If God exists and is good, why do bad things happen?

This is the long-promised post on this topic.  One of the things I noticed is that after reading the Bible without pre-conceived ideas, it became much clearer to me why bad things still happen when God exists and is good.  It all comes down to free will.  God created everything, all the angels, including Satan.  God also created us.  He wanted his creations to have free will and not be automatons.  This means he wants us to follow him, but he will not force us to do so.  Therefore, if everyone has free will then they can take actions which might be harmful to others.  So for instance, someone could steal from someone else.  Obviously, this is not what God wants us to do.  He could stop it from happening every time, but if he did, he would be taking away our free will. 

So God gave us free willl, but some people will use it to do bad things.  So this is why bad things happen.

As a little girl, I sometimes wished that God would just stop all the bad things in the world from happening.  I knew he was powerful enough to do it, but I was frustrated as to why he wouldn't do it.  Now I know that my childish wish for stopping all the bad things was just as equivalent to wishing that none of us had free will.

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