All my life, I’ve heard this question. It’s used by those that don’t believe in God to justify their disbelief in a good God. Surely if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then He wouldn’t just wipe out good people with a tornado, right? This is a natural human reaction to suffering, but it’s bastardization of who God really is. God created us in His image, and wants all of us to love Him.
He did not make us robots, because by definition, love can’t be programmed or coerced. What makes it confusing is that He knows everything that will ever happen. So why even bother making Ted Bundy? Christians frequently throw out the “everything happens for a reason” platitude, which isn’t even Biblical, to explain it. Sometimes the reason something happens is that a human being has decided to be an asshole. That’s not a very comforting reason, but it is THE reason. God sent Jesus to die for all of our sins. That includes Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy had free will to choose to follow God or not follow God. The fact that God knew what his choice would be does not mean that Ted didn’t have the choice.
That’s a difficult paradox for us to understand, because in our minds, if God knows in advance, he should just only create people he knows will choose Him. But that’s not love. You’ve gone right back to a scenario where God has simply constructed paradise on Earth. There’s a second aspect to the bad things happening to good people argument. What is a good person? Am I a good person if I follow the 10 commandments, go to church, and pay my taxes? Or am I a sinner just like everyone else on Earth? God doesn’t assign degrees to sin, and when we do, it leads to silly arguments like wondering why bad things happen to good people. A) there are no good people, and B) god doesn’t MAKE bad things happen regardless. Bad things happen for a bunch of reasons.
People are killed by weather because they live where deadly climatic events happen. Nobody’s ever died from a tornado or a hurricane in Arizona. Most bad things that happen in the world are at the hands of other people. Some of those are purposeful, some are accidental. But none are at the hand of God. People die from sickness. Did God make them sick? Does God use sickness as an instructional or disciplinary tool? Or is sickness A) a normal part of life with an imperfect body, or B) a result of crappy decisions like what to eat and what activities to engage in, or C) a 1:1 result of doing something you shouldn’t be doing? People make choices.
For example, we eat garbage and way too much of it. If all you eat is grease, salt, and sugar, you cannot blame God when you have a heart attack, stroke, or diabetes. If you shoot drugs or engage in promiscuous sex, you cannot blame God when you get Hep C or HIV. If you do skateboard or BMX tricks, you cannot blame God when you break your neck. People are hurt or killed by other people’s choices.
My unborn but full-term baby was killed in 1998 by a drunk driver. The person driving drunk chose to drive drunk. God didn’t make him drink or drive. He did that himself. Sadly his choice affected others. That’s what happens when there are 6 billion people all making bad choices on a daily basis.
Bad things don’t happen to good people. Bad things happen and there are no good people.