But if we start with God’s Word, we don’t have the problem of the punishment before the crime because God’s Word provides the answer to the problem of pain. How can this be? And many patients speak of what their illness has taught them—to change their ways, for example. This is the essence of Job’s story in the Hebrew Bible. Some of them seem beyond fixing. If it truly is Satan's doing, why doesn't God just zap him away? If God Is Good, Why Do We Suffer? Saint Paul did not promise that we would be able to SEE how all things work out for good to those who trust God - only that they will. Genesis records that God created everything within six literal, 24-hour days and that He called His whole creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Ultimately, God ordains and brings affliction into a believer’s life (Ruth 1:20–21). Hear how others have explored Christianity. Saint Paul wrote: "all things work together unto good to them that love God" (Rom 8:38). If God Loves us so Much, Why do we Suffer? By allowing people to suffer, God is showing us that SOMETHING IS WRONG. When we do good to others and they respond by rejecting us or hurting us, we think that it's because they are bad or that maybe it wasn't a good thing to be "good." Why does God permit suffering? The book of Job deals with the issue of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. At the heart of the Christian faith is a God who knows what it is to suffer. The good news is that God did not leave us here to suffer pointlessly. Yet as we look around our world, we see so much suffering, pain, and evil. So,when we consider the question, “If God is good, why do people suffer,” it is quite easy to see what the truth of the matter is. The only way to even begin to understand God's perspective is to read His Word, the Bible. Therefore, those who attend to others in pain—whether health care or religious professionals, family members, or friends—are called on not to offer logical solutions, which are always inadequate, but instead to acknowledge the pain of the questions, hold them with the sufferer, and by presence, attention and care, be the response. One day there will be justice. 5 Pastors, priests, and religious teachers often say that it is God’s will that people suffer. If we want to know him and the power of his resurrection, then we will need to share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (Phil. Suffering does not have to have the last word in our lives. We live in a world in which good and evil are at play on the world stage and in every human being. The University’s ranking in U.S. News improved after falling out of the publication’s list of top 25 national universities last year. One day all suffering will end. Evil was defeated on that first Easter, and one day it will be removed altogether. When we refuse to acknowledge God’s truth—that no one is good, no not one (Romans 3:10)—we turn and blame God, the merciful One, who sent His Son to die in our place. Many religious traditions note the lessons pain can teach. Why would a loving and holy God allow a child to suffer through a serious illness such as cancer? God has not left us alone in our suffering. But some people ask, why doesn’t God just get rid of evil once and for all? But my resolution may not be yours, and no “answer” really solves the problem. When we do nothing wrong but suffer injustice and unfair treatment from people, we begin to think that God is … Yet as we look around our world, we see so much suffering, pain, and evil. There will come a day when God “will wipe every tear from” our eyes and, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of … He suffered brutality at the hands of Roman soldiers. We choose out fate. Very simple: He's trying to tell us something. First, there is no one who is truly innocent in that there is no one without sin. What will you choose? But more than suffer LIKE US, God has also suffered FOR US. The answer to these questions is this: God loves us that much to put us through tough times. But we have to take it in context. He longs for us to come to him, talk to him, bring our suffering to him. What bad actions could possibly justify such a punishment? It states that God’s plans are for good, not evil, for a future and a hope. 5. God is good but evil is also real and has influence in the world for now. Only in heaven shall we see all things clearly, and all the reasons why (I Cor 13:12). The truth is that decision is ours to make, any punishment we receive from God is our own choice. And there is hope for today and tomorrow. A small child is diagnosed with leukemia and undergoes extensive medical treatment only to die in his mother’s arms. For many, this is a question that lies at the root of human existence. As St. Paul taught us in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” All things do in the long run work together for good because all things will be made whole in the kingdom, where there will be no tears, no sin, and no death but only joy, gladness, goodness, and life. My background is Catholic, Agnostic then Catholic again. Boundaries are good, but manipulation can have negative long-term effects on teenagers, according to new research. book. We have a choice to accept his plan of reconciliation through his Son Jesus. First, He uses pain and suffering to draw us to Himself so that we will cling to Him. Thousands are killed in a terrorist attack. Why does God allow humans to suffer? Some people on the other side of the coin may insist that it is never God’s will for us to suffer. I don’t know about you but when I’m going through a difficult time, I am most at home around people who have been through something similar. If there is a God, and God can be considered all-powerful and entirely good, why is there evil in the world? The Christian faith makes sense of the rawness we feel in the face of suffering because it says there is something WRONG with the world. Philosophers and theologians debate this question—which they have termed theodicy—often by first looking at how we define evil. The Bible and the God of Life. If everything were alright between man and God, then there would be no sorrow and death, because in the beginning there was none. One common answer is to look for how we may have deserved this “punishment,” that we somehow have fallen out of God’s favor. Because His love usually manifests itself in good things that happen to us, we sometimes fall back in shock and consternation when we see a child struck by disease or some other trauma. We know that God uses evil to discipline people (Prov. If God Is Good, Why Do We Suffer? God seems to sit back and do NOTHING. Those things can typically be broken down into three parts: moral evil, like murder or social injustice; natural evil, like tornadoes or cancer; or some combination of the two, such as the societal issues shown in the aftermath of Katrina or cancer linked to smoking. Jesus has suffered in ways that go beyond anything we can imagine. What do many religious teachers say about suffering? But this day hasn’t yet arrived to give us all time to get our choices right before God. For many, the experience of Jews and others in the Holocaust illustrates most clearly the problems inherent in accepting either desert or growth as the solution to the theodicy dilemma. The Christian faith says you fix a broken story by embedding it in a much bigger story in which good wins, and evil loses. In Buddhism, to reach divinity is precisely to move beyond the possibility of suffering. To many, this answer may seem unappealing. In this life, we might never really understand why some things have happened. Jesus absorbed the world’s evil, took it to the grave, left it there and rose to life again. Each day brings new tragedy. They will often quote Jeremiah 29:11 in their defense. Usually we say evil means all the possible bad things that can happen to human beings. But that implies that God would countenance such a thing, and isn’t God supposed to be all good, in ways that we can understand as “good”? He GETS IT because He has been there. The reasons that people suffer in this world is because they reject God and so remain under the power of the ruler of this world who is Satan and who embodies all that is evil. We come to someone who really KNOWS and CARES. If we ask why God allows this suffering, the Bible tells us that God doesn’t only permit it: He actively commands it (Matthew 25:41), for God is holy and righteous (1 John 1:5), and it would be unjust for God to leave sin unpunished forever (Romans 3:25-26). And for others this answer may only exacerbate the sense of meaninglessness of the suffering. So this leaves a third route: We are never going to know why. The Word of God also teaches that evil will not go unpunished. Our loving and merciful God has a perfect plan to use that suffering to accomplish His threefold purpose. We decide. John Lennox, Professor Emeritus, Oxford University. It may also be what’s going on when a suffering person tries to rationalize the present pain by connecting it with past behavior. If God exists, what is he like? Good stuff right? He was abandoned by his closest friends in his hour of deepest need. 15:32). Most of us eventually reach our own peace with the question, some with more difficulty than others. The question usually comes in theological terms, and really boils down to, “How are we to understand God?” But for most people suffering the effects of evil—including those suffering from diseases and injuries in themselves or in those they love—the question is more likely to be existential: “Given what I’ve always believed to be true about God, how am I to understand this evil that has befallen me?”. There is comfort we never thought was possible. They don’t want to serve a God that makes them suffer! Some may argue—as it unfortunately happens—that it is then the parents who deserved to watch their child suffer. However, the first human couple rebelled against God’s rulership, choosing to set their own standards of good and bad. How do you fix a story that is broken? A newlywed couple is killed by a drunk driver as they leave for their honeymoon. For some, this conclusion comes as a relief, a letting go of the need to understand. God cannot stop evil and suffering because He is powerless Of course, this does not stand up to biblical truth. We all have our stories. We who have been called to this great purpose of conformity to the image of Christ will for that reason also be called to suffer with Christ. What does the Bible teach? One day there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. The risk in that relief, however, is that it may bring with it a tendency to downplay—and therefore fail to deal constructively with—the reality of the present suffering. The Bible tells us that God is all powerful and altogether good. How could a loving God send anyone to hell. What is his response to my suffering? by Margaret Mohrmann (Grad '95) iStock Photo. At the Cross, we see the absolute uniqueness of the Christian response to suffering. But God always offers us himself. He does no wrong. Thinking about the Bible, I realize the Bible is not the answer people necessarily search for or long for. But in no way did God originate human suffering. Read reviews from world’s largest community for readers. For many, this is a question that lies at the root of human existence. 3:10). However, mankind rejected God and His "very good… I’d like to answer the question partly from a scientific point of view but the rest will have a philosophical or religious underpinnings. Why Do God’s Children Suffer? Answering “Why?” with “Why not?” only restates the problem. And we have Scripture to prove why it is better to suffer now, than for eternity. This does not mean that we will no longer suffer in this world, but it does mean that we will spend eternity with God. He offers us friendship. Yes, the innocent suffer (see Job 1–2), but God can redeem that suffering. They turned away from God and suffered the consequences. As Job asks, “shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). If God is as great as everyone says like how He created the world with one sentence or how his son made miracles, why do people suffer everyday. A resilient new class of Wahoos, by the numbers. If we bring our suffering to Him today – we don’t come to a God who is aloof or indifferent or distant. What of the person who dies after days of agony, with no chance to learn anything? It’s an important question to consider, because reconciling a God of love with our real life hardships leads to an integrated life. The Bible tells us that God created a "very good" world (Genesis 1:31). If one argues that the observers of that suffering may have learned a lot, God’s goodness is again in question. Then some may ask Why then does a good God choose to punish people? If we are asking why “good” people suffer, the implication, really, is that suffering should be reserved for the “bad”. After all, sometimes we experience devastating suffering. Christianity Explored is registered in England. Well the fact is, God doesn’t make us suffer, he allows it. Somehow, on the cross, all the world’s evil was being directed at one pure, clean target in order to defeat it once and for all. Things are not as they should be. Whatever you face, you can choose to go through it without God or with him. Well, one day he will. Today we are experiencing the effects of their bad choice. SO WHAT. "It's cause of Adam and Eve blah blah blah." If we turn to Him, there is strength we never thought we had. Jesus is described in the Bible as, ‘… a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering’ [53:3]. "It's the Devil's doing blah blah blah." But God is good because in spite of man’s choice, God provided a way of escape for those who choose to follow him and choose to do what is right. The general argument is that, if God is good and benevolent, He would not permit innocent people to endure suffering and pain. Whose growth in understanding could possibly require such a lesson? Why are there diseases, abuse, and torture. Why wouldn't God stop this pain and help me? They just GET IT – especially when words are not enough. Why Would God Let Me Suffer? If you want to escape suffering and reject the rule of Satan, God has provided the way: through his son Jesus Christ. It allows them to rely on the support of others and perhaps too of God, believing that, from the perspective of eternity, all will be well. There are several reasons the two are not mutually exclusive. Would a truly good God allow one human to be tortured so that another might be improved? Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1), yet he suffered in ways that are almost beyond belief. God allows evil to occur partly for reasons we do know and partly for those we do not. Theist or not, most of us fall back on explanations similar to those put forward by theologians long ago—and all of them have significant holes in them. 3:11) and to teach them (Prov. Mankind was blessed to live and fellowship in a beautiful garden planted by God Himself (Genesis 2:8,9). Some may say that everything that happens to a person, including tragedies, has already been decided by God and that we can never understand why. The Bible tells us that God is all powerful and altogether good. A similar question may arise for someone who does not believe in a deity but for whom the world appears to operate within generally coherent and reliable patterns, such as cause and effect and the predictable cycles of tides, seasons, birth and death. A faithful missionary family is attacked and killed by the very people they were ministering to. God is just and righteous. The human spirit is always looking for an excuse. God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him, and Satan did his worst. (4 Reasons from 1 Peter),C. Adam Clagg - Read more about spiritual life growth, Christian living, and faith. He is sovereign over all our suffering, though he uses means to accomplish his purposes (Luke 23:25; Galatians 1:4). He did this to give us life, so that the evils we face need not absorb and overwhelm us. But the Bible reveals that God is good and that He allows suffering. This is an extraordinary description of the tenderness of God and of his plans to put right all the wrongs in this world. A second way we try to answer the question is by saying that the suffering is meant to teach us something. How are we to understand God or the cosmos given such egregious evil? Only in Christ do we have a God who is loving enough to suffer … If there is a God, and God can be considered all-powerful and entirely good, why is there evil in the world? I’m sure we can all agree that a murderer has committed a moral sin, and that God did not mean for the world to look this way. Examining ways we make sense of evil. Copyright © 2021 by the University of Virginia Magazine, Beloved professor Henry Abraham dies at 98, One professor put UVA in the race for the A-bomb, or at least he tried, Center for Politics appoints first resident scholars, Experts say: Parent, but don’t manipulate, UVA moves up in national college rankings. In this message, Dr. Sproul examines this age-old question and comforts us that, for the Christian, God works through the tragedies of this life and uses them for our good. In Islam, the idea of God suffering is nonsense—it is thought to make God weak. How can this be? But this falls short, and even seems downright outrageous, when applied to certain kinds of suffering, such as the pain of a seriously ill infant. If God is so good, why do we suffer? But this, too, falls short in the face of certain kinds of suffering. Jesus ended his days on earth nailed to a cross. Pressing their luck and testing their knowledge, clever Cavs take a spin on Wheel, Jeopardy! Suffering was not part of Jehovah God’s purpose for mankind. If you believe (I don’t) that God knows about and causes everything that happens in the universe, then you have several options when confronted with apparently senseless suffering. We have a choice to acknowledge God exists and to admit our shortcomings. God does not always offer us answers. The question is an old and venerable one: If God is good, and God is all-knowing, and God is all-powerful, then why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? That there is no one without sin story that is broken is God. 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