Opinions on faith and life

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

2002-01-01

By Dr. Norman Geisler

I. Is There an All-Perfect God?

What Kind of Life is This?

Until the premature death of his son from progeria (rapid aging), Rabbi Harold Kushner believed, as many do, that God was all-good and all-powerful. This tragic death caused a reexamination of these traditional beliefs and resulted in a best selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Using the book of Job as a background Rabbi Kushner suggests there are three things all of us would like to believe:

  1. God is all-powerful and causes everything that happens.
  2. God is just and fair, giving everyone what they deserve.
  3. Job is a good person.

As long as Job is healthy and happy one can believe in all three of these. But in view of Job’s righteous suffering Rabbi Kushner concludes we cannot hold both to 1 and 2. For no good person should be subjected to such terrible misfortunes as was Job.

What Kind of God is This?

What then is the solution to Job’s tragedy? Why do good people suffer such bad things? The Rabbi’s answer is that ’God wants the righteous to live peaceful, happy lives, but sometimes even He can’t bring that about’ (p. 43). Why? Because God Himself ’is not perfect’ (p. 148). If God were all-perfect the world would not be so imperfect as it obviously is. An imperfect world indicates an imperfect God.

Of course it is always possible that God would like to do better but that He is hampered by His limitations in power. As a matter of fact, says Kushner, ’There are some things God does not control’ (p. 45). Thus the world is out of whack because it is out of control. For Kushner this news is not necessarily all bad. For there ’is a sense of relief’ in coming to the conclusion that God is not all-powerful or all-perfect. For if this is so, then ’our misfortunes are none of His doing’ (p. 44). Thus Kushner insists: ’I can worship a God who hates suffering but cannot eliminate it, more easily than I can worship a God who chooses to make children suffer and die, for whatever exalted reason’ (p. 134).

II. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Bad Luck, Bad People, and Fixed Laws

Why then do bad things happen to good people? One thing the Rabbi is sure of is this: ’God does not cause our misfortunes.Some are caused by bad luck. Some are caused by bad people, and others are simply an inevitable consequence of our being human and being mortal, living in a world of inflexible natural laws’ (p. 134). But they are not ’punishments,’ and there is no ’grand design’ for our suffering (p. 134). We turn to God ’for help in overcoming it, precisely because we can tell ourselves that God is as outraged by it as we are’ (p. 134). For ’there is no reason for those particular people to be afflicted rather than the others. These events do not reflect God’s choices. They happen at random’ (p. 53). So we must learn to ’accept the idea that some things happen for no reason, that there is randomness in the universe’ (p. 46).

The 64,000 Dollar Question

In view of these conclusions Rabbi Kushner tackled the $64,000 question: Why did God not strike Hitler dead in 1939 and spare six million Jews? He answers: God was with the victims, and not with the murderers, and He does not control man’s choosing between good and evil (p. 84). In short, man is free and laws of nature are fixed. Hence, divine intervention is ruled out.

The Rabbi ’finds proof of God precisely in the fact that the laws of nature do not change’ (p. 57). Thus ’the unchanging character of these laws’ means that the ’laws of nature treat everyone alike. They do not make exceptions for good people or for useful people’ (p. 58). ’A bullet has no conscience; neither does not a malignant tumor or an automobile gone out of control’ (p. 58). So ’God does not reach down to interrupt the workings of laws of nature to protect the righteous from harm.’ As a result nature is morally blind and without values. It simply rolls along on its own laws, not concerned about who or what gets in the way (p. 59).

What Then Should Good Men Do?

What should our response be to innocent suffering for which there is no good purpose and over which God has no control? According to Rabbi Kushner, our response should be to ’forgive the world for not being perfect, to forgive God for not making a better world, to reach out to the people around us, and to go on living despite it all’ (p. 147).

Above all we must realize that ’bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any good reason.’ However, we can give them a meaning. We can redeem these tragedies from meaninglessness by imposing our meaning on them (p. 136). We must remember that ’God, who neither causes nor prevents tragedies, helps by inspiring people to help’ (p. 140). For instance, God shows His opposition to cancer and birth defects, not by eradicating them (this He cannot do), but by calling forth friends and neighbors to ease the burden caused by them (p. 140).

The Rabbi sees prayer, not as a means to invoke supernatural intervention, but as a way to overcome loneliness. For he believes we cannot ask God to change the laws of nature for our benefit or to make fatal conditions less fatal or to change the inevitable course of an illness (p. 116). Even when ’miracles’ do occur, Kushner insists that we should not think that our prayers contributed to their occurrence (pp. 116-117). So the primary purpose of prayer is ’not to put people in touch with God, but to put them in touch with one another’ (p. 119). In other words, prayer, if it is offered in the right way, simply redeems people from isolation (p. 121). Quoting Harry Golden’s charming story, Kushner concludes that Jews go to the synagogue for all kinds of reasons. Garfinkle, who is Orthodox, may go to talk to God, but his friend who is not may go to talk to Garfinkle (p. 122).

III. Is God a Hedonist?

Rabbi Kushner’s view rings a response chord in many suffering hearts. Maybe we should conclude after all that there is no perfect God in complete control of the world. Perhaps this is the most reasonable position.

Healthy, Wealthy, and Happy

Before we discard the traditional Jewish-Christian belief in an all-perfect God, let us examine the Rabbi’s reasoning more carefully. In fact, let us look at the assumptions on which it rests. First, let us notice that Kushner assumes a kind of universal hedonism. That is, he seems to believe that unless everyone is happy, God has not done His job properly.

But is God a Cosmic Hedonist? Is it His all-consuming preoccupation to make everyone happy all the time? Or does God desire other good things for His creatures as well? Futhermore, Kushner demands a specific kind of happy life as a condition for there being an all-good, all-powerful God, one that provides sufficient peace, prosperity, and good health for all. Of course this hedonistic desire is merely an assumption for which he offers no proof. Freud would call it an illusion, since it is based simply on a wish that it be so.

Does God Desire Comfort over Character?

Kushner does not seriously consider the possibility that God may be more interested in our character than in our comfort. He does not allow that God may be more concerned about our being morally good than in our simply being physically healthy. Perhaps God is not as hedonistic as we may like Him to be. God may desire our holiness more than our happiness. He may want us to be good, not simply to feel good. After all, the Scriptures do not say ’Be ye happy as I am happy,’ but ’Be ye holy as I am holy.’

Consider My Servant Job

Since Kushner uses Job as the example, let us ask Job about the purpose of suffering. In spite of his complete loss of health and wealth, Job cried out, ’The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’ (1:21). ’When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.’ (23:10). In short, Kushner’s views about Job’s dilemma do not accord with Job’s own words. For Job realized that the diamond of his character, formed under the pressure of adversity, more than compensated for the wealth he lost. He recognized that suffering, while taking away from his prosperity, added to his personal character which could not be taken away.

IV. Does the Rabbi Believe his Bible? Which God?

A careful reading of Rabbi Kushner’s book reveals that his argument against the all-powerful, all-perfect God is based on a rejection of the Bible. Rabbi Kushner’s reasoning goes like this:

  1. God is all-powerful and causes everything that happens.
  2. God is just and fair, giving everyone what they deserve.
  3. Job is a good person.
  4. Job did not get what he deserved.
  5. Therefore, either God is not all-powerful or else He is not all-just (or both).

Which Bible?

Now there is an assumption in the Rabbi’s argument which is contrary to the text of his own Bible. The statement in premise 4 is at odds with the biblical story of Job. For contrary to Kushner, Job did eventually get what Kushner feels he deserved. According to the biblical record, in the end Job was rewarded amply. In fact, he received twice as much as he possessed initially (see Job 42:10). Kushner, however, treats the biblical record as a ’fable’ and arbitrarily dismisses the last chapter of Job as a later inauthentic addition (pp. 143-146).

In short, he rejects the biblical text as it is and as it has always been known to be in the manuscripts. In place of the biblical text Kushner puts his own mutilated version of Scripture. But since Kushner has rejected the story of Job as it is presented in Scripture it is not surprising that he rejects the God presented in those Scriptures. The two are intimately connected. In brief, Kushner creates his own concept of God because he created his own Bible. The book of Job presents a perfect God and a good man, Job, who served Him. And this God eventually gave Job what he deserved and more. Thus Rabbi Kushner’s point about Job is biblically unfounded.

V. Is This All There Is? Life Does Not Seem Fair

Of course, not everyone who suffers misfortune eventually does as well in this life as Job did. So Kushner’s main point still stands. His argument can be reworded this way:

  1. God is all-powerful and causes [controls] everything that happens.
  2. God is just and fair, giving everyone what they deserve.
  3. John Doe is a good man who did not get what he deserved in his lifetime.
  4. Therefore, either God is not all-powerful or else He is not all-just (or both).

Is There More to Come?

But even though most will readily admit that not all persons have their bad fortune reversed as Job did, still there is a problem in Kushner’s logic. In order for the argument to be complete Kushner must add an important phrase:

3. John Doe is a good man who did not get what he deserved in his lifetime nor will he get it in an afterlife.

In short, Kushner’s argument is credible only if he knows for sure there is no afterlife wherein ultimate justice is achieved for all. But Kushner offers no proof for this. Instead, he simply expresses an unsubstantiated and dogmatic assertion that ’we cannot know for sure’ if there is such a life after death (p. 29). How he knows for sure that we cannot know this for sure the Rabbi does not say.

The Big Boomerang

On the other hand, if we interject the concept of immortality into the argument, then Kushner’s conclusion crumbles. In fact, it backfires into an argument in favor of ultimate justice like this:

  1. There are some injustices in this life.
  2. Those who suffer unjustly will be duly rewarded by God.
  3. An all-powerful, all-just God does not allow any injustices.
  4. Therefore, God will reward these injustices in the next life.

In view of this it becomes clear that Kushner’s conclusion [that God is neither all-perfect nor all-powerful] is premature. The burden of proof is his to demonstrate that man is not immortal. In order to counter this, Kushner’s argument must go like this:

The problem with this argument is found in the accented words. How can one know that injustice will go on forever? Kushner would have to be omniscient (all-knowing) to know this for sure. But in this case he would have to be God in order to disprove there is a God. Thus Kushner’s argument backfires either into an argument for an all-perfect God or else, in trying to disprove God, he must assume that he is God.

VI. Is There a Purpose for Everything?

Is There Some Suffering Without a Purpose?

Kushner claims not to be a theologian or a philosopher (p. 5), but he engages in theology and philosophy nonetheless. Hence, he cannot escape philosophical criticism. Kushner philosophizes that God is finite (limited) in His perfections. His reasoning flows like this:

  1. There is no good purpose for some suffering.
  2. An all-perfect God would have a good purpose for everything.
  3. Therefore, an all-perfect God does not exist.

Does Man Know Everything?

There is, however, a problem with this argument in the first statement. It can mean one of two things. It can mean either ’There is no good purpose known to man for some suffering’, or else it can mean ’There is no good purpose known to God or man for some suffering.’ If Kushner means only the first, then his conclusion (that no perfect God exists) does not follow. On the other hand, if he is claiming that neither God nor man knows a good purpose for suffering, then his claim is arrogant. How does he know that God has no good purpose for suffering? Again, Kushner would have to be all-knowing (like God) in order to disprove that such a God exists.

Does God Have A Purpose for Suffering?

There is another point Kushner overlooks in this regard. If God is all-knowing and all-perfect, then there is automatically a good explanation for suffering, even if we do not know what it is. The reasoning can be summarized as follows:

  1. An all-knowing God knows everything.
  2. An all-good God has only good purposes.
  3. There is suffering for which we know of no good purpose.
  4. Therefore, God has a good purpose for everything (even the suffering for which we know of no good purpose).

Not only does God know a good purpose for all suffering, but if He is all-powerful He will accomplish that good purpose. For an all-powerful being can accomplish all that He wills. Hence, the very God Kushner rejects (an infinite one) is the only guarantee that there is an ultimate solution for evil.

William James once said the world is better for having the devil in it, provided we have our foot on his neck. But the only real guarantee that there is a stranglehold on evil is the existence of an infinitely good and infinitely powerful God. For if God isn’t infinitely powerful, then He might be unable to defeat evil. And if He is not infinitely good, then He might be unwilling to defeat it. Hence, only an infinite God guarantees that evil will be defeated and that all injustices will be rewarded. The argument can be summarized this way:

  1. An all-powerful God can overcome all injustices.
  2. An all-good God will overcome all injustices.
  3. But injustices are not always overcome in this life.
  4. Therefore, all injustices will be overcome in another life after this one.

How do we know this will occur? Because an infinite God both can and wants to do it, and it is not yet done. Therefore, it will be yet done in the future. His infinite resources assure us it will be done.

VII. Asking the Right Question

There is another problem in Rabbi Kushner’s insistence that God is limited in perfection and power. He asks the wrong question: why do bad things happen to good people? Putting the question this way assumes that people are essentially good and hence do not deserve the suffering which befalls them. But the very Scriptures from which the Rabbi quotes give quite a different view of mankind.

King David said, ’Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me’ (Psalm 51:5). In the Law of Moses it is written, ’Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’ (Gen. 6.5). Jeremiah the Prophet added, ’The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?’ (Jer. 17.9). Solomon in his wisdom observed that ’there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins’ (Ecc. 7:20). And the Psalmist concludes, ’they have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there isno one who does good, not even one’ (Psalm 14:3).

So Kushner’s question wrongly assumes that people are good when his own Bible gives evidence to the contrary.

Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

So there is a biblical sense in which all men are sinners and deserve worse than they get. In this sense the question should not be: why do bad things happen to good people? It should be: why do good things happen to bad people? The answer to this question is the mercy of God. If all are sinners then there is no merit in man which places a demand on God to save us from undesired suffering. Rather, we should be grateful to His grace for not giving us what we really deserve, which is more suffering.

There is in Rabbi Kushner’s book a marked reluctance to accept the depravity of man and the deserved punishment which follows from this fact. It is because of this failure to understand that death, sickness, and suffering are the result of Adam’s sin (Gen. 3:16-19) that he confesses, ’I don’t have a good answer to the question of why our bodies had to be made vulnerable to germs and viruses and malignant tumors in the first place’ (p. 64). Further, he admits, ’I don’t know why people are mortal and fated to die’ (p. 69). Surely he has read many times in the Torah God’s warning to Adam ’in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’ (Gen. 2.17).

Do We Deserve Better?

Evidence of Kushner’s failure to understand human depravity are found in statements such as ’I deserve better’ (p. 5). And Kushner’s self-descriptions are reminiscent of Jesus’ statement about the Pharisee: ’I had been a good person. I had tried to do what was right in the sight of God. More than that, I was living a more religiously committed life than most people I knew.’ The Pharisee in Jesus’ story put it this way: ’I thank God that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess’ (Luke 18:11-12).

At the root of Rabbi Kushner’s problem with God’s infinity is his failure to understand man’s depravity and, in the light of it, to bow before God in true humility. Jesus’ response to both of these self-appellations is appropriate. ’Everyone that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted’ (Luke 18:14).

Who Should Forgive Whom?

Indeed, Kushner reaches the pinnacle of arrogance when he concludes that in view of our suffering we need ’to forgive God for not making a better world’ (p. 147)! Surely it would be more in keeping with the status of mortal man to confess with the Jewish psalmist: ’What is man, that thou are mindful of him; and the son of man, that you visitest him?’ (Ps. 8:4). David’s prayer in Psalm 19 would be even more apropos for the Rabbi: ’Who can understand his errors. Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins’ (v. 12,13).

VIII. Can God Intervene?

Can the Creator Intervene in His Creation?

At the bottom of Rabbi Kushner’s philosophical problems is his denial of supernatural intervention by God. Despite the fact he admits God occasionally does unusual things (pp. 47, 51, 53), Kushner denies the Creator can intervene in His own creation. He is ’skeptical’ of all miracle stories in the Bible because ’in fact the laws of nature do not change’ (p. 57). Kushner insists there is an ’unchanging character of these laws.’ (p. 57). Thus ’God does not reach down to interrupt the workings of laws of nature to protect the righteous from harm’ (p. 57). As a matter of fact, Kushner believes ’God does not cause it [suffering] and cannot stop it’ (p. 58).

Certainly Rabbi Kushner has overstated his anti-supernaturalism here. If God created the world, then surely He can intervene in it. The Creator’s hands cannot be tied by His creation. But if God cannot intervene in His own universe, then Nature is more powerful than God. Kushner has in effect deified Nature. Why cannot God interpose himself in world affairs? According to Kushner it is because ’there would be no discernible rhyme or reason to His doing that’ (pp. 116-117).

This is a strange explanation for Kushner, since he denied earlier that there needs to be a discernible reason for things (pp. 46, 48, 53). But here he is inconsistently suggesting that there must be a discernible purpose for these kinds of things. Waiving this problem for the moment, Kushner has a deeper one: just because he cannot discern a purpose for God only performing select miracles does not mean that there is no such purpose. God has a purpose for what He chooses to do whether man knows it or not. If God is infinite then ’His ways are unsearchable and His judgments past finding out’ (Rom. 11:33). Again, ’the secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us’ (Deut. 29:29).

Why God Does Not Intervene More

There are in fact good reasons why God does not perform miracles all the time in answer to every prayer. First of all, some of our prayers are selfish and self-destructive (Jas. 4:4). In short, they are not for our good and God knows it, even if we don’t. God is our heavenly Father. As such He will no more give us a stone if we ask for bread than He will give us a stone if we ask for a stone when what we need is bread (Matt. 7:9). Further, miracles are by nature rare and unusual events which depend upon the background of nature’s regularity for their very existence. And it is self-evident that the rare cannot happen regularly. If it did then it would no longer be rare.

The question as to why God chooses to perform miracles at some times and not others is shrouded in mystery. But our finite inability to know God’s infinite purposes is by no means a telling argument against the possibility of miracles occurring. Otherwise, a child’s inability to understand why its parents would not give it everything it wanted would be a telling argument against parental love. In fact, if God is all-powerful, all-good, all-wise, then we know there is a good reason for His choice to perform miracles on some occasions and not on others. For:

  1. There are some miraculous events for which we have no explanation as to why God chose to do them as opposed to others He did not do.
  2. But an all-wise God has a sufficient reason for everything He does.
  3. And an all-good God has a good reason for whatever He does.
  4. Further, an all-powerful God can do anything possible He chooses to do.
  5. Therefore, God has a good and sufficient reason as to why He chooses to do some miracles (even if we do not know it).

Again, the only way to avoid this conclusion as to what an infinite God can do is to add a premise such as this:

1a. Whatever mortal man has no explanation for, there is no explanation for.

However, this is not only presumptuous, but it contradicts the self-evident truth (or 2 and 3) that an all-wise, all-good God must have a good purpose for everything He chooses to do. So, contrary to Kushner, it is possible to believe that God is all-good and all-powerful even if He did not choose to intervene and save Kushner’s son. After all, this same God chose not to intervene and save His own Son from suffering. For ’God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all’ (Rom. 8:32). And as it turns out there was a very good purpose for this: our salvation!

IX. Can God Be God And Be Limited?

Rabbi Kushner believes God is limited in both power and perfection. But nowhere does he indicate any awareness of the logical implications of holding such a view.

An Imperfect Implies a Perfect

The first implication of the concept of an imperfect god is that it implies a perfect God, a standard of ultimate perfection beyond this imperfect god by which he is measured. For one cannot know the im-perfect (not-perfect) unless he knows what is perfect. Without the perfect there would be no way to measure something as imperfect. But if there is some ultimate standard of perfection beyond a finitely perfect being (which falls short of it), then this ultimately perfect being is God. And the finitely imperfect being is not God but only a creature. Thus Kushner’s concept of a finite god turns out to be only an imperfect creature which implies a perfect Creator beyond it. At best the argument from an imperfect world only proves there is a devil, not that there is no perfect God.

Every Finite Needs a Cause

Another problem with a finite (limited) god is that every finite being is really a creature. And every creature needs a Creator. One of the fundamental principles of all thought is that every finite needs a cause. This is called the principle of causality. Whatever is limited, temporal, or has a beginning, must have a cause. This being the case, there would have to be a cause of any finite god. But if there is a cause of this finite god, then this Cause would be God, not the finite being which it caused.

This point can be made clear by the fact that a finite god would be limited in its duration. That is, it would be temporal. But if he had a temporal beginning, then he would need a Beginner (or Cause). But whatever has a Cause beyond it cannot be the ultimate which God by definition is. Hence, no finite being can be God.

A Finite God Cannot Guarantee Victory Over Evil

On a given Sunday afternoon any NFL football team can beat any other team, no matter how strong the latter is. This is so because all teams are finite and therefore are not invincible. Likewise, a finite god cannot guarantee victory over evil. He cannot guarantee that good will never be rewarded or evil punished. This cannot help but be a negative factor in one’s motivation to do good. Why sacrifice one’s whole life for good when evil may eventually win?

There are numerous other problems with a finite god of which Rabbi Kushner shows no awareness.

How can one make an ultimate commitment, which is of the essence of religion, when that to which he is making this ultimate commitment is not even Ultimate? Is this not the essence of idolatry to worship a finite being? Is it not contrary to the essence of Judaism (and Christianity) to worship any being that is limited or imperfect? Does not worship involve worth-ship, that is, attributing ultimate worth to the object? But if God is so unworthy in His actions that we must forgive Him for His imperfections, then such a God surely lacks anything approaching ultimate worth.

In short, Rabbi Kushner’s god is not the infinite, Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob (see Job 42:2). Rather, he is the puny, finite god of modern man. A finite god is not the God who made man in His own image (Gen. 1:27); he is the god whom man has made in his own image (Rom. 1:21-23).

X. The Value of Suffering

Job cried out, ’When he has tried me I shall come forth as gold’ (Job 23:10). At times Kushner evidences an awareness of the redemptive value of suffering. He admitted that as a result of the suffering he underwent with his child that others accepted his consolation because now ’I was their brother in suffering, and they were able to let me help them’ (p. 112).

Kushner acknowledges another purpose for undesired suffering when he confessed, ’I am a more sensitive person, a more effective pastor, a more sympathetic counselor because of Aaron’s life and death than I would ever have been without it.’ (p. 133). In this connection perhaps he unconsciously provides insight into why pain and suffering is beyond our control. For he added, ’I would give up all of those gains in a second if I could have my son back. If I could choose, I would forego all the spiritual growth and depth which has come my way. But I cannot choose’ (pp. 133-134).

Perhaps in the infinite wisdom of God this is precisely why suffering is beyond our control. Maybe God is more interested in our spiritual character than our personal contentment. Perhaps He knows we will be helped more by helping others than by seeking to be helped by them. Maybe the Creator knows that our true happiness comes as a byproduct of holiness, not as a replacement for it with so-called happiness. Perchance true happiness results from making others happy and not as a result of seeking to be made happy by them.

Answering His Own Question

Kushner unwittingly answers his own question as to a purpose for suffering when he quotes a survivor of Auschwitz who said:

It never occurred to me to question God’s doings or lack of doings while I was an inmate of Auschwitz. I was no less or no more religious because of what the Nazis did to us; and I believe my faith in God was not undermined in the least.

It never occurred to me to associate the calamity we were experiencing with God, to blame Him, or to believe in Him less or cease believing in Him at all because He didn’t come to our aid. God doesn’t owe us that, or anything. We owe our lives to Him. If someone believes God is responsible for the death of six million because he didn’t somehow do something to save them, he’s got his thinking reversed. We owe God our lives for the few or many years we live, and we have the duty to worship Him and do as he commands us. That’s what we’re here on earth for, to be in God’s service, to do God’s bidding.

Certainly no one can impugn the credentials of this sufferer to speak to the point of suffering and to suggest an appropriate response of man to God in view of it. One thing seems clear. It is an inverted reasoning which suggests that man needs to forgive God. In view of man’s initial and continual rebellion against God, it is God who needs to forgive man for such pride and not man who needs to forgive God! Indeed, God has provided forgiveness for all proud and rebellious creatures who will confess their sin and trust the Savior. For ’God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8).

Footnote:

Rabbi Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, New York: Schocken Books, 1981.