Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why is there so much hatred? Why is there so much evil? It can be summed up in one word: sin. We were born with a nature to do wrong. That is why it’s ridiculous when you hear some people say the answer lies within.
The problem lies within. The Bible says the heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV). If you believe that humanity is basically good, then you must be having a hard time right now as you look at what humanity is capable of. It’s astonishing how wicked humanity can be.
It all comes back to the way we were born, with the nature we have inside. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. There was a man put in that garden whose name was Adam.
He was given a free will to choose right or wrong and the freedom to obey or disobey God’s commands. And he made the wrong choice. He rejected God’s way and went his own way instead.
Many, if not most, of the problems in our culture today can be directly traced to our refusal to live God’s way. We disobey his commandments. We disregard the guidelines he has given us to live healthy and productive lives. We kill. We steal. We lie. We commit adultery. We do whatever we want if it will advance our interests.
So when we look at a society falling apart at the seams, let’s not shake an accusing fist at our Creator and say that he has somehow botched this. It is because of our rejection of the standards our Creator has given us that we are seeing the problems in our world today.
The history of the human race has been the story of our futile efforts to gain back the position that was lost by Adam’s fall.
The Bible says that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. … One trespass resulted in condemnation for all people” (Romans 5:12, 18, NIV).
But why should we suffer because of something someone else has done? The truth is, if you or I had been in the Garden of Eden, we would have done the same thing. Every day we are presented with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of choices to do right or wrong, to do good or evil.
Do you ever choose to do wrong? Of course you do. This simply indicates that you would have done the same thing – because the same nature is in you. In fact, there isn’t a single day that we don’t face the same test that was set before Adam.
The same two paths that God set before Adam have been set before us today: life or death, blessings or curses (see Deuteronomy 30:19). We are still free to choose life or death, blessings or curses. We still have the choice of good or evil.
The reason there is so much hatred in this world is that man chose, and continues to choose, to disobey God. We reap the miserable consequences because we are selfish, because we are prejudiced, and because we have wicked hearts. So let’s not blame God. The fault lies with us.
Like Adam, we were created to know and walk with God. And like Adam, we were made in the image of God with a conscience and the ability to clearly reason.
There are people today who claim that humans and animals are all equal. This is wrong, and it is not what the Bible teaches. Animals are not equal to people. I love animals. But they weren’t made to know God like we were.
They don’t have souls in the same sense that we do. God has placed human beings in a unique position of not only knowing him, but also of becoming like him. But sin has marred us.
Still, we have the ability to choose. We have the ability to know God and to have fellowship with him. He has created us with a void and an emptiness that only he can fill. Any attempt to fill it with something else will lead to futility.
Augustine said of God, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
The Bible records a time in Jesus’ ministry when he met a woman by a well in Samaria. She had a void in her life that she had tried to fill with men. She had been married five times and was living with a man at the time she encountered Jesus.
She probably was a very beautiful woman. And she probably had lived a hard life because she had been used and abused by men.
When she met Jesus, she was surprised that he, being a Jew, would even speak to a Samaritan woman. But Jesus began talking with her, and he said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst” (John 4:13-14, NIV).
She had no idea what Jesus was talking about. She thought he was referring to the well they were standing next to. But Jesus was talking about the deepest thirst in life.
We could write Jesus’ words that day over other wells in life, so to speak. We could write them over the well of success. We could write them over the well of possessions. We could write them over the well of pleasure.
It could be said of each one, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.” We never will get enough. We always will come up wanting more.
Yet if we can know the God who made us and come into a relationship with him, we will find the meaning of life – not by seeking happiness or trying to find fulfillment in and of itself, but by coming to know God and his plan and purpose for us.
The wonderful byproduct is that we become happy and fulfilled. Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).
When you get a new set of priorities, put God at the forefront of your life, and seek to live a life that is pleasing to God, you will find everything you are looking for. You will find fulfillment. You will find joy. And you will find peace.
Article originally posted here.