Why does God let bad things happen to good people?

The short answer to this difficult question is "there are no good people." Jesus said it best when He said, "No one is good except God alone" (Mark 10:18). There are only two kinds of people: bad people and bad people who have been redeemed. Bad things happen to people because we live in a fallen, sin-cursed world.

The Bible tells us that all humans are, by nature, sinful and condemned and that no one is good (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). Romans 3:10-18 clearly states the truth about people: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes." When we think we deserve to escape the "bad things," we deny the fact that every second we are alive and every breath we take is only by the grace and mercy of God, who restrains Himself from giving us what we deserve, eternal hell in the lake of fire.

So the real question is "Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people?" Romans 5:8 gives the answer, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." In spite of the evil, wicked, sinful nature of the people of this world, and because of it, God provided a way to escape the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23). God provided Jesus Christ to save all those who would ever believe in Him as their Savior (John 3:16; Romans 10:9), and by His blood, we are forgiven and receive an eternal home in heaven (Romans 8:1). By this miracle, bad people receive an entirely new nature and become good people because they exchange their sin for the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

But God still allows bad things to happen to these redeemed people for His reasons, whether or not we understand them. The Psalmist tells us "This God—his way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30). If God's ways are "perfect," then we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect. This may not seem possible to us, but our minds are not God's mind. It is true that we can't expect to understand His mind perfectly, as He reminds us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). Nevertheless, our responsibility to God is to obey Him, to trust Him and to submit to His will, whether we understand it or not. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). Romans 8:28–30 encourages, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."

Related Truth:

Why does God let innocent people suffer?

Why does God allow sickness?

Is sickness ever part of God's will for believers?

Why does God allow natural disasters?

Why does God allow evil rulers like Hitler and Saddam to have power?

Return to:
Truth about God

Subscribe to the CompellingTruth.org Newsletter:

Preferred Bible Version:

CompellingTruth.org is part of Got Questions Ministries

For answers to your Bible questions, please visit