Why doesn’t God prevent innocent children from being harmed?


A man was baby sitting the seventeen month old son of his girlfriend when he struck and killed the infant for acting like a girl. The man is charged with first-degree manslaughter after he allegedly hit the boy “several times throughout his body with closed fists.” Apparently, he then grabbed the infant by the neck, according to police.

A 27-year-old resident is charged with drowning his two toddlers in scalding hot bath water. The County Medical Examiner’s lab determined the two children died from both drowning and the scalding hot water that burned off their skin.

These are two stories I picked out of thousand, like babies being kidnapped, raped, and then strangled to death, or kids accidentally drowning in swimming pools.

My question is how can anyone considered God a loving God, let alone actually being "love," when He sits by in full awareness and the full capability of intervening, but He does nothing while these little innocent babies are being killed. Or when a child falls into a pool, He does nothing but stands by and watch them suffer and die. Now if I personally had seen a baby fall in a pool drowning and sat by and did nothing I would be considered sick and cruel, and would even be sent to jail. But God does nothing and He gets the label of being merciful and loving? I find that absolutely ridiculous. Innocent children being tortured while the all-powerful loving God does nothing. Why does he not help?

But He intervenes for Sarah when the king is going to sleep with her thinking she's Abraham's sister. God sent a plague or a disease upon him so he couldn't do it. I guess that's more important than to intervene when little kids are getting raped and killed. So much for a loving God. If anything the God of Christianity sounds like the complete opposite of the "God of love."

Hope to hear from you soon. Hope you have a good response to change my mind and heart before your "loving God" sends me to hell to be tortured for eternity for not believing. In a book among hundreds of other books that claim they are the true religion and have the true God, for such a creative God that created the heavens, He sure had a poor communication system. When He can just speak as He supposedly spoke 2000 years ago saying this is My Son Jesus who am well pleased. But now we're just supposed to believe the Bible -- where they just chose what books seem to fit in and tossed the ones that weren't consistent with what they had already.


Tsk, tsk. Woke up grouchy today, didn't we?

I want to make it clear at the start that I can't convince you that God is real if you are determined to reject or not consider any evidence offered to you. If you are determined not to believe, then that is the choice you will live and die with. No one can change you against your will. However, if you honestly want to consider the issues you raised, then I'll do my best to clarify the situation.

From your question, it is clear you understand that sin does not originate with God; your question is why doesn't God prevent sin. To make your point more emotional, you pick out the sin of killing the innocent. "These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren" (Proverbs 6:16-19). I point out this passage to show that God does find the killing of children disgusting. What most wish to ignore it that God finds other sins that are generally accepted equally disgusting -- but that is because few people want to think of themselves as horrible sinners.

The reason innocent children die is not that God doesn't prevent it; it is because mankind turns its back on righteousness. "An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?" (Jeremiah 5:30-31).

If we ask why God doesn't prevent the murder of an innocent, then we must also address why God doesn't prevent other disgusting sins, like lying, plotting evil, or causing discord. For that matter, God's own Son was completely innocent, yet was allowed to die an extremely cruel death on the cross. Why didn't God intervene then?

Let me pause a moment and talk about why God intervened with Sarai. It wasn't that Sarai or Pharaoh were so good or so innocent that they had to be kept from evil. If such were true, then God would not have allowed Adam and Eve to have sinned in the garden. But since mankind's fall, we have all been guilty of sin (Romans 3:23), so it wasn't to prevent sin in general. I sure there were other women who also found themselves in difficult situations, yet God did not intervene for them either. The true reason is that God made a promise to Abram, "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing" (Genesis 12:2). Though not directly stated at the time, God later makes it clear that He included Sarai in that promise. God always keeps His Word: "Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us" (Hebrews 6:17-18). It had nothing to do with the sinful choices of men; it had everything to do with God seeing that His promise was kept. Pharaoh marrying Sarai would have prevented that promise from being fulfilled, so God intervened. You presented your case as an either-or proposition, but you were not comparing similar things.

But we are back to the question, why does God allow evil to exist? That is really the core of your question when you strip the emotionalism from it. God commands mankind to not sin, so we know that God doesn't approve of sin. Let's just take your example of those who kill innocent children. If God instantly destroyed every person who killed an innocent child, how many would be alive today? The number would have to include all the parents and doctors who aborted their children. Suddenly the numbers get quite large. But if those people were instantly destroyed, where is the mercy to allow them a chance to repent of their sins? "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). The children, at least, we do not have to worry about because they died in their innocence and are with the Lord.

Yet the murder of innocent children isn't the only sin, what if all sin was met with instant destruction? When the world would have ended with Adam and Eve. "Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding: Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to commit iniquity. For He repays man according to his work, and makes man to find a reward according to his way. Surely God will never do wickedly, nor will the Almighty pervert justice. Who gave Him charge over the earth? Or who appointed Him over the whole world? If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust" (Job 34:10-15). God wants to save people from their sins but to do that the punishment for sin must be delayed to give the sinner a chance to repent.

God tolerates the existence of sin for a time because it creates a distinction between those striving to do right (and sometimes failing) and those desiring to be wicked (see Romans 7:13). When we sin, we see the effect of evil on our lives. Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes and acknowledge that God's way is right. We are forced by our sins and the sins of others to acknowledge that God's laws are the best path for man to take.

In addition, the continued existence of sin forces man to be humble before our God. The mess that we make of our lives shows us that we need someone greater than ourselves to lift us up our of our own mire. "Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there. I said in my heart, "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals."" (Ecclesiastes 3:16-18).

Finally, when we fight against evil, the very battle strengthens us. "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12). What shape would I be in if I laid in bed all day? Many of us realize that we need regular exercise to stay fit. We could take a passive attitude and say, "Why bother?" Yet, we know that even when we don't fully enjoy it, exercise helps us to enjoy life more fully. Now move this idea to the spiritual plane. What kind of shape would I be in if I never exercised my spiritual muscles? Even though the choices are not always enjoyable, I need to learn to make good decisions to be more fit to serve God.

The very fact that you recognize that the murder of innocent children is wrong proves that you agree with God and Christianity that it ought to stop. People ought to give up their sins and live righteously. I think you do believe, but you don't like where that leads you, so you are making up excuses to claim unbelief. You search for things you don't understand and, therefore, claim that a lack of understanding at the moment is sufficient justification not to believe. If you end up in hell, it won't be because of God. He has given you ample evidence, which you have accepted in part, that He exists and that He stands for righteousness. If you end up in hell, it will only be because you chose to walk there. God will be just and give you what you deserve, despite His desire that it be different. "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off" (Romans 11:22).


Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Yes, I was very upset and emotional. I can't handle hearing stories about little children suffering such terrible deaths anymore.

I understand. You're saying God doesn't destroy people the moment they commit these kinds of sins because He wants to give them a chance to repent. That's fine, but what about little kids who just stumble into a pool and drown or kids who accidentally get left in cars and die of heat exhaustion? There's no evil person involved, just children who can be helped by an all-powerful and loving God but are left to suffer a terrible death and die. To me, this makes absolutely no sense and I don't think there's any reason or answer that should or would ever justify it.

I also don't understand if God really loves humans so much and He wants us all to be saved, all He would have to do is talk to us vocally every day or every once in a while and almost everyone would get saved. We would still have free will to reject him if we wanted to, so it wouldn't make us robots. If God was real I believe He would have done a much better job communicating with us, especially if getting it wrong would land you in hell for eternity. There are 1.5 billion people who believe in Islam, 900 million Hindus, 394 million Chinese traditional religion, 376 million Buddhists, 14 million Jews. I think this shows quite clearly that people are confused about what to believe and according to your religion all these people will go to hell if they die in those beliefs. All God has to do is speak and say Jesus is the way, but instead there are people in the world who believe that rats and cows are their ancestors from other lives and they feed them and allow starvation to happen in their country.

One last question how would you feel if at the end of your life or at the end of days that you find out Jesus was not a savior and perhaps Islam or Judaism was the true religion and now God sends you to hell because you worshiped an idol even though you did your very best? You loved God, you served Him with all your heart, you thought you were doing everything He wanted you to do and then you find out you're going to hell? I would expect you would be upset. But this is exactly what's going to happen to all these people who believe they are worshiping the true God.


It is true that sometimes a child dies despite the best efforts of his parents to protect him from harm. Yet, there are times when innocent children die because their parents neglected to do their duties. For example, why was a child left in a hot automobile? Why was a child allowed to play in a pool without supervision? Negligence isn't always the case, but sometimes the innocent suffer because those responsible are failing their duties. "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

The point then is made that sometimes children die because people are sinful. Some intentionally harm children, while others cause harm unintentionally through their neglect to do what is right.

Another avenue of sinful harm that is being overlooked is Satan. The book of Job tells us that Satan sometimes causes harm to increase the misery of someone he is trying to turn away from God. In Job 1:18-19, Satan caused a whirlwind to crush all of Job's children in an attempt to get Job to turn against God. But Job saw the reality. Whose fault was it that the children died? God or Satan? The lesson is that sometimes harm comes because we are being good and others don't want that.

One thing that appears to be missing is that you assume that a child is worse off for dying young. If this life was all that existed, perhaps that would be true. But the Bible teaches that this life is just a brief introduction to eternity. A child who dies is with the Father.

Could God prevent all accidental harm? Yes, but how would that help? I've seen children who are protected from harming themselves -- they think they are impervious to harm. They become wild and careless because nothing ever happens to them. God made the world with laws. Gravity exists. If you fall off a roof, you are going to get hurt. People can't breathe underwater. If you try, you will drown. God doesn't make exceptions to His laws except on rare occasions. So why are some of the world's laws so rough? It is because God understands that we need difficulties to challenge us to improve (James 1:2-4). "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). God allows sadness and hardships to come because these provide the training His children need to grow up. He isn't the source, and He limits what evil can do to a person so that they are not overwhelmed (I Corinthians 13:10), but He doesn't protect us from our own foolishness or from all harm.

Your realization that children need protecting ought to spur you to do something about the problems, and not to grumble about why someone else doesn't take care of the problems.

Sometimes harm comes simply by chance. "I returned and saw under the sun that - the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them" (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12). It is possible to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Followers of John Calvin don't like to face this particular passage. They attempt to oversimplify matters by declaring that God is so sovereign that everything is decided in advance -- but it isn't true.

The problem from man's point of view is that we only see the results. We don't know the reason behind them. In many situations, we don't know if a death was due to deliberate harm, accidental neglect, an attack by Satan, or if it was just something that happened.

It really isn't a question of whether God exists or not. Children still die no matter what your belief system is. The real problem is that you've decided that if God exists, then the world would not function as it does; therefore, you conclude that God doesn't exist because He doesn't meet your expectations.

I see the world as it is. I see the evidence of design and function that is far beyond random chance. I read a book that is clearly not the product of men because men don't write books like the Bible. I see that it tells me why the world is in its current mess and that guidelines are given to improve the world -- guidelines which always work when put into practice.

In regards to your idea that man would not sin if God made His presence known, the Old Testament shows that to be false. God walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve, yet they still sinned. God personally warned Cain that he was going the wrong way, yet he still killed his brother. Sadly, direct evidence of God's existence will not make people stay righteous.

I remember when I started working, I couldn't wait to become a manager because there were so many things I thought needed to be done better. I learned otherwise over the years. What I thought was better was more due to my ignorance of what was going on. You are doing the same thing with God. You think you know a better way to run the world and because God isn't doing it as you think it should be done, you conclude that God doesn't exist. "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (I Corinthians 1:20-21).

Yet God did as you stated: "And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:17). It is recorded for all men to read. Yet some do not pay attention.

There was another time God spoke and the reaction of the people is interesting: "'Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.' Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out" (John 12:27-31). Though it was one voice speaking, notice the variety of "explanations" for what was heard. When someone doesn't want to hear, they won't.

That is what I said in the first letter. I can't make you believe in God. The evidence is heavy and solid, but if you really have your mind made up that God cannot exist, you'll find all sorts of excuses as to why the obvious cannot be. This is what you are doing, you don't reason about whether God can or does exist; instead, you decide that He cannot exist because He doesn't meet your criteria for what you think God should be. What you don't see is that your criteria are arbitrary because the standard is yourself.

Yes, the world is full of odd ideas. What is the Christian's response? Teach them the truth. I have looked at the beliefs of many other religions. They are not sustainable. Mohammed did no miracles and gave no evidence that God was behind his teachings. His teachings have internal and external conflicts. It cannot be the truth. Judaism's purpose was to bring in the Christ by its own teachings -- the Christ I follow and whom the modern-day Jews rejected despite the evidence. Hinduism is just far eastern idolatry. I have no concerns about whether I'm following the truth. And so I teach it to others. Some accept others reject, but that is the nature of truth.

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:34-39).

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