Sovereignty, Sin and Suffering

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People often say, that—since God is sovereign over all events—then he could prevent all the sin, misery, and suffering in the world. This is a common line of argument. However, it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of sin, and of the reason for much of the suffering that we see around us. Sin, suffering and death are related to the Fall. They exist in this world only because of Adam’s apostasy. This apostasy, or falling away from original righteousness, meant that the guilt and pollution of Adam’s sin was conveyed to all his descendants. Had Adam remained in his integrity and obedience, it is likely that God would have confirmed him—and all mankind—in this state of righteousness. Then, sin, suffering, and death would not have existed.

We must remember that death is the wages of sin. We must also remember that death includes spiritual death, as well as physical death and eternal death. We must understand, too, that—when the Bible speaks of spiritual death—it is speaking of a corruption of nature that affects the whole person and personality in body and soul (total depravity). Spiritual death involves alienation from God in this life, with all its just punishments. This punishment includes exposure to sin, together with all the attendant miseries that our sinful nature brings upon us. This is part of the penalty that fallen mankind pays for sin—original sin, and personal sin.

All Things Work Together for Good

We may not understand all that happens in the counsels of God, or why he does certain things, or permits some things to happen in our lives or in the lives of those we love. Some things are beyond our comprehension, but they are never beyond the Lord’s sovereign purposes. Nor is the everlasting love and compassion of God unable to sustain us in the times of our severest trials and greatest need. To those who love God—to those who are the called according to his purpose—all things work together for good.

As the Scripture says:

Romans 8:28-29

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (See v.30)

[Excerpt from Bible Truths Explained: The Sovereignty of God. To read or download the full version of this doctrinal study, see under the Bible Doctrine menu tab above.]


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