If there truly is a God and this God is a good God and this good God is on the job, then why do bad things happen? Many people, believers and nonbelievers alike have pondered this question at some time in their life. We are human so it's only natural that we make this inquiry. I will never pretend that I have all of the answers but I definitely do have my thoughts as to why such a loving God allows bad things.
Why did God give us free will in the first place?
I don't think God causes bad things to happen but I do believe He allows them to happen as the consequence of bad choices we as humans have made with our free will. We all try to make the best choice with the information that we have at the time but we are human, so we inevitably are going to make mistakes. There is no reason to ever beat ourselves up over them. That never helps. The best we can do is not make the same mistake twice and to try to learn something from the ones we have made.
You may be in a situation where something horrible has happened and you know you made all the best possible choices. Bad things can happen as a result of the choices someone else has made. They happen because of a ripple effect so far removed from us that we don't see the pebble that started that ripple. That brings forth another question. If God knew our having free will would sometimes result in bad choices, then why did He give us free will in the first place?
He did not want loving Him to come down to a question of fear.
When God decided to create mankind, His human family on this earth, He did so out of love. He did not want loving Him to come down to a question of fear. Remember, God is a gentleman. He could have very easily created us so that we inherently love Him, that we have no choice in the matter. He gave us each our own mind, heart and spirit so that we could freely feel whatever it is we feel and so that the choice of how we react to those feelings is completely up to us.
Do you prefer to be loved truly and unconditionally or would you be satisfied with someone pretending to love you to meet a desired end? Most of us would choose the first option...to be truly and unconditionally loved. That is also the choice God made and at least one of the reasons He gave us free will.
People define love in a plethora of ways. Rarely though, does anyone define love as something that is forced. Love is usually seen as something that lifts people up and makes them feel great about themselves. It is also generally seen as special and prized when it occurs between people. It may even refer to someone's great affection towards places and things. Love is supposed to be one of the best things in this world. How often does someone feel great about something that is forced upon them?
God wants us to love Him for Who He is just as we want to be loved for who we are.
Would you want even a single person in your life whom you love, to love you back only because they had to? Wouldn't you value their feelings more if they love you absolutely and unconditionally for who you are? They might not always love your actions but their love for you as a person is without bounds. Wouldn't you rather have that kind of love versus forced love? And if someone is able to force a feeling from you, could that ever really be love?
If God made every choice for us and decided every feeling for us, what exactly would be left for us to do? What kind of people would we be? How would we experience feelings of joy and triumph if all of the heavy lifting of life were already done? How would we learn? How would we grow? In essence, what kind of life would be left for us to live? I'm guessing an extremely dull and monotonous one in which we take for granted the very beauty of life itself.
God wants us to love Him for Who He is just as we want to be loved for who we are. Free will is one of the gifts God gave us to make that possible. I, for one, don't see how true love could exist without free will being a part of our human DNA. Free will is a marvelous thing. How we use it is up to us. As with any gift, I pray that I have the wisdom and strength to use mine for the good.
Next Week: Free Will 102: The Giver of the Gifts
What are some God given gifts for which you are the most thankful?
I want to help uplift, inspire and empower others and to help leave the world a little better than I found it. I am an author, deep thinker & optimist. I know God is love. I am the author of "Candidreams: I Remember the Beginning" and "Role Reversal: Turn Pain Into Power".
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Featuring original artwork by Ran H.