It’s not fair!” exclaimed our daughter at the death of a treasured pet. She knew that the little dog had committed no moral wrong. Soon, her sense of right and wrong was tested even further upon the tragic death of her beloved grandmother, Gran.

We taught our daughters from the cradle that God made them and loved them. When God created the world in the beginning, it was a perfect place where nothing died. Adam and Eve could have lived there happily ever after, with all their descendants, if only they had obeyed God. But even though God had warned them they would die, they disobeyed God’s rule. Since then sickness and death have been a part of our world.

Sometimes children think it is unfair that little children and even animals die. It is our responsibility to help them understand that death and suffering came into God’s perfect world because of Adam, and all people are just as guilty as Adam; all people disobey God. The whole world is messed up because of sin.

God does not like death. God loves people, but they needed a Savior. He knew that man would disobey and He planned even before He created us to send His only Son to redeem us. Jesus Christ suffered and shed His blood to cover the sins of all who trust in Him for salvation. Jesus never did anything wrong. He was perfect. He didn’t deserve to die, but He did. As God, Jesus came back to life and is making a place in heaven for all the people that love Him. Someday, He will make a new earth also, and no people or animals will suffer or die there ever again.

My little daughter watched my mother suffer horribly with cancer, wincing even when a grandchild brushed the blanket on her lap. She heard Gran speak of getting to see her own mother in heaven. And after my mother left this world, that little three-year old—now that she understood a little better about God’s goodness—looked confidently at her grandfather and joyfully announced, “Now Gran can walk again and not hurt! She’s in heaven!”

Tommy Mitchell, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, earned his M.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and has been practicing medicine for over 20 years. He is also a researcher and speaker for Answers in Genesis

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