Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

In the Bible, there is a very specific example of a man who suffered and questioned  God.  The book of Job in the Old Testament provides an account of a man to whom very terrible things happened (he lost most of his family, all of his possessions and became very sick in a matter of a couple of days to the point of despair), that were permitted by God and towards the end of the book Job asked God, "Why"? God asked Job some questions, in fact a great many questions. Here's a sampling from chapter 40, verses 1-14:

 Then the Lord said to Job, "Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?" Then Job replied to the Lord, "I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say." Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind; 'Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. "Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you. (New Living Translation)

God's questions to Job continue for the rest of chapter 40 and 41, pretty much putting Job in his place. When Job has an opportunity to answer, this is what he says as recorded in chapter 42, verses 1-6:

Then Job replied to the Lord "I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, 'Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance?' It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, 'Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.' I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance." (New Living Translation)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

The first question we need to address is, "What happened that resulted in pain, evil and suffering?” The Bible speaks of a world created by God where everything was "very good." Then, through the disobedience of the first man and woman, sin entered our world and its many effects / consequences. You may be thinking, "that’s not fair, it wasn't my choice." In a sense, every person who will ever live was represented in that choice, and even if it had been Adam and you, or you and Eve, do you really think the result would have been any different?  Especially considering the track record of mankind the Bible records – God calls, man responds, man forgets and disobeys God, and God judges.  If you and I are honest, we have to admit we’re repeating that pattern.  Sin was our choice, not God's, but the Good News is that one day, sin and all of its terrible consequences will be completely and totally eradicated. But what about the meantime?
As for the second question, "Why not eliminate pain and suffering now, instead of waiting?" While we're not told why, would you consider that if God allows it, then it could be for some greater purpose? In the Apostle Paul's epistle to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 28 he tells us:
     'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,             who have been called according to his purpose." (New International Version)

In a recent radio broadcast, Max Lucado made the observation that if God removed suffering, pain and evil now, then he would also have to take away our freewill and choice.  However, if we’re allowed to make choices, then there will be consequences to those choices.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

First of all, the only one who can adequately answer this question is God and on some matters He has chosen not to fully reveal His purpose for allowing such things. The short answer is that God expects us to trust Him and to respond in faith to what He has revealed.

This may not be the answer that you were expecting or hoping for. You may find yourself bitter and blaming God for something that has happened and want / need more of an explanation. Admittedly, sometimes our best attempts to explain God's plan and purpose and what He chooses to allow just don't seem to fit or satisfy and we run the risk of doing more harm than good. Recognize this as you consider the future posts. Also, please consider all the information presented before deciding on your response.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why Does God Allow Suffering, Pain & Evil?

No one can deny the existence of suffering, pain and evil and, to some extent, each of our lives have been touched and affected by it. In our lifetime, a few examples:
  • ·         9/11/2001 in the U.S. and the terrorist attacks, be-headings and threats that continue to this day.
  • ·         The genocide / “ethnic cleansing” being carried out by many nations.
  • ·         Continued persecution of followers of Jesus around the world.
  • ·         Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, the meteor in Russia not too long ago.
  • ·   _______________________________________________  (chances are you have your own, personal, painful experience(s))

Could God eliminate suffering, pain and evil? The answer is yes. In fact, the Bible begins with an account of creation in Genesis with no suffering, pain or evil, and ends in the book of Revelation with a re-creation, where, once again, there will be no suffering, pain or evil. So what happened? And, why not eliminate it now, instead of waiting?