Christian solutions to the problem of evil

Christians have various solutions to the problem of evil and suffering in the world:

  • God gave humans free will. Therefore, although he exists, he cannot interfere in any suffering that results from choices people have made.
  • Suffering is not God’s fault. Sin entered God’s perfect world when the first humans, Adam and Eve, used their free will to turn away from God.
  • Experiencing bad things is all part of God’s plan and humans should respond positively.
  • Many Christians believe that balance is important – humans need evil to appreciate goodness.
  • God is fair – people may suffer in their lives on Earth, but good people will be rewarded in Heaven.

The gift of free will comes with guidance from God about how to be good, such as the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. But, in the end, it is up to each person to choose whether or not they want to follow God’s instructions.

Suffering as a test – the Book of Job (Job 1:8–12, 42:1–6)

In the Bible, the faith of a man called Job is tested through his suffering on many occasions. However, he keeps his faith in God and in the end is rewarded. He comes to learn that suffering is part of God’s plan, which is beyond human understanding.

The Bible describes Job as a good man who loves God. The Devil argues to God that Job is only good because he has a happy life.

God allows the Devil to put Job’s faith to the test by causing him to suffer the deaths of his livestock, servants and all of his children. Then the Devil inflicts painful sores all over Job’s body. Despite discouragement from his friends and his wife, Job remains faithful to God, but he begins to question God’s fairness – why do wicked people flourish while good people suffer?

God appears to Job. He asks Job impossible questions, through which Job comes to appreciate that God’s ways cannot be fully understood by human beings. God rewards Job by restoring his health, giving him more children and a very long and prosperous life.


In the Book of Job, why does God present Job with impossible questions?

God presents Job with impossible questions to show him that God’s ways are beyond human understanding.

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