The Reason for Human Suffering and Death

The Gospel Truth Series

Mission Boulevard Baptist Church, 2006 Mission Boulevard, Fayetteville, Arkansas  72703

(479) 442-2565

Copyright  1997 Patrick Robert Briney

Scripture quotations and answers are  from the King James Version of the Bible.



Why is there suffering and death in the world?


Human suffering, sorrow, grief, pain, misery, and death are the result of sin.  Sin causes people to reject the wisdom and advice of God to be wise, unselfish, loving, and helpful.  As a result, people hurt, cheat, and kill each other.  People allow selfishness to guide their decisions, and others are predictably hurt.  People lie and gossip to gain advantage over others.  Greedy, unscrupulous leaders exempt themselves from unfair laws designed to control and rob from those they rule over.  Starvation and poverty in our world of abundant food and materialism are the result of laziness, greed, hatred, and lack of charity.  Every pain and sorrow we inflict on each other is because of sin.  We cause suffering, and we experience suffering because of sin.  Further, natural disasters such as droughts, hurricanes, and diseases are the result of sin.  Many people fail to realize that because of sin, God removes Himself from our presence and refuses to protect us.  Thus, because of sin, we have lost our protector and have made ourselves vulnerable to and the victims of every danger in the world.  We have chosen sin instead of God. Therefore, we live in a world of sorrow and death instead of continual joy and life.  Nonetheless, things could be even worse.  Fortunately, God is mercifully provides some protection so that we can learn about sin without having to endure its full horror.



What are some consequences of sin?


Psalm 66:18  _______________              Romans 8:22 _______________

Psalm 32:10  _______________              Romans 1:21 _______________

Genesis 3:17 _______________              Romans 6:23 _______________

Romans 5:12 _______________              Isaiah 13:11   _______________



If God is loving and compassionate, how can He allow people to suffer?


God has honored us with the ability to make our own decisions.  He has given us the freedom to choose how we will live and think.  By sovereign decree, He has chosen not to force His will upon us.  However, the freedom to make our own decisions includes the responsibility to accept the consequences of our decisions.  Allowing us to live in a world of our own choosing with all of the bad, as well as good, consequences is very loving on Godís part because this allows us to discover and understand how bad sin is.  If God were to protect us from the consequences of sin, He would be denying us the experience and knowledge that sin is a bad choice.  God would be guilty of deceiving us.  Thus, by revealing to us the consequences of sin, human suffering is the triumph of truth over deception and righteousness over unrighteousness as far as God is concerned.  Human suffering convinces rational people that sin is the wrong way to live because it results in misery and death.  On the other hand, choosing to live for God is the right choice because of the promise of peace and life.  The misery and death that comes with sin are not worth the small pleasures it offers.


In the following verses, who made the decision to accept or reject God?

Joshua 24:15 ___________           Proverbs 1:24-30      _________

Matthew 23:37           ___________           Deuteronomy 30:19  __________


Who decides whether you choose to accept or reject God?


In the following verses, who was responsible for the decisions made?

Job 19:4                     ___________           Proverbs 9:12            __________

Revelation 20:13-15 _______________



Would the world be different without sin?


Yes, the world would be safe, peaceful, orderly, and in perfect balance.  Without the presence of sin, Godís purpose and design for creation would be fulfilled. All things would conform to His laws of order and design. Everything in the world would be perfect in every way.  There would be no death, pain, sorrow, or misery of any kind.  This is what heaven is like because there is no sin there.


What is a sinless world like where everyone lives for God (Revelation 21:1-4)?



What is sin?


Sin includes any behavior, words, or thoughts that are evil or contrary to the will of God.  Choosing to maliciously hurt yourself or others is sin because Godís desire is to protect you and keep you safe.  Stealing from others is sin because Godís desire is to unselfishly give and to be helpful.  Cheating and dishonesty are sins because God is truth.  Immorality and drunkenness are sins because God is pure, sober, and righteous.  Failing to have and to maintain a relationship with God is sin because Godís desire is to be your friend.  Rejecting God, cursing Him, or denying Him is sin because He is Lord of all creation and worthy of honor and respect.  Being guilty of not loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind is sin because He said doing so is the first and great commandment.  There are certainly more sins that could be listed, but sin is more than just what you do or fail to do. More importantly, it includes any desire or inclination that is contrary to Godí desires.  The fact that you are even capable of doing wrong is evidence that you are by nature sinful.  This kind of sin is a part of your soul.  It means that sins you do are only manifestations of what you are.  This is a serious problem even if you change what you do, there is no way you can change what you are.


What is sin according to the following verses?

1 John 3:4                  __________  1 John 5:17                ___________

Proverbs 24:9            ___________           Matthew 5:21-22       __________

James 4:17                ___________           Romans 14:23           __________



How does sin cause death?


Sin is a violation of Godís will, and when you sin, you are choosing to reject Him.  Because God is the sustainer of life and, in fact, is the source of life; when you sin, you die.  This death is spiritual death.  Without a relationship with God, your soul is dead.



Who is life (John 14:6)?


What must you have in order to be alive spiritually (1 John 5:12)?


How does God respond to sin (Isaiah 59:2)?


What happens when you sin (Proverbs 8:36 and 11:19)?


Why do you die spiritually when you sin (1 John 5:12)?


How is spiritual death different from physical death?


Physical death occurs when your body quits functioning:  no more breathing, thinking, feeling, etc.  Spiritual death is a separation from God, but your soul continues to think, remember, feel, and to be aware.  Your soul will continue to exist forever.  Living souls spend eternity in heaven with God.  Dead souls continue to exist in hell separated from God.


What happens to souls after physical death (Daniel 12:2)?


What does a living soul experience after physical death (Revelation 22:5)?


What does a dead soul experience after physical death (Luke 16:22-24)?


What is hell like?


Hell is your worst nightmare.  Everyone who rejects God is gathered together in hell.  Because God is not present in hell, chaos, pain, suffering, and misery are the inevitable experiences.  Rebellion and torture are the only laws in hell.  Everyone there will be dominated by Satan and his demons.  In addition, hell is said to be a lake burning with fire and brimstone.  Obviously, the only reason earth, at present, is not this bad is because God is offering partial protection.  The misery suffered now is nothing compared to what hell is like.  Those who understand realize that suffering a little now to learn about their need for God is far better than suffering in hell forever.



Read Revelation 21:8 and answer the following questions:


1.      What is hell like?


2.      Who will be in hell?


3.      Have you ever told a lie?


Read Mark 9:43-48 and answer the following questions:


1.      What is hell like?


2.      What advice does Jesus give?


Why must spiritual death be forever?


God is holy and pure.  He cannot have anything to do with sin.  He cannot condone it, tolerate it, or stand to be in its presence.  Thus, when you choose to sin, God will reject any relationship with you.  This eternal separation is also just and fair.  God is just in everything He does, and He demands that every wrong be made right with a punishment that is equivalent to the wrong that has been done.  Anything less would be unjust.  Because sin is a rejection of Him and a violation of what is right, He is deeply offended.  In fact, He is offended to an infinite degree because He is an eternal God who feels and responds to an infinite degree.  The only way to make right an infinite offense is to endure an infinite punishment.  Therefore, spiritual death is forever.


What three qualities does Jeremiah 9:24 ascribe to God?


How does God judge (Romans 2:2)?


Read Leviticus 24:19-20 and answer the following questions:


1.      What does it mean to be just?


2.      What kind of punishment equals an infinite crime?



Why is spiritual death so horrible?


From a human perspective, it is hard to imagine that sin would deserve such harsh punishment.  However, most fail to understand just how bad sin is from Godís perspective.  Sin is a horrible violation against God and His creation.  It destroys everything that is good.  This is why God cannot allow sin into heaven.  Sin causes suffering and death.  Sin is the reason for the horror of hell.


What are you doing when you reject God and choose to sin against Him?

Psalm 74:18              ___________           Isaiah 65:7                 __________


Why do people end up in hell?

Mark 3:29                   ___________           Revelation 21:8         __________

Ezekiel 18:4               ____________



Some think, ďI admit that I am not perfect, but I have not done anything bad enough to be condemned.Ē


There is no sin in heaven.  God cannot stand to look at sin, much less allow it in His presence in heaven.  Only those who are righteous and sinless are allowed into heaven.  Anything less than perfection is unacceptable.  This is bad news because by these standards, no one is good enough.  You might think that you are not very bad in your own eyes and compared to other people.  But, remember, God is your judge, not you and not others.


What is heaven like (2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:27)?


Why is there no sin in heaven (Habbakuk 1:13)?


Who is considered righteous and good (Romans 3:10-12)?


Is there anyone not guilty of sin (Romans 3:23)?


What is in the heart of man (Matthew 15:19 and Mark 7:21-23)?



Does God have to punish sin?


Everyone would like to think that, somehow, a loving, merciful God will allow sin to go unpunished.  However, to ignore the punishment of sin would require that God be unjust.  He cannot do this.  Itís against His nature to do wrong.


How does God feel about being unjust (Proverbs 29:27)?


What will God definitely do (Ecclesiastes 11:9)?


Will God allow sin to go unpunished (Proverbs 11:21)?



Read Zephaniah 3:5 and 1 John 3:5 to answer the following questions:


1.      Can God be unjust and not punish sin?


2.      Why must God punish sin?


Is it possible to hide from God (Job 34:22)?



What can I do to avoid spiritual death and condemnation?


There is nothing you can do.  This may sound shocking, but, the truth is, the sins that you have already committed have sealed your fate.  No amount of good deeds can change the wrong that has been done.  The law of sin and death mentioned in the Bible says that if you sin, you will die.  There in nothing you can do for yourself.  A miracle is needed at this point to save you.  You are at the mercy of God.


What does God think of your efforts to do right (Isaiah 64:6)?


What happens to those who rely on their good works to please God (Matthew 7:21-23)?


What is your heart like (Jeremiah 17:9)?


Why does God not think much of your works (1 Samuel 16:7)?



Does God want to condemn me?


God has no pleasure in condemning anyone to hell.  He does not want to separate Himself from your fellowship.  But, He cannot compromise who He is and condone sin of any kind.  This is why God warns you to reject sin and to accept Him.  He gives you fair warning of what your choices will lead to.  He allows you to see the consequences of sin, and He tells you about condemnation, but He will not make your choice for you.  You have the freedom to choose how to live:  in sin or in Christ.  The choice is yours and so is the responsibility.


What does God not have pleasure in (Ezekiel 33:11)?


What has God done to warn you of His judgment?

Luke 19:10     ___________           1 Corinthians 1:23-24           __________

John 12:46     ______________     2 Chronicles 36:15               __________

Romans 2:15 __________  Romans 1:18-21                   ___________



Are you saying that nothing can save me from condemnation?


Your relationship with God is governed by the law of sin and death.  Under this law, there is no hope of ever reaching heaven.  There is nothing you can do to save yourself, and this is the bad news.  Fortunately, God is merciful and loving as well as just and righteous.  He has a plan to save you.  Because you cannot do anything to save yourself, He will have to do this for you.  To discover Godís plan for salvation and His good news for humanity, continue studying The Gospel Truth Series with the next booklet titled, God Is the Answer.


How are you not justified in the eyes of God (Galatians 2:16)?


How can you be freed from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2)?


Why does God want to help you (John 3:16)?



Contact the Mission Boulevard Baptist Church or the Collegiate Discipleship Ministry and request more Bible study materials. If you have recently been saved, request the booklets, Facts for New Christians and Follow-up Lessons for Spiritual Growth.  You will discover that the Christian life is the very best thing that could ever happen to you.

Want to learn more about the Gospel message of Jesus Christ? Check out The Gospel Truth Series below!


The Gospel Truth Series

1.        Knowing God Personally

2.        Designed to be Spiritual

3.        The Reason for Human Suffering and Death

4.        God Is the Answer

5.        You Can Be Saved

6.        The Born Again Experience


Mission Blvd. Baptist Church

2006 Mission Blvd., Fayetteville, AR 72702