As we know, the Bible is God’s Kingdom Manual. In it He explains His purposes and plans. So we understand why He created the heavens and the earth (He will renew them for His eternal headquarters).
Many people find it perplexing why there is so much trouble, evil, drugs, wars, rebellions, unrest, etc in this present life? Couldn’t an all-knowing, all-powerful God give us an easy ride on earth, without problems, droughts, famines, poverty, tsunamis, palace coups, marriage unrest, rebellious children, etc? A good God and a bad world (created by Him) doesn’t make sense!
That is true. God’s plan is a peaceful, blessed, eternal Kingdom (a new heaven and earth with happy citizens and a perfect Leader, in future). To answer the question why the world is bad now, let us imagine that planet earth was perfect with no droughts, diseases, or financial problems, but only peace and happiness. If that was true, one could easily think that the people would be content and happy, and have no issues with the leadership of the country. Yet when life is good, a person’s real attitudes and loyalties do not surface.
Also there are no difficult demands on anyone in a perfect place. The only requirement is that the status quo must not change. In a perfect world, the leader has no guarantee that his loving, loyal citizens will not decide to rebel or attempt a palace coup. Say circumstances change and the economy goes down, or some disaster strikes, what guarantee does the leadership have that people’s attitudes will not change? Think how many times that has happened in history.
That was God’s ‘dilemma.’ Give the people perfection, and the real motives and desires of their hearts do not surface. So God allowed that ancient serpent, the devil, or Satan to infiltrate His creation and corrupt it. God’s plan was to use, amongst others, the devil’s reign of evil to test who are willing to love Him and remain loyal. We see an example of it in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. Every one of them encourages believers to persevere and overcome.1
So when Adam and Eve fell (disobeying God and switching allegiance to the devil), the whole world came under the control of the devil, with the subsequent curse on the earth – the perfect recipe for the revelation of people’s real feelings. That explains why God allowed evil. He tests us this side of the grave.
God will never tolerate another palace coup like the devil’s. The devil was one of God’s angels, but rebelled and decided to oppose God. In Isaiah 14:13-14 the devil declared, ’I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
So to answer the question, ‘Why is there suffering and evil in the world?’ God makes sure that we love Him in the midst of trials and troubles (if we are loyal here, we will be loyal there). With an earthly Utopia, that would have been impossible.
1. Revelation 2:7,11,17, 26; 3:5,12,21