The question of whether it is wrong to blame God is a complex one that requires careful examination of biblical principles. At a basic level, the Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all things and has ordained what comes to pass (Ephesians 1:11). Yet the Bible also teaches that God is not the author of evil and does not directly cause moral evil or sin (James 1:13-15). How do we reconcile these truths? Here is a 9000 word exploration of what the Bible says about blaming God.
God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
A key to understanding this issue is recognizing the interplay between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. God ordains all that comes to pass, yet He does so through secondary agents like human beings who make real choices for which they are held accountable (Genesis 50:20; Acts 2:23). This means that God is ultimately sovereign over evil and suffering, but He does not directly cause evil. Moral evil originates in the hearts of morally responsible creatures like Satan, demons, and humans who sin and rebel against God’s law (Mark 7:20-23).
An example of this interplay is seen in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Bible plainly teaches that God predestined and ordained Jesus’ death on the cross from before the foundation of the world (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28). Yet those who crucified Jesus did so voluntarily and are morally culpable for murdering the Son of God (Acts 2:23). God ordained it, but He did not make them sin. They freely chose to do evil.
Likewise, God is sovereign over natural disasters, diseases, accidents and the like, but He does not directly cause the death and suffering associated with such events. These often result from the outworking of natural laws associated with living in a fallen world tainted by sin (Romans 8:20-22), exacerbated by human choices like building in dangerous locations. God permits (and limits) natural evil, but does not originate it.
This principle helps explain how God can be sovereign over evil and suffering without being morally responsible for directly causing it. But how does it relate to the issue of blaming God?
It Is Wrong to Blame God for Moral Evil
When it comes to moral evil, the Bible is clear that God tempts no one to sin and cannot be blamed for human wickedness (James 1:13-15). To blame God for moral evil would be to charge Him with wrongdoing, to accuse Him of causing humans to rebel against His law. But Scripture soundly rejects such notions, testifying that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). God is holy, righteous, and altogether good.
Therefore, it is wrong to blame God for moral evil He did not cause. When people lie, cheat, steal, murder, slander, lust, and hate, the fault lies with them as morally responsible agents, not with God who forbid such sins. Humans alone are to blame for the moral evil they willingly commit. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).
Likewise, it is wrong to blame God for spiritual evil like false teaching, idolatry, occult practices, and the like. God condemns such evil and is not the source of doctrinal error or demonic deception which originate from “deceitful spirits” and the “teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1; 1 John 4:1-3). To blame God for that which He prohibits is to completely twist biblical revelation.
Natural Evil Poses Difficulties
When it comes to natural evil and suffering, the issue becomes more complex. Scripture celebrates God’s sovereignty over nature and affirms nothing happens apart from His sovereign will (Psalm 135:6-7; Proverbs 16:33). God sends the rain, makes the sun rise, brings storms, causes earthquakes, shuts wombs, strikes people with illness, and takes life according to His good purposes (1 Samuel 2:6-7; Job 37:6-13). “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up” (1 Samuel 2:6).
At the same time, the Bible distinguishes between God’s perfect will of decree whereby He unfailingly ordains whatsoever comes to pass, and His perfect will of command whereby He reveals His moral law that forbids murder, theft, etc. and calls all to repent and believe the gospel (Deuteronomy 29:29; Ezekiel 18:23,32; Matthew 7:21; 1 Timothy 2:4). This distinction helps explain how God is sovereign over sin and calamity without necessarily approving it or commanding humans to commit it. But it still leaves unanswered how we are to think about God’s relationship to natural evil.
For example, when a terrible storm wreaks havoc, is it legitimate to blame God since He sovereignly sent or permitted the storm? Or when a disabling disease shatters someone’s health, is God responsible in light of His sovereignty over sickness and death? Think also of infertility, birth defects, freak accidents that take life—is it proper to blame God for these afflictions since He ordained the events in accord with His unseen plans?
These questions reveal an understandable struggle to reconcile God’s sovereignty over suffering with His goodness in the face of heartrending pain and loss. Is God really intending evil against me when it feels like He is targeting me or neglecting to prevent my calamity? How can I avoid feeling bitter towards Him in those moments of distress?
God Has Good Purposes for Natural Evils
The Bible provides several anchors for faith when we face such vexing trials caused by the fallen world. First, Scripture reminds us that God has good purposes for natural evils even when He permits or causes them. He can use disease, disability, and disasters to bring about spiritual awakening, to discipline His people, and to draw the sufferer closer to Christ (Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 12:3-11; Revelation 2:22-23). God weaves both blessings and calamities into the stories of our lives to make us more like Christ and to ultimately bring Himself glory (Romans 8:28-29).
Joseph’s story provides a vivid example of this. His brothers sold him into slavery, which then led to false accusations and prison time. Yet Joseph could later say to his brothers who caused such terrible evil against him, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). Joseph trusted that though his brothers sinned against him, God never lost control and used their evil for a greater redemptive purpose.
We must remember that God uses the evil fallen world to accomplish His sovereign plan, which is overflowing with mercy and grace for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God promises to use every circumstance that befalls us, even those that arise from living in a fallen world, to conform us to Christ’s image if we trust and obey Him (Romans 8:29). To question His wisdom, complain about His methods, or yield to bitterness due to natural evil and suffering is to lose sight of His purposes of redemption.
God Identifies with Our Suffering
Second, the Bible provides deep comfort by revealing that God Himself identifies with our suffering in Christ. Jesus entered fully into this fallen world and suffered intensely on the cross, where He was punished by God as a substitute for sinners (Isaiah 53:4-5; Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). Therefore, He completely identifies with all who suffer the afflictions common to humanity (Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15-16). The book of Hebrews powerfully captures this truth:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Jesus experienced human pain, grief, rejection, injustice, hunger, and ultimately God’s wrath on the cross. He fully understands our sufferings in this fallen world. When affliction tempts us to think God has forgotten, doesn’t care, or is against us, remember Christ bore God’s wrath in our place as a suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:6). This proves beyond all doubt the Father’s compassion through the Son who suffered and died that we might live eternally.
Eternal Perspective Dilutes Pain’s Bitterness
Third, keeping an eternal perspective dilutes the bitterness of pain in a fallen world. As Paul says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Any suffering we experience now is light compared to the weight of glory to come for those who know Christ. The most excruciating agonies of this age are less than a pinprick compared to the everlasting ecstasy that awaits believers in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11).
When the eyes of faith behold “the glory that is to be revealed,” present afflictions lose their power to overwhelm (Romans 8:18). As one Puritan wrote, “These afflictions are but short and shall last but for a moment, whereas the glory shall be eternal.” This is why the apostles rejoiced amid persecution and why martyrs sang hymns while being burned alive. They saw Christ and the coming reward, making their momentary trials seem light.
God whispers to the hurting saint that though weeping may tarry for the night of this fallen age, joy comes with the morning light of the new creation. Then He will wipe away every tear and make all things new (Revelation 21:4-5). The curse will be reversed, and “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). On that day, we will see God’s purposes clearly and praise Him for the merciful wisdom of His plan.
Maintaining Right Perspectives of God
In summary, how can we avoid wrong attitudes toward God when we experience affliction from natural evil while living in a fallen world? The Bible gives us perspective:
- Remember God’s sovereignty does not make Him the author of evil.
- Recognize that moral evil springs from the human heart, not God.
- Acknowledge that God works through natural evil for redemptive purposes.
- Cling to Christ who supremely identifies with human suffering.
- Keep an eternal perspective that outweighs present afflictions.
God sometimes permits Satan’s limited havoc, disciplines His children, and arranges sufferings for their refinement. But He never inflicts out of capricious cruelty or neglects out of cold indifference. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). The cross guarantees God will use all suffering to make us like Jesus when we trust Him. Cling to this gospel hope amid adversity.
Additionally, in times of pain and confusion it can be helpful to pour out our hearts to God in prayer. The Psalms are filled with examples of honestly asking God “Why?” while voicing pain and grief. God can handle our tears, doubts, and passionate prayers as we wrestle with our own finitude. What’s most important is humbly seeking God’s face, asking Him for grace to trust His purposes when we cannot yet see. The Lord draws near to the brokenhearted who seek His face and is faithful to provide strength to endure.
By keeping proper biblical perspectives, yet boldly asking God for help amid suffering, the embittering sorrow of affliction gradually gives way to the peace of trusting God’s good plan. Though hardship remains profoundly painful, it loses its power to undermine faith and hope. The believer slowly gains conviction that these light and momentary trials are achieving for us an eternal glory that vastly outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17).
May God grant us grace to trust Him through tearful nights until joy comes in the morning when all sickness, pain, injustice and death will flee away. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!