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Question

How can God be all loving when he contradicts his own commandments, the primary one being "do not kill"? If he is all powerful and good, why doesn't he stop evil?

Answer

Thank you so much for asking this important question. We would need to correct one mistake in your question, in assuming that the primary commandment is 'do not kill'. Jesus actually addressed this matter Himself:

One of the scribes...asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)

With that in mind, we can talk about God taking life.

It is estimated that there are an average of 1.5 deaths every second of every day. Death is unavoidable and it is always an enemy of humanity because it was not God's original plan. In the book of Genesis it is made clear that human life was created without sin and with the potential to live forever as long as that remained the case (Genesis chapters 1-3). God warned that sinning would lead to death (Genesis 2:16-17), but our first parents nevertheless disobeyed Him. At that moment they died spiritually, and eventually they died physically as well. We have inherited this 'fallen' nature and are under the same sentence of death, not because God is cruel but because death is a consequence of sin.

You suggest that God cannot be both sovereign and good if He allows suffering. However, that is to leave out of consideration several things:

First, death is a consequence of choosing sin, something we have all done. We can't then complain that death is a part of life. To demand from God that we escape death is as foolish as demanding that we can play with fire and not get burned.

Second, much of what we hold God responsible for is in fact the responsibility of people doing evil things. For example, the rich and powerful in this world commonly practise injustice and pursue greed, which leads to the few having plenty and the many having little or nothing. They are usually the ones who suffer in natural disasters because they couldn't afford to live in a safer place than in a floodplain or avoid living on a geological fault line.

Third, we don't know what God knows. It is entirely possible that He allows one set of disastrous events in order to avoid what would be much worse, or to bring about something much better that could not happen without the disaster happening first.

Most basic of all, in God's eyes our welfare is best served by turning to Him for eternal life. Suffering may teach us to do that. After natural disasters, for example, people have often turned to God in large numbers. I am not saying that God doesn't care about our material lives at all, but only that we may care about them too much; suffering can change that. 'Pain is God's megaphone' said the Christian writer C. S. Lewis.

If you have not done this before, to submit your life to God, then I encourage you to do so. Jesus came to earth to die on the cross for you, to pay the price for your sin. He rose from the dead to show his power over the grave. By asking for forgiveness from your sin and placing your trust in him, you can have God with you as a helper and encourager throughout the difficult times in life and know that you will be with him in heaven for eternity, free from suffering, when you die. 

In summary, we cannot blame God for things we have chosen for ourselves, or for what evil people have done to cause suffering. We don't know everything about a situation either, and so we may blame God for cruelty when in fact He is working His divine purpose. It all depends on who God is and we can only find out about that from His own revelation in the Bible. I encourage you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. 

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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