if god is good, why do we suffer
John Lennox, Professor Emeritus, Oxford University. Our loving and merciful God has a perfect plan to use that suffering to accomplish His threefold purpose. However, mankind rejected God and His "very good… 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. 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. He longs for us to come to him, talk to him, bring our suffering to him. We have a choice to acknowledge God exists and to admit our shortcomings. What bad actions could possibly justify such a punishment? They just GET IT – especially when words are not enough. 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. If everything were alright between man and God, then there would be no sorrow and death, because in the beginning there was none. If God is so good, why do we suffer? How do you fix a story that is broken? How can this be? At the heart of the Christian faith is a God who knows what it is to suffer. Mankind was blessed to live and fellowship in a beautiful garden planted by God Himself (Genesis 2:8,9). Well, one day he will. He suffered brutality at the hands of Roman soldiers. If God Is Good, Why Do We Suffer? There are several reasons the two are not mutually exclusive. Some people on the other side of the coin may insist that it is never God’s will for us to suffer. God seems to sit back and do NOTHING. by Margaret Mohrmann (Grad '95) iStock Photo. Answering “Why?” with “Why not?” only restates the problem. We have a choice to accept his plan of reconciliation through his Son Jesus. It states that God’s plans are for good, not evil, for a future and a hope. 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 … If God Loves us so Much, Why do we Suffer? Well the fact is, God doesn’t make us suffer, he allows it. Pressing their luck and testing their knowledge, clever Cavs take a spin on Wheel, Jeopardy! 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. 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. God is good but evil is also real and has influence in the world for now. What is his response to my suffering? Hear how others have explored Christianity. What will you choose? God has not left us alone in our suffering. It’s an important question to consider, because reconciling a God of love with our real life hardships leads to an integrated life. He offers us friendship. We live in a world in which good and evil are at play on the world stage and in every human being. Boundaries are good, but manipulation can have negative long-term effects on teenagers, according to new research. The Bible tells us that God is all powerful and altogether good. They don’t want to serve a God that makes them suffer! It may also be what’s going on when a suffering person tries to rationalize the present pain by connecting it with past behavior. 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. Why does God permit suffering? We choose out fate. Why would a loving and holy God allow a child to suffer through a serious illness such as cancer? He GETS IT because He has been there. 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. 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. 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. Each day brings new tragedy. We all have our stories. Why wouldn't God stop this pain and help me? 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. God does not always offer us answers. This is an extraordinary description of the tenderness of God and of his plans to put right all the wrongs in this world. But God always offers us himself. Usually we say evil means all the possible bad things that can happen to human beings. Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1), yet he suffered in ways that are almost beyond belief. We know that God uses evil to discipline people (Prov. Thousands are killed in a terrorist attack. How could a loving God send anyone to hell. This does not mean that we will no longer suffer in this world, but it does mean that we will spend eternity with God. 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?”. 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”? 3:11) and to teach them (Prov. The general argument is that, if God is good and benevolent, He would not permit innocent people to endure suffering and pain. But the Bible reveals that God is good and that He allows suffering. 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. 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. The Bible and the God of Life. A newlywed couple is killed by a drunk driver as they leave for their honeymoon. Jesus has suffered in ways that go beyond anything we can imagine. God allows evil to occur partly for reasons we do know and partly for those we do not. God is just and righteous. 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. One day there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. In Islam, the idea of God suffering is nonsense—it is thought to make God weak. Yet as we look around our world, we see so much suffering, pain, and evil. They will often quote Jeremiah 29:11 in their defense. In Buddhism, to reach divinity is precisely to move beyond the possibility of suffering. 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. 3:10). 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. Why are there diseases, abuse, and torture. The University’s ranking in U.S. News improved after falling out of the publication’s list of top 25 national universities last year. Jesus is described in the Bible as, ‘… a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering’ [53:3]. 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. After all, sometimes we experience devastating suffering. Philosophers and theologians debate this question—which they have termed theodicy—often by first looking at how we define evil. This is the essence of Job’s story in the Hebrew Bible. 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). But more than suffer LIKE US, God has also suffered FOR US. However, the first human couple rebelled against God’s rulership, choosing to set their own standards of good and bad. If one argues that the observers of that suffering may have learned a lot, God’s goodness is again in question. 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. Some may argue—as it unfortunately happens—that it is then the parents who deserved to watch their child suffer. If it truly is Satan's doing, why doesn't God just zap him away? First, He uses pain and suffering to draw us to Himself so that we will cling to Him. If you want to escape suffering and reject the rule of Satan, God has provided the way: through his son Jesus Christ. And for others this answer may only exacerbate the sense of meaninglessness of the suffering. How are we to understand God or the cosmos given such egregious evil? 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. And many patients speak of what their illness has taught them—to change their ways, for example. If we bring our suffering to Him today – we don’t come to a God who is aloof or indifferent or distant. Only in Christ do we have a God who is loving enough to suffer … God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him, and Satan did his worst. In this life, we might never really understand why some things have happened. The Christian faith says you fix a broken story by embedding it in a much bigger story in which good wins, and evil loses. Whose growth in understanding could possibly require such a lesson? 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. Read reviews from world’s largest community for readers. By allowing people to suffer, God is showing us that SOMETHING IS WRONG. Thinking about the Bible, I realize the Bible is not the answer people necessarily search for or long for. But my resolution may not be yours, and no “answer” really solves the problem. We decide. They turned away from God and suffered the consequences. For many, this is a question that lies at the root of human existence. 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. Jesus absorbed the world’s evil, took it to the grave, left it there and rose to life again. 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? A faithful missionary family is attacked and killed by the very people they were ministering to. For many, this is a question that lies at the root of human existence. Whatever you face, you can choose to go through it without God or with him. Saint Paul wrote: "all things work together unto good to them that love God" (Rom 8:38). Yet as we look around our world, we see so much suffering, pain, and evil. 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. For some, this conclusion comes as a relief, a letting go of the need to understand. Jesus ended his days on earth nailed to a cross. A second way we try to answer the question is by saying that the suffering is meant to teach us something. Very simple: He's trying to tell us something. At the Cross, we see the absolute uniqueness of the Christian response to suffering. "It's the Devil's doing blah blah blah." As Job asks, “shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). 15:32). The book of Job deals with the issue of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Things are not as they should be. First, there is no one who is truly innocent in that there is no one without sin. Genesis records that God created everything within six literal, 24-hour days and that He called His whole creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But this day hasn’t yet arrived to give us all time to get our choices right before God. The Word of God also teaches that evil will not go unpunished. To many, this answer may seem unappealing. Why does God allow humans to suffer? 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. God cannot stop evil and suffering because He is powerless Of course, this does not stand up to biblical truth. Would a truly good God allow one human to be tortured so that another might be improved? He did this to give us life, so that the evils we face need not absorb and overwhelm us. "It's cause of Adam and Eve blah blah blah." If God exists, what is he like? 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. If there is a God, and God can be considered all-powerful and entirely good, why is there evil in the world? He is sovereign over all our suffering, though he uses means to accomplish his purposes (Luke 23:25; Galatians 1:4). One common answer is to look for how we may have deserved this “punishment,” that we somehow have fallen out of God’s favor. He does no wrong. There is comfort we never thought was possible. Many religious traditions note the lessons pain can teach. 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. The only way to even begin to understand God's perspective is to read His Word, the Bible. One day all suffering will end. Today we are experiencing the effects of their bad choice. And there is hope for today and tomorrow. What do many religious teachers say about suffering? But some people ask, why doesn’t God just get rid of evil once and for all? SO WHAT. Suffering was not part of Jehovah God’s purpose for mankind. If we are asking why “good” people suffer, the implication, really, is that suffering should be reserved for the “bad”. (4 Reasons from 1 Peter),C. Adam Clagg - Read more about spiritual life growth, Christian living, and faith. Yes, the innocent suffer (see Job 1–2), but God can redeem that suffering. If there is a God, and God can be considered all-powerful and entirely good, why is there evil in the world? The good news is that God did not leave us here to suffer pointlessly. 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. Evil was defeated on that first Easter, and one day it will be removed altogether. Why Would God Let Me Suffer? The answer to these questions is this: God loves us that much to put us through tough times. So this leaves a third route: We are never going to know why. A resilient new class of Wahoos, by the numbers. What does the Bible teach? 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. Christianity Explored is registered in England. And we have Scripture to prove why it is better to suffer now, than for eternity. When we do nothing wrong but suffer injustice and unfair treatment from people, we begin to think that God is … How can this be? 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. Why Do God’s Children Suffer? 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. He was abandoned by his closest friends in his hour of deepest need. Suffering does not have to have the last word in our lives. A small child is diagnosed with leukemia and undergoes extensive medical treatment only to die in his mother’s arms. The human spirit is always looking for an excuse. But we have to take it in context. book. But this, too, falls short in the face of certain kinds of suffering. One day there will be justice. 5. Good stuff right? Ultimately, God ordains and brings affliction into a believer’s life (Ruth 1:20–21). If we turn to Him, there is strength we never thought we had. My background is Catholic, Agnostic then Catholic again. 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." We come to someone who really KNOWS and CARES. Most of us eventually reach our own peace with the question, some with more difficulty than others. I’d like to answer the question partly from a scientific point of view but the rest will have a philosophical or religious underpinnings. 5 Pastors, priests, and religious teachers often say that it is God’s will that people suffer. Then some may ask Why then does a good God choose to punish people? The Bible tells us that God is all powerful and altogether good. If God Is Good, Why Do We Suffer? The Bible tells us that God created a "very good" world (Genesis 1:31). Some of them seem beyond fixing. But in no way did God originate human suffering. 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