If God is Good_ Why Do Bad Things Happen

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					answer, in fact - is that He has done             efforts are directed towards becoming
something about our human condition, and          reunited with Christ, in order to rely more
the pervasiveness of the effects of death and
                                                  and more on His strength, rather than our
                                                  own.                                                       If God is

And He has done it - IN PERSON.                   l Instead of relying on simply having the
  Religions offer plenty of answers to            right beliefs (which is a critical foundation,
ethical problems (how can we “do good             to be sure), or on doing “good things”, the
things”), but the traditional Christian           ancient, authentic Christian path focuses on
understanding of God goes a step beyond           returning us to our true and original state - a
this: God took on our sick and dying human
flesh, entered death personally, and blew
                                                  state of holiness. Through a path of time-
                                                  tested prayer, fasting, and repentance, one                  why do
apart its permanent effects - because God         addresses the effects of the broken world on

cannot die. Although the world for the time       our individual lives: depression, addiction,
being continues to suffer from the painful        obsessiveness, workaholism, and a lack of
effects of the fall and death, the death and      inner peace, to name a few things.
Resurrection of Jesus Christ - His physical         The answer to the question, Why do bad
rising from the dead - offers us our real         things happen?, can only be found by
hope, in the short run, and in the long run:
l Instead of having to choose from all sorts
                                                  walking the centuries old path of experience
                                                  of spiritually healthy, holy, and whole                     things
of ineffective social, political, and personal
solutions devised by the broken notions of
                                                  people, who have walked this path before
                                                  us. For those who have the true desire and                 happen?
the fallen world, God offers us a solution        the will to seek lasting answers to this
that originates outside the worlds profound       critical question, the concrete results that
problems.                                         can show in day-to-day life are an answer
l More than just “believing in something          worth looking for.
higher than ourselves”, the lives of holy                                                           Few things can be more troubling to a person
people offer us a path to follow to free                                                            of faith than disappointments or disasters.
ourselves from slavery to material                                                                  We can ask ourselves, If God is good, and if
possessions, and from the passions of greed,                                                        He loves us, why would He allow bad things
lust, pride, and hatred, to which we so                                                             to happen? Doesn’t He have the power to
easily resort for our false consolation. In the       All Saints of North America                   stop disasters, disease, and death?
mystical tradition of Eastern Orthodox                     Orthodox Church                            Many people offer what they might call a
                                                            HAMILTON . ONTARIO . CANADA             “Christian” perspective on this important
Christianity, this is called asceticism, the
cutting off of thoughts and attachments.                                                            question. With a thousand contradictory
This traditional Christian asceticism goes a                                                        explanations, how can we hope to understand
step farther, in that once we are                                                                   the truth on this essential question for our
disconnected from the fallen world, our                                                             lives? Yet for the first one thousand years of
                                                                                                    Christianity, the great holy people of the
Church, the saints, martyrs, champions,           happens - even profoundly hurtful, troubling,     was the advent of death in the world. For
bishops, and monastics, both men and              and evil things - to bring about His plan for     most of us, death is such a commonplace
women, offered one, unified explanation to        the world in general, and for us in particular.   thing that the notion that death was not part
this question of why bad things happen.             At the Fall, mankind not only fell away         of existence from the beginning seems
                                                  from God, but our whole nature - body, soul,      almost impossible. Yet this is precisely the
         ,                                        and mind - became radically changed. The          understanding of Christian holy people and
      God s Purpose                               great saints describe this state as “darkened”,
                                                  because our ideas and plans became
                                                                                                    saints from the beginning. Most other
                                                                                                    religions recognize this reality, too, although
                                                  distorted, and quite unlike the way they were     they do not address the consequences of
                                                  at creation.                                      death in the same way.
  As we read the lives and writings of these                                                          Because death and related suffering
great saints, it soon becomes clear that they                                                       (including sickness, fear, and the ambitions
understood that when God created the world,
He created it good - without suffering,
                                                    Personal Struggles                              that result from fear) remain part of our
                                                                                                    fallen world, it should not surprise us that we
without death. Along with that, God also                                                            feel discouraged by it all, and that we carry
created the human race free - not as robots,                                                        with us a profound sense that all this is
following some program. Why were we                 As a result, the human race was cut off         terribly wrong, and fundamentally unnatural.
created with freedom? The earliest Christian      from God, lonely, and continuing to long for      Of course, it is.
writers tell us that if people are to be really   something to fill the void that was once filled     It is a mistake to believe that anything from
holy, to be truly good, to truly love God, they   by God at the time of creation. Not wanting       the broken, fallen world can somehow take
must have freedom to choose.                      to leave a bad enough situation alone, the        away the pain and suffering that now afflicts
  This human freedom doesn’t diminish             human race began devising a myriad of plans       us. Political programs have repeatedly tried,
God’s power: He works with whatever we            to fill the void: political ambitions, power      and failed. Social justice campaigns, health
do, to bring about His will on earth. Some        struggles, entertainment, ambitions,              programs, and pleasure-seeking hedonism
much later theories, such as reformed             distractions, and addictions. Modern              and materialism continue to suggest that they
protestant teachings, argue that people are       materialism is the ultimate outgrowth of this     offer some lasting help, while experience
not really free to choose, and that God’s         search.                                           shows them to be full of false promises.
control extends to every decision we make.          It should be no surprise that this foolhardy
This kind of teaching is at variance with that    quest has resulted in more and more pain, as
of the universal understanding of the early
Church, and with Orthodox understanding to
                                                  our hearts have become increasingly restless,
                                                  and at the same time, have become attached
                                                                                                       So what is God
this day.
  God is not powerful in the way a military
                                                  to things that perish. This is the source of a
                                                  great deal of pain in the world.
                                                                                                      doing about this?
dictator is powerful, through controlling         But how can we understand disasters, both         Many people rightly ask the question:
people, and forcing them to do whatever he        personal and large-scale disasters, such as
wants. Rather, God’s far-seeing eyes, and His                                                       If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He do
                                                  famines, plagues, and large-scale loss of life?   something about this problem?
profound understanding of His creatures,            One of the main consequences of the fall
allow Him to work with anything that                                                                  The answer - the only true and satisfying

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