With so much evil in the world, how can I believe in the goodness of God?
To address God's good nature in the midst of so much pain and evil in the world, we must understand where evil came from and how it exists. God is not the author of evil. Adam and Eve thrived in the garden—a beautiful, safe place—where they could enjoy unity and communion with God. God warned them of the evil that would disrupt their world once they disobeyed Him. From the beginning, God had the knowledge of evil and tried to protect His perfect creatures from its destructive nature. However, Adam and Eve disobeyed God's protective command and allowed evil to enter into our human experience. After they sinned, they hid from God in shame and fear. The results of their disobedience were quite stark, but God showed His goodness by making a temporary cover for their sin and promising a future Messiah who would redeem mankind. He also removed them from the garden so they would not live forever in their fallen state (Genesis 3). We might be tempted to blame Adam and Eve for evil, but we all carry it with us because we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Unfortunately, suffering and pain is now a part of our life here on earth.
When humanity decided to listen to Satan rather than God, Satan became "ruler of this world" (John 12:31). This means that Satan has a degree of authority on earth, and Satan's objective is to cause suffering, death, and separation from God. Along with humanity's sinfulness, Satan causes much of the evil in our world. The Bible says that, "the devil prowls like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Satan is the king of deception and desires us to believe the lie that God does not care about our suffering (John 8:44).
The truth is that God cares deeply for our pain. He is good and just and desires us to be reconciled to Him (2 Peter 3:9). We know that God is love (1 John 4:7–8), that God comforts the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), that God desires justice for evil (Psalm 89:14), and that God will someday avenge the evil in the world with His perfect judgment (Revelation 20:13; 21:5). We can rejoice that God has a plan for the evil that destroys our world through death, sickness, and pain. The first step in God's plan to save us from evil was sending His son to conquer death.
Jesus is God's redeeming answer to Adam and Eve's disobedience. Mankind inherited sin and pain as descendants of Adam and Eve, but when we put our faith in Him, we inherit life and peace as a spiritual gift from Christ. And indeed it is a powerful gift. The Son of God appeared to destroy the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8). Jesus' message is an exact binary to the message of the Devil (John 10:10). The life and message of Christ is so important to our process of understanding that God is good in the midst of all the evil in our world. Through Christ, God shows us that He wants to redeem us from the pain we experience (Ephesians 1:7). Although we still experience evil, our burdens are lighter knowing that God desires to walk alongside us and draw us closer to Him in our struggles (Matthew 11:30).
God not only gifted us with hope and redemption from the evil that lives in our own hearts, but He also promised to bring peace when He returns and destroys evil (Romans 16:20). The suffering and trials that come with evil in the world should be expected. The apostle Peter tells us that we should not be surprised by the evil that we encounter in mankind (1 Peter 4:12). He also tells us to rejoice because we have the hope that we can entrust our suffering to God (1 Peter 4:13–14). Because we belong to a God who cares about our pain, we can rejoice that He will return and bring peace to earth (1 Peter 4:17).
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