This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 4/1/2001

Why Does God Allow Diseases to Occur?

We do not have to live very long before we learn that many people suffer from painful diseases. Some people have cancer, others have AIDS, and still others have hundreds of different sicknesses. In fact, every single person in the world eventually suffers some kind of pain such as a broken arm, the death of a loved one, or emotional pain like rejection or abuse.

So why doesn’t God stop all the suffering and pain? The Bible says that He is all-powerful (Revelation 4:8). That means He has the power to stop it any time He chooses. The Bible also describes God as being all-good (Luke 18:19). Wouldn’t a good person want to help someone who is suffering? How can God be all-good and all-powerful, and yet still allow people to suffer?

In order to answer this question, we must go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Before Adam and Eve sinned, there were no diseases or suffering. Everything God had made was pure and good. One of those good things that God gave Adam and Eve was the freedom to make their own decisions. They were given the ability to decide if they wanted to obey or disobey God. The heavenly Father did not create humans to be like robots that must do what they are programmed to do. God is love (1 John 4:8), and love allows people to make their own decisions. [Think of how parents love their children and because of that love, allow the children to make personal choices on occasion.]

Unfortunately, Adam and Eve made the wrong decision. They chose to disobey God, and their sin brought pain, suffering, disease, and death into the world. These terrible consequences of sin are not God’s fault; rather they are the results of sinful human beings. And one reason that God does not remove all suffering in this life is because He wants us to be free to make our own decisions—just like Adam and Eve.

But what about innocent people such as babies? Why do they sometimes suffer even when they have done nothing wrong? Look at the life of Jesus. He suffered terribly, even though He never had done anything wrong. Innocent people sometimes suffer because those around them make wrong decisions.

Even though suffering and pain seem terrible now, we must remember that they are only temporary. This world never was intended to be our final home, and the suffering that God allows to take place on this Earth is small compared to the joy that He will give to faithful Christians. The apostle Paul wrote: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

God loved humans so much that He allowed them to have the freedom to choose even when He knew it would cost Him the death of His precious Son Jesus. Let’s use the suffering that comes into our lives to help others see God’s love.

Copyright © 2001 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio