How can God allow this?

The big problem: If God loved his children, he wouldn’t allow us to suffer war, disease, depression, poverty, starvation, etc. A “loving” father wouldn’t do that to his children.

I often hear this argument as a reasonable justification for agnosticism and atheism: At any given point in time, someone in place is starving while in another friends are going out to celebrate someone’s pay raise. How can we live with this? How can God allow this?

Whenever I think about this difficult question, two things come to mind:
1. Free Agency
2. Resurrection

1. Our freedom to choose is something God would never take away from us, though He definitely has the power to do so. Many of the ills of the world are caused by choices of individuals, leaders, etc. Abuse, for example, is one way one person can strip another’s freedom. God has given all of us free agency so that we are in charge of our mortal journey, but it certainly does not guarantee perfect happiness.

2. Our bodies are frail. They experience all kinds of problems, some of which are more painful than others. Resurrection, my friends, is a gift wrapped with limitless mercy, love and tenderness from our loving God. It is the very palpable love of God that many question the existence of.

One day, long after we’ve died, we will all be reunited with our bodies. We will rise again for eternity, but this time there will be no disease, depression, grief, mental or physical impairments, war, abuse…

Instead, we will hear the babbling of insignificant creeks with new awareness; we will hug our loved ones and feel their physical warmth; we will look down and wiggle our fingers and toes; we will never have the desire to hate ourselves or even end our lives. Death will be gone.

What gifts! What loving concessions! God allows us to earn this ultimate award by enduring mortality to the best of our abilities and knowledge. Personally, I’m looking forward to a time that I can be without depression, harmful compulsions, or frustration that my body – heaven forbid – is not “perfect” enough to be on a fashion magazine cover.

While life is no walk in the park, it is a time to get well-acquainted with both misery and joy and, though we may not have control over our mortal circumstances, we are free to choose which we want to live with after mortality.

Heavenly Father has provided us a way to get back to Him. He does not give us commandments without giving us help to keep them.

9 thoughts on “How can God allow this?

  1. Brigham

    It is definitely one of the tough questions to grapple with. I guess it’s difficult to understand that the alternative to all the suffering that free will and mortality bring is even worse.

  2. Melanie 1

    I love that you bring up with topic. I have found, most recently, in my career, that I grown the most when working on a case that has been emotionally difficult. I absolutely LOVE this quote by Orson F. Whitney “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education…builds up our character, purifies our hearts, expands our souls and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called children of God.”

  3. Natalie

    Truly beautiful. You bring such an interesting perspective to this age-old question. This isn’t one I’ve ever had to answer–this shall now be my de facto go to!

    Your last sentence about God giving us help to keep his commandments. Which ones have been most beneficial to you and why?

  4. Teppo

    Thanks a lot Hayley, good job on a challenging topic! I was wondering, why do you feel that our ability to choose is so important that God does not want to restrict it?

  5. Huesos

    well, how an a god allow the taking of other humans god given wrights?
    if its a we have the power to overturn god’s free will by ourselves doesn’t that make a problem? is like saying that a criminal can overturn the law if the government will pay the damages to the victims. that doesn’t make it nor just, nor a responsible way for a god to “manage” the ways in witch we live.

    second, arent we equal? why does someone has more power that another one? why do people live easier lives while others suffer horrible ways? how can a god allow that? if he gives the chance to anyone to manage their lives freely as they want shouldn’t we start our lives at a fixed amount, or not fixed, but the same amount of easiness?

    third, what is “wrong” in our lives? per example: killing is wrong, we know it, but why?
    if you had the power to kill someone is in the process of killing thousands who you kill him to save all those persons? is that wrong?
    we classify wrong or good according to what is the best for society. lets put another example, your in power of pushing a switch that will kill or a pregnant mother or three grown men, if you do nothing all of them will be killed, which decision is wright?

    and last, fourth. resurrection. why do we have to pass for an “imperfect life to get to the perfect one? to pick the righteous individuals?
    doesn’t god know already? why cannot we all start on a perfect life of love and happiness from the beggining. when nobody suffers and there is no situation in witch we have to choose the best answers to situations, because everything is already perfect?

    Huesos out. 🙂

  6. Hayley


    You bring up some really good points. And thanks for sharing. Seriously. We are all equal – you’re totally right; we all have absolute freedom to make decisions. Some decisions affect others in a bad way, even if by accident.

    For example, I totally fell off my bike today to avoid an old man that’d walked into the street without looking. My knee’s hurting and swollen and my phone is smashed. Had he been looking, this wouldn’t have happened. I see little “right” or “wrong” in this situation. It happened, and now I have to deal with the consequences. A pack of nice and some meds, and no problem.

    But what about murder? Rape? Fatal car accidents? War? Millions of people suffer from the effects of these detriments. This isn’t just falling off a bike. This is lives being destroyed and hopes being dashed. Which begs the question once again: Why would a loving God allow this?

    I can think of no greater love than to allow us the freedom of choice. That is the ultimate equality. Despite varying circumstances – to the extreme in many cases, I would be incredibly upset if my power to choose were taken from me by deity. Like…really mad. I do get angry if other peoples’ choices impede on my freedom and life, but I’d not be a happy camper if everything were laid out for me without any pain or troubles. I wouldn’t be able to struggle and grow.

    It comes down to a few philosophies: God does not exist because the cruelty of man proves it so. Fair enough. On the other hand, God does exist and gives us god-given freedoms (different from “rights”), and because of this, we are going to suffer. Suffer, yes. Learn and grow, yes. Meet awesome people from Venezuela, yes. And have the chance to be resurrected (a gift for ALL – no matter what that person did in life.)

    Thanks again, yo.

  7. Huesos

    Damn… my identity has been revealed…

    then it begs the question of the perfect tree. a perfect tree gives perfect fruits, otherwise it wouldn’t be perfect. lets say the “tree” gives the ability to the “fruit” to grow in anything that they want, doesn’t the result, invariable from what they choose, should be perfect too?

    And the loving parent question. If a loving parent gives the same gift to his two son, but the elder stoles his brothers. what do the father do? permits the action and then takes the elder son out of the will? or returns the present to his rightful owner, teaching both sons a lesson?

    shit i’m getting to passionate about this…

    the page where my blog was was terminated…
    i might start a new one soon!

  8. Anie J. Haven

    In response to your questions, “doesn’t god know already? why cannot we all start on a perfect life of love and happiness from the beggining. when nobody suffers and there is no situation in witch we have to choose the best answers to situations, because everything is already perfect?” God does know, but we don’t. That is what the purpose of our life on earth is: to learn, to grow, and to understand. God has given us a great gift in this. If we were all perfect from the beginning, we would never experience sadness, never know fear, and never make mistakes. It sounds good until you consider there is no joy without sorrow, no courage without fear, and no wisdom without trial and error. We would never learn to be thankful, forgiving, and tolerant. We would never learn how to love unconditionally. I’ve suffered depression for most of my life, dealt with severe illness, and watched friends die. It has not been an easy road, but I am who I am today because of it: strong, appreciative, loving, empathetic, and strong in my faith. It brings God great sorrow to allow the things that He does, but He can see further than we can–He knows the lessons and values we learn from them. This is where faith plays its part: the belief that this life is not all there is. That if we endure with patience and appreciate the blessings we do have (because no matter how hard your life may be, you do have blessings), we will be able to be with our Father again. We will be able to live in joy and love–and understand them for what they truly are.

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