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)

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