If God made the world good, why do we face so many problems here on earth? People are confronted daily with news of senseless acts of violence, natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, and unfathomable injustices against humanity. It just doesn’t seem to make sense that a good God would make a world that is filled with so many troubles. In order to understand the world as it is today, we need to go back to the creation of the world and discover where we fit into God’s unfolding story.
God gave humans a special role in creation. There’s a lot more to the world than just people, but God made humans alone his image-bearers and representatives on the earth:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. (Gen. 1:26)
As God’s royal representatives, Adam and Eve were given the responsibility to care for God’s creation and obey him in all things. Furthermore, they were supposed to exercise their authority by driving God’s enemies from God’s garden (Gen. 2:15–17). Yet, Adam chose to obey the devil rather than God and rebelled against his King (Gen. 3:1–6). Sin and misery entered the world because of Adam’s rebellion, breaking the relationship between God and creation.
Adam and his posterity were now in bondage to sin and estranged from God (Isa. 59:2; John 8:34). Adam and Eve felt ashamed when their eyes were opened and they saw their nakedness, but their nakedness was not the problem. Covering their nakedness with fig leaves couldn’t solve the real problem of Adam and Eve’s guilt (Gen. 3:8–13). God’s righteous punishment affected not only all humanity but also the entire world:
And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:17–19)
Terrorism, injustice, immorality, human oppression, pain, death, and all other evils are corruptions of a world that God made very good (Gen. 1:31). Because of Adam’s rebellion, we are all sinners who have fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). Hurricanes, disease, pestilence, and famine are just some of the trials we face in everyday life that tell us the world is broken—just like we are.
Sometimes Christians tell unbelievers that they need a personal relationship with Jesus. The fact is that everyone has a relationship with God. Apart from Christ, this relationship is broken and needs restoration. In his love and mercy, God did not leave us in a state of sin and misery with no hope. Instead, God sent his Son on a rescue mission to redeem all who trust in Christ alone as their savior.
Even though the world is broken now, God will not leave it that way forever. He is patiently waiting, “not willing for any to perish but all to come to repentance.” There will come a day for God’s people when this earth will pass away and there will be a new heaven and earth. They will dwell with God and “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). Christians can be confident that this happy day will come, because God has said it would be so and he always keeps his promises.