Why Do Evil and Suffering Exist?
“Why?” is a natural question for a person to ask when tragedy strikes. How happy we are that the Bible offers clear answers to that question!
1. How did Satan introduce evil into the world?
Satan the Devil rebelled against God. Satan wanted to rule over others, so he influenced the first humans, Adam and Eve, to join him in his rebellion. Satan did this by telling Eve a lie. (Genesis 3:1-5) He made her think that Jehovah was wrongly withholding something good from her. He implied that humans would be happier if they did not obey God. Satan told the first lie by telling Eve that she would not die. Thus, the Bible calls Satan “a liar and the father of the lie.”—John 8:44.
2. What did Adam and Eve choose to do?
Jehovah was very generous to Adam and Eve. He said they could eat from every tree in the garden of Eden except one. (Genesis 2:15-17) But they decided to eat the fruit of that tree anyway. Eve “began taking of its fruit and eating it.” Later, Adam “began eating it.” (Genesis 3:6) They both disobeyed God. Because Adam and Eve were perfect, it was natural for them to do what is right. But by willfully disobeying God, they sinned and rejected his rulership. That decision caused them great suffering.—Genesis 3:16-19.
3. How has Adam and Eve’s decision affected us?
When Adam and Eve sinned, they became imperfect, and they thus passed on imperfection to all of their descendants. Regarding Adam, the Bible says: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men.”—Romans 5:12.
We suffer for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we suffer because of bad decisions we make. Sometimes we suffer because of other people’s bad decisions. Sometimes we suffer because we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.—Read Ecclesiastes 9:11.
Consider why God is not responsible for the evil and suffering in the world today and how he feels when we suffer.
4. The one who is responsible for our suffering
Many people believe that God controls the whole world. Is that true? Play the VIDEO.
Read James 1:13 and 1 John 5:19, and then discuss this question:
Is God responsible for suffering and evil?
5. Consider the results of Satan’s rulership
Read Genesis 3:1-6, and then discuss these questions:
What lie did Satan tell?—See verses 4 and 5.
How did Satan imply that Jehovah was holding back something good from humans?
According to Satan, do humans need to have Jehovah as their Ruler in order to be happy?
Read Ecclesiastes 8:9, and then discuss this question:
Without Jehovah as the Ruler of this world, what has happened?
Adam and Eve were perfect and lived in Paradise. But they listened to Satan and rebelled against Jehovah
After the rebellion, the world became filled with sin, suffering, and death
Jehovah will end sin, suffering, and death. Once again, humans will be perfect and live in Paradise
6. Jehovah cares about our suffering
Is God indifferent to our suffering? Consider what King David and the apostle Peter wrote. Read Psalm 31:7 and 1 Peter 5:7, and then discuss this question:
How does it make you feel to know that Jehovah notices and cares about our suffering?
7. God will end all human suffering
Read Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:3, 4, and then discuss this question:
Why is it comforting to know that Jehovah will undo the effects of all the bad things that humans have experienced?
Did you know?
When Satan told the first lie, he slandered Jehovah. That is, he damaged Jehovah’s reputation as a fair and loving Ruler. When Jehovah undoes human suffering in the near future, he will vindicate himself. In other words, he will prove that his rulership really is the best. The vindication of Jehovah’s name is a matter of the highest importance in the universe.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
SOME PEOPLE SAY: “Suffering is part of God’s purpose for us.”
What would you say?
Satan the Devil and the first two humans are mainly responsible for the evil in the world. Jehovah cares deeply about our suffering, and he will soon undo it.
What lie did Satan the Devil tell Eve?
How has Adam and Eve’s rebellion affected all of us?
How do we know that Jehovah cares about our suffering?
Learn the Bible’s definition of sin.
Read more about the issue that Satan the Devil raised in the garden of Eden.
“Why Does God Allow Suffering?” (The Watchtower, January 1, 2014)
Examine comforting answers to a difficult question.
“Why Did the Holocaust Happen? Why Didn’t God Stop It?” (Web article)
See what one man learned about the suffering he saw around him.