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If God is all powerful and loving, why is there suffering in the world?

Discussion in 'Seeking Jesus' started by Chad, Feb 5, 2015.

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  1. by Matt Slick

    It is often asked why is there suffering in the world if God is all powerful and loving. Why doesn't He stop it? Can He or is He weaker than we think? Suffering can fall into three simple categories: emotional, mental, and physical suffering. But, there are a variety of causes for suffering: morally corrupt (evil) people, disease, earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.

    There are different explanations for why God allows suffering, but none of them can satisfy everyone. Therefore, I will simply list various reasons offered to account for suffering and evil in the world.
    1. Free will
      1. God has given us freedom of choice. Having this freedom means that we can rebel against God and make choices that are contrary to His desires. Since we can say that evil is anything contrary to God's perfect and holy will, then anyone who chooses anything contrary to God's perfection is committing evil. But this is the risk of being able to have freedom of choice. Evil and suffering are the result of making bad free choices.
      2. But how could this account for natural disasters and sickness that brings suffering? Biblically, Adam represented not only all of his descendents, but he was also the head of the created order since he was given dominion over the earth. Therefore, when he fell, sin entered into the world (Rom. 5:12) and with it the effects of being fallen spread to the earth as well as to humanity.
    2. God cannot stop evil and suffering because He is powerless
      1. Of course, this does not stand up to biblical truth. God allows evil to occur partly for reasons we do know and partly for those we do not. We know that God uses evil to discipline people (Prov. 3:11) and to teach them (Prov. 15:32). But we cannot know all the reasons that God has for allowing evil and suffering in the world. It is not logically necessary that since God has not stopped evil and suffering in the world, that He cannot. God could be using suffering for His divine plan, in order to teach, for discipline, because people are free, etc. The existence of suffering does not at all mean that God cannot stop all of it. It means that He simply has chosen not to do so.
    3. How much evil should be stopped?
      1. The question of stopping evil means that if God is to stop evil, then He must stop all evil. This means that the murderer must be stopped along with the thief. But it also means that thinking evil, which is in rebellion against God, must also be stopped as well; that is, if all evil is to be stopped. Therefore, for God to stop evil and suffering may very well mean that He must remove the ability for people to freely choose what they want to do. So, if God is going to stop evil, is He required to stop all of it or just some of it? If only some of it, then the question would still stand. If He stops all of it, would we be free?
    4. Prevention of further evil
      1. It is possible that human suffering (cancer, disease, etc.) can be a means that God uses to remove the person from further suffering, worse suffering, or future suffering. Of course, this does not seem to be a very good option because if God was intending to stop further suffering, why would He use suffering to stop it? Also, what about floods and earthquakes that cause suffering? How would they fit into God decreasing or stopping suffering except perhaps by people's deaths which ends suffering? This is difficult to answer. Though it may be that God might use some suffering to prevent even greater suffering, this explanation cannot answer all issues concerning it.
    5. For the greater plan
      1. Undoubtedly, God has a plan. Since God knows all things He is not surprised by the presence of evil and sin in the world that brings about suffering. But if God knows all things from all eternity, then He is perfectly capable of using suffering in the world in His greater plan. The best and simplest example of this is the suffering of Christ at the hands of evil men. It is by Christ's suffering and death on the cross that we are able to be redeemed. It was God's plan from all eternity that Christ die for our sins yet Christ was crucified by evil people (Acts 4:27-28). This means that God had incorporated into His divine plan the reality of evil and suffering in order to accomplish His will. Of course, this does not mean that God is the author of evil, but it does mean that God is above it all and can use it to accomplish a greater good. If this is true on a large-scale, why cannot it also be true on a smaller one in each of our individual lives?
    6. For discipline and instruction
      1. The Bible tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves (Heb. 12:6) and that no true child of God is without discipline and instruction. It is obvious that the results of our rebellion against God brings suffering and it is also true that we can learn through our suffering that such rebellion is bad. We then could glorify God during and after our suffering by proclaiming the truth of His word that urges us to follow God and His ways.
        Sometimes we learn our greatest lessons after having suffered the consequences of our actions -- and this is good. If we see that there are consequences through the acts of suffering in this world, it is logical to conclude that there will be suffering in the next as a consequence of our rebellion now. This could easily lead us to conclude that we need to be delivered from our rebellion against God. Of course, Jesus is the answer to this.
    7. It is the result of sin
      1. Biblically speaking, pain and suffering are the results of sin in the world. Adam, who represented all humanity as well as creation, rebelled against God and brought suffering into the world (Rom. 5:12). Sin is more than simple rebellion and breaking of God's law. It is permeating throughout all of God's creation bringing imbalance, famine, earthquakes, disease, etc. This does not mean that God created evil. Instead, it is God who is allowing evil and suffering to continue for His divine plan.
    8. To serve as a warning
      1. Evil and suffering in the world can serve as a warning against breaking God's law and then people can see the necessity of following God's truth. God's ways are right and good and following them leads to security and safety. The consequences of disobeying God's word are manifested in suffering. Therefore, suffering in the world easily serves as a demonstration of the need to follow God's words thereby vindicating what God has said
    9. To make a point
      1. It is possible that God is simply allowing evil and suffering in the world to prove that rebellion against Him brings pain and suffering. God may be allowing sin to take its natural course in the world so that on the day of judgment God can say "Do you see what rebellion against my words brings?" This may seem overly simplistic but it may prove to be one of the reasons that God allows pain and suffering. After all, did He not make us in His image and give us the freedom to choose? And in our freedom have we not rebelled? Yes, we have. Should God then make us robots or restrict our freedom so much that we have no choices at all? Of course not. But since we are limited in our knowledge and have used our freedom to rebel, God allows us to have what we desire and in the end, our sins will prove that God's way is the right way.
    10. To serve as a means to bring the Son
      1. The death of the Son is the means by which God has redeemed those who would receive Jesus. This death cannot occur if Jesus were not a man. In order to be a man he had to be born as one. But since Jesus was sinless, death has no power over Him. Therefore, in order to die and in order to redeem us, His death must be at the hands of evil people. But, without sin, suffering, and evil in the world, Jesus could not have been sent to the cross. So, it could be said that suffering in the world is necessary in order to bring about the cross which in turn demonstrates the great and awesome love of God. Jesus said that the greatest act of love is to lay one's life down for another (John 15:13). If God is love (1 John 4:8) and love gives (John 3:16), can it be that God must demonstrate the greatest act of love? If so, it can only be done through suffering in the world.
    11. We don't know.
      1. Biblically speaking, pain and suffering are the results of sin in the world. Adam, who represented all humanity as well as creation, rebelled against God and brought suffering into the world. This sin is more than simple rebellion and breaking of God's law. It is an offense against a holy God. Sin is permeating throughout all of God's creation bringing imbalance, famine, earthquakes, disease, etc. This is not how God created things but it is God who is allowing them to continue for his divine plan. Ultimately, we can't know all the reasons why God allows suffering, we just know that He does.
    What does the Bible tell us that God has done about evil? It tells us that he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins and to deliver us from pain and suffering. Ultimately, God is allowing evil in the world for a purpose, otherwise, he would not let it exist. Therefore, we must trust Him that He knows what He is doing.
     
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  2. Chad I like this post because it brings me in a place with the Lord that I have so many questions but am comforted by knowing He is sovereign. This in not an out from not pursuing answers and I believe / know He is willing to reveal more and more of Himself as we seek Him.
    Somethings to ponder:
    Why does He allow hurt pain and suffering?
    How does God have mercy on the evil of this world?
    Our God is infinite, as humans we can't grasp infinitude, too much time with it and your head will explode :)
    Infinite, No beginning no end Alpha and Omega, Never changing, the yesterday today and forever.
    We repeat these things over and over but do we really grasp what they mean?
    Being infinite is not just infinite concerning time but in every attribute of Him.
    Love is an attribute of God it is not something He does it is something He is and He is infinite.
    God's grace is infinite as is His mercy, Holiness, immensity, goodness, ect.......(I can't name all His attributes)
    He is also infinitely perfect <<<<< some thing else I have a problem with grasping.
    He is never less nor more bigger or smaller He is 100% of all His attribute if not He could not be God
    God is not bound or confined by laws.... I am not trying to put Him in a box.
    But closest way I can come to give for an understanding of the why questions of God (I pray you ask Him)
    Is to imagine a big Sudoku puzzle with all God's attributes and actions being placed perfectly that not one compromises the other.

    Please forgive the rambling,

    My beautiful Savior
    Redeemer of my soul
    All the times I am broken
    You always leave me whole
    Mysteries in what You do
    Things I do not understand
    It's because You are God
    And I am just a man
     
  3. original creation had no evil - He gave us a perfect world. We are the ones who messed it up, not Him.
     
  4. greetings in the Lord;
    simply replying to the question of the OP; If God is all powerful and loving; why is there suffering in the world?
    who has been given power in the world?

    He (God) counts me worthy to suffer for His names sake. Amen
    No matter what state I am in; therewith being content.
    I (we) are more than an overcomer through Christ, who strengthens me (us).
    Not that we are strong in Him; but that HE is strong in us. To all who believe and receive that God is above ALL and all things are below Him. There is no higher power than of God. Amen. Knowing this, I can rejoice when the devil is sent to try my faith.

    Do we have faith in self or in God?
    Are we confident in self or in God?
    Are we a soldier in self or in God?
    Are we born again in self or in God?

    All praise, glory and honor be to God. Amen
     
  5. Deut. 28 talks about both the curse and the blessing...........
    The curse holds every evil you could imangine. The curse did not fall into play in this earth until the first adam fell and opened the door unto it. So the evil was released into this earth, even the ground was cursed.

    In Deut 30 we find where God explains His offer utno man. Choose His ways and live above the curse under His blessing and if you pick your way then the curse and all it offers is your future.
    God left this choice to man......God also placed a lot of things concerning this earth into the hands of man.

    God hates evil and sin because it destroys man. You love your friend but then your friend gets cancer....You still love your friend but you really hate that cancer,,,Why ? Because it is trying to destroy your friend. I said this BECAUSE God does not and will not use evil or sickness to control or correct or lead or teach man anything. God did say He can work GOOD in all things to those WEHO LOOVE HIM and are CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.. Thats me and thats you. What the evil or devil meant for destruction God can use it as a stepping stone.........if you are walking in His ways.....God never uses or causes any kind of evil in a beleivers life....
     
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  6. Suffering brings the believer even closer to God; we are being perfected in obedience to God.
    Suffering causes one to CRY OUT Abba Father.
    When we are in obedience of God; we are walking in His perfect will. For we are now walking in the Spirit of God and His will and not our own. We go about our day laboring for God; not self. We go about our day being the professional He has called us to be; working good on the left hand, as well as the right.

    God never walks away from us; we walk away from Him. We get ourselves in a mess (because we yielded to the lust of the flesh and the pride of life) and forgot from whence we came; God delivered us from this mess, and we went right back to the same mess. Oh, yeah, my Lord, my God, I remember why I seek you and your goodness now; because I wasn't happy with this life and I wanted a more abundant life in You.

    Suffering keeps us humble and CRYING OUT Abba Father. When I (we) are weak, HE is strong. Least a person go to thinking more of themselves then they ought to; or forget where God has delivered them from. God will remind us why we belong to HIM.

    Our suffering is a gift of God's grace being found in our weakest moment, in our darkest hour.
     
  7. #7 Brighthouse, Sep 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2016
    Well lets not push it Sister raga4aCrown!!! LOL Hebrews 12:11, Rom 8:18,and 1 Peter 1:6 hehe while very true some suffering is caused by ourselves! Sometimes like myself, one became can harden ones heart in an area of our life,i sure have!! LOL At least none of us are alone in doing that!!( Mark 6:52 and Mark 8:17-21) verse 21 is hopefully the result from ones suffering! Do you not yet understand??

    Sure do now Lord!! LOL Hopefully as my sister rightly stated the idea of suffering is to draw nearer to the Lord,not further away from him! But is so important at least to me, to know why!! If for the Gospel sake?? Cool!!! That is never a problem.But if for some other reason, then I have to know,so I, like our brother Job, I can become instructed, instead of looking to instruct!!( job 40:6-8) hence then we repent!( job 42:1-6) WISE!! hehe Anytime we look to have Jesus follow us,we suffer! thanks for that reminder sister!!
     
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  8. In a psychological sense; when a person chases the world's wisdom / definition of good the sabator (sp) in us (Adamite man) takes over. That is the way we are in the world. We "Suffer" when we turn from that which men of the world call knowledge and accept what we do not fully master or understand.. by that knowledge. We must jump the bridge of worldly wisdom and look upward to heaven where the real knowledge is.Then that suffering becomes sweet as we are new in Him. We become a new creature born again. However, the old Adamite man returns every once In awhile courtesy of the prince of the air, and we all know who that is, don't we? Oh, he is convincing if you are not buffer by HIM. Even if buffered we are tempted and when tempted we first suffer and hurt the then that suffering becomes sweet again as we are surrendering to His chastisement. This scenario is for two reasons, I believe; it renews our hope and it is God's way of only getting the tried and true in heaven. He does not want be to be EVER challenged the way the top angel did just before the fall. Don't worry he will never kick us out.Take heart bothers and sisters. Stay strong in the Lord. Trust in Him ALL the time and do not be discouraged for He has overcome the world and He will remind you He did if you let Him in. Rejoice when we suffer in HIM; hope and joy comes in the morning..
     
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  9. If you can't find Him, stop what you are doing and He will come find you.
     
  10. If we cannot find him, we are to search for him!! LOL because Jesus knows where we are!! Jesus hides!! ( Isaiah 45:15!!) The wise in Christ Jesus DILIGENTLY seek!! hehe ( Proverbs 8:17) The lesson of HIS Wisdom! ( Proverbs 8:32-36) but the whole chapter is a great lesson!
     
  11. Why is it that sometimes God will force someone to their knees? Why would traumatic events be allowed? It's just breaking the person
     
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  12. Traumatic event being allowed as in by who ? What exactly are you applying here ?
    Thank you and have a great new year
    James
     
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  13. To pass the litmus test; that you will be good company in Heaven. God don't want not one around that might rebel against Him the way satan did. He did give us free will for just for THAT reason.
     
  14. Why would God allow traumatic events?i do have personal experiences, but I was just talking about "blanket" traumatic events (all of them) Happy new year.
    ud
     
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  15. That is what I thought but wanted to be sure before I said anything. There are a lot of events and things that happen in this earth that God has nothing to do with but it is people who claim it was God.
    If you would like we could dig into all this but I do not want to take your post in the wrong direction.
    Thank you for the Happy New year and I pray your day is filled with the Love of God big time.
    James
     
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  16. This is quite a reply and could even be humorous until you see that is says God allows or lets bad things happen to test you to see if He wants you hanging around heaven with Him. That is not even scriptural nor the charactor of God.
    Blessings
    James
     
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  17. I would like to dig more into this. I know that some events were not caused by God. I'm confused as to why he allowed them to happen. They wouldn't have happened if he didn't want it to.
    Thank you. Same to you.
     
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  18. I would bet my soul on it. One must go by the spirit of God's words or the words decreases in value. Faith without works is dead.
     
  19. That is why He gave us free will. He loves us so much that he corrects us because He wants His creation in Heaven with Him. It is up to the saved person to Harkin to His chastening. If you really love God....., His SON ...and as well as the Holy Spirit you will be quiet and listen to His wisdom. It's the worlds wisdom or Gods wisdom It is all reactively easy and a done deal when I think about it all..I have grieved the helper....Holy Spirit so much. But, God never never never, did I say never, will left me and He will not leave you holding the bag. Caution,try not to sin consciously, it's dangerous. Your sins of omission is more than enough for the day to Anger God, and you do want that to continue to sin here. He will still love you but if you love someone you stay with them through the valley too and it works both ways. I will just say that when I think about how I grieved HIM it really hurts me to know that I did that and I WILL not do it again.
     
  20. God doesn't even need a "litmus test." He already knows who will be with him in heaven. How am I suppose to understand things if I'm to "be quiet"? Plus, you have absolutely no idea what I'm going through. Who said it was my fault?
     
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