Friday, July 25, 2008

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

"Why do bad things happen to good people?"

This is a question that befuddles and perplexes many people. If you spend any time watching TV (which I don't recommend), you will see this issue discussed by all sorts of philosophers, psychologists, and religious gurus. They all attempt to sound intelligent while providing silly answers, but the reality is that they have nothing substantive to say.

So many people are bothered by this subject that many books have been written. I just visited and found these titles on the first search page:

When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Why Bad Things Happen to Good People
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Why Good People Do Bad Things
If There Is a God, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
Why Bad Things Happen to Good Black Women
If God is Good, Why is the World So Bad?
Why Good People Do Bad Things
Why Do Bad Things Happen to So-Called "Good People"?

I cannot speak for or against the quality of the above books because I haven't read any of them. I just find it interesting how many people have written on this topic.

Let's back up a bit. When we look at what scripture teaches and then look at this question, we must realize that the fundamental problem lies in an assumption within the question itself. The assumption made by anyone asking this question is that there are good people. The problem with the question is that there are no good people.

The bible is abundantly clear on this matter. Here are just a few verses to make this obvious:

Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? "

Mark 7:20-23, "And He said, 'What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.'"

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Ephesians 2:1-3, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."

James 2:10, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all."

In light of the obvious wickedness of the human heart, it makes sense that bad things happen to all people, because all people are bad. God, in His perfect holiness, has every right to bring all the bad He wants on any person, for we have all rebelled against Him.

The far more interesting question is this, "Why do good things happen to bad (all) people?"

I'll tackle that one in the near future.


Quintin said...

"there are no good people"
While I get that, is this by far too insensitive (and abused)? Surely the first question we should ask is: 'Well, what is good?' Am I sounding like a Comfort-ite?

By defining good we can really start out with a gospel message. People will realize they don't deserve what they do have and also may feel convicted that they do little to nothing for those who have less.

Just a thought...

Jason said...

Nicely handled. I will be interested in seeing where you go with "Why good thing happen" topic.

Eric said...


Thanks for your comment. I really don't think it is too insensitive to say "there are no good people." There are two reasons for this. First, it is biblical. Second, it places us all on an even level. We are all rebels in need of the one Savior - Jesus Christ.

Far too many people are convinced that they are in some way "a good person." We need to do all we can in the church to fight against this false belief.

Eric said...


Thanks for your compliment.

The next question (why do good things happen to bad people?)is definitely a more challenging one to answer. I'm looking forward to dealing with it, and then seeing what people have to say.