and its consequences by Jesus Christ.

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