When the Bible says that no one is good, it’s comparing fallen humans to the greatness, power, and moral purity of God. This doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as a good human – when we compare ourselves to other humans it’s hard to escape that some of us are well-behaved and some of us are scoundrels. The trick in defining human goodness is to not confuse these two relative categories: compared to each other we are more or less good, but compared to God none of us are good at all. So, when we think about why bad things might happen to good people we have to insist, along with Scripture, that none of us actually deserves ultimate goodness, and this is primarily because by rebelling against the creator God we’ve willingly chosen to live in a world of evil on the chance that we can have personal power in that world, and we’ve rejected living in a world of goodness because that choice would entail giving up our personal power to God, a thought which horrifies us.

The problem of course, is that none of this takes away the sting of the evil that inevitably happens to us. And, unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t give a cognitively satisfying answer to this question. Instead, it insists that the solution isn’t a logical reason, but a person – specifically, the God who became a human being in order to walk with us through all the evil things that have ever or could ever happen, up to and including all death. So the main question is not why do bad things happen to us, but why bad things happen to God. And the answer must ultimately be because he loves us enough to suffer with us.


Aaron Mueller
Chuck Rathert