V. If the omnicompetent God exists, then there would be no evil in the world. "We human beings have abused our free will by rejecting God and by walking away from Him." Indeed, Romans 8:28 reads, “Now we know that ALL things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Even all pain and suffering has a purpose, and that purpose is determined by God. ( Psalm 11:4; 56:8 ) For example, when his worshippers in ancient times were being oppressed, God said: … God is responsible for the good that happens in the world, but not the lack of good that happens in the world. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Pain and Suffering. There will come a time when God will punish evil and injustice. VII. 4. (for instance, if a mad scientist creates a tornado to destroy a town, that would not count as natural evil, it would instead be an instance of moral evil.). This answers the question, 'Why didn't God create a world where people don't suffer?' And there are problems of natural evil which ask: why would God allow natural disasters or diseases to cause so much pain, suffering, destruction, and loss of both human and animal life, if He really existed? Because we live in a sin scarred cosmos.". The archetypal example of our suffering was Jesus Christ, who was persecuted and crucified by the Roman officials. Or perhaps God is using such evils to bring about an even greater good. God is not the creator of evil, pain, and suffering. We don't understand everything. In our pain, we long to know why God allows grief and hardship into our lives. On this conception, a ‘defense’ merely seeks to give a possible reason for how evil and God could both coexist and a theodicy seeks to give the specific reason for why God does allow evil. Strobel then asked, "So, what does God reveal about this issue to us to help us process? VI. "But if God is not the author of pain and suffering where did it come from? Pain and suffering can only be questioned in the light of the existence of GOD. Book II where God explains the why of pain and suffering. We all go through challenges, and you are not alone. With free-will comes the ability to love God or turn from God in love of self. Suffering and death in this corrupted world are guaranteed for each of us. What’s God up to? The Christocentric Greater-Good Defense: similar to the felix culpa above, the Christocentric Greater-Good Defense puts Christ at the center. Suffering prepares us for more glory. Consequently, there are differences in approaching the problem of evil depending on whether one is doing it intellectually, in a detached sort of way as we are doing in this article, versus ministering to those in need of compassion. Then Jesus dies on the cross, and in the mystery of faith, all the junk of the world, all the junk that's in our hearts, all the junk that's in our relationships, all of that junk dies with him. So, since evil exists, then God must not. The answer to our fear, stress, pain, and trials is not to merely stand tall and wait for the storm to pass, but to remember that God is in control and he is good. The Privation Defense: a subset of the free-will defense, this defense says that evil is a corruption of the good. Mittelberg told The Christian Post before the conference that he and the other speakers wanted to instill in Christians the confidence that not only is the Christian faith true, but it is also defensible. "But if God is not the author of pain and suffering where did it come from? There is no such thing as gratuitous suffering. "• "Jesus was a good man – but the Son of God? God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons. Ask Dr. Land: Why are people so excited by the arrival of a New Year? Maybe a theist, might be able to argue that God has a purpose for allowing certain instances of evil in the world, but aren’t there are some examples of evil that are just pure brute evil, evil for which there is no justifying purpose? The Character-Building/Soul-Making Defense: God created mankind good, but incomplete, not perfect, immature. Take heed of these words. "But, I believe that God has revealed enough to us that we do have enough of a satisfactory answer to minister to our hearts and souls to this particular question.". The result has been evil entering the world and bringing pain and suffering by the wrong moral choices people make. Since they don’t believe in a transcendent, all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing Law-Giver like God, it’s hard for them to make sense of a transcendent, objective, and binding moral law. In the survey that Mark [Mittelberg] did more recently where he asked Christians 'What are you afraid of being asked?' If God’s so good, then why do bad things happen? But what most Christian responses to the problems of evil have in common is an appeal to some greater-good defense, that is, that God has some morally sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist. God is not the source of evil, but he does allow us to experience suffering. ( Log Out /  "Why? In order to wrestle with and do justice to this problem, we need to do the initial groundwork of defining our terms. Lee Strobel: Why Does God Allow Pain, Suffering? Walking with God through Pain and Suffering is the definitive Christian book on why bad things happen and how we should respond to them. Natural evil: natural disasters and diseases which result in destruction, pain, suffering, loss of life. Gratuitous evil, or purposeless evil, seems to pose an immediate problem for greater-good defenses. Pain and suffering is the process through which God transformed Jesus and his followers, and pain and suffering is the process through which God transforms you and me. "The first thing is this. But why does God allow suffering? He was one of four speakers at the event called, "The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask.". Many argue, "Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow pain and suffering?" They just try to wipe it away by saying it's all an illusion. But evil does exist. "To know that we really do have, by God's grace, truth that stands up to scrutiny," Mittelberg said. 1 – The Ethics of Feeding Mice to Giant African Bullfrogs, On Opposing Racism and Philosophical Self-Consciousness. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Strobel spoke about the results of that survey at an apologetics conference Saturday from Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and simulcast to more than 75 churches throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Love requires free choice and cannot be coerced if it is to be genuine love. Adam and Eve’s bodies were created to be perfect in all ways — no illness or injury. Paul said: “God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle.” Therefore, be immovable and trust in God. It was not in spite of His suffering, but because of it, His destiny was fulfilled. Jesus was honest about this issue, he said. He would know about all evil if He’s all knowing, He would be able to stop all evil if He’s all powerful, and He would want to stop all evil if He’s all good. God has a plan to bring about a greater good and God’s plan cannot be thwarted. God never allows pain without a purpose. "The answer is He did. So, God gave angels and humans free-will. Ironically, we would have to be God in order for us to know that there is no purpose God could have for allowing an instance of apparently purposeless evil. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says on this side of heaven we sort of see things dimly (paraphrase). C.S. Or, put more strongly, perhaps this purposeless evil can be used in a deductive gratuitous problem of evil to show that since there is purposeless evil, God does not exist. If you could ask God any question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask Him? God’s chosen people (the Hebrews) suffered when they disobeyed the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28). Therefore, the omnicompetent God does not exist. At the Cross of Christ, we see that God used the greatest evil in cosmic history, the wrongful conviction and crucifixion of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, in order to bring about the greatest good in all of human history, Salvation for anyone who repents and trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. This answers the question, 'Why didn't God create a world where people don't suffer?'. If we turn toward God in our pain, He can use our suffering to mature our faith. Do you want award-winning journalism with a, New Mexico church responds to $10K fine for holding services amid COVID-19, Ohio Gov. Not prompted by moral agents. There are also evidential or inductive problems of evil which seek to demonstrate that the vast weight of the evidence of evil in the world leads to the conclusion that there probably is no God. According to the felix culpa theodicy, the morally sufficient reasons for which God allows evil are the infinite goods of Incarnation and Atonement. But, while we might be tempted to overplay this definitional point against the atheist, turnabout is fair game! This is a God we can lean on in the face of evil. The book of Job shows us there can be two ways to respond to suffering: one that curses God because of suffering and one that praises God, even in the midst of suffering (Job 2:9–10). Or if every time someone wanted to curse someone out, only nice words came out. A defense might argue that there’s a morally sufficient reason for God to permit evil, a theodicy seeks to give that morally sufficient reason. He is sovereign over every gust of wind. God is omniscient (all-knowing) God has a purpose even for evil and suffering. These greater-good defenses come in all different shapes and sizes: The Best-Possible-World Defense: God has created the best possible world that He could have, and in order for there to be some of the goods that God wanted to create, there had to be some evil as well, but all in all, it’s better for Him to have created, even with evil, than for Him to not have created anything good at all. God says a lot about suffering in Scripture so that you know where to look when the pain comes to you. "• "Why choose Christianity over all the other religions? "When God reached a decision He wanted to create humankind He wanted humankind to experience this greatest value in the universe, which is the value of love. God is in control over every swell of the waves. We are not God," Strobel continued. Pascal had his incomplete thoughts published posthumously in his Pensées. What we’ve just stumbled upon is known as The Problem of Evil and it’s been around ever since the first human stubbed their toe- maybe even before that! The Stable-Environment Defense: God designed us to function in the reality He created. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth” ( Isaiah 53:1-7 ). God doesn’t promise us an easy life but he does promise to be with us through it all! It was through this suffering that His ultimate purpose for coming to earth was fulfilled. God is omnicompetent (conjunction of I-III) - Truth Under Fire, Introducing Proverbs for Jordan Peterson Fans. Instead, He uses your suffering to dispense His power. It's our choice whether to accept God's free ticket to eternal life in paradise (Acts 4:12). Greater-Goods Vs. Gratuitous Evil III. And His power cannot rest upon you unless you’ve abandoned the idea that you’re big enough to go it alone. It's common to wonder if our suffering is God… Evil and suffering can refer to not only physical pain, but emotional pain, too. Evil is thus the result of free-will, but a world with free-will is still a better world than a world without it. God promises a time when there will be no more crying, no more tears, no more pain and suffering, when we will be reunited with God in perfect harmony, forever. would have to be omniscient ourselves. Either way, a Christian can respond to the problem of gratuitous evil by arguing that we can’t know that there really are any cases of truly gratuitous, purposeless evil. Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…. ( Log Out /  People sometimes suffer from the wrong choices of other human beings, even though God uses the resulting suffering for good (Genesis 50:20). "I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” -Augustine via John Calvin. Without an objective and binding moral law, who’s to say what’s evil or good? DeWine signs law requiring burial, cremation of aborted babies, 'We are going to survive': 5 ways the Church is innovating amid COVID-19, Mental illness and helping the Church not to overspiritualize it. I don’t have the answers. Change ), Third Week of April 2020 Presuppositional Apologetics’ Links | The Domain for Truth, Presuppositional Apologetics links for April 15th-21st, 2020. The good news is that God did not leave us here to suffer pointlessly. Strobel said the question is raised by two different types of people. Tim Keller has written one of the years most important books (a line I seem to recite annually). This Week on the Edifi Podcast Network: An Ex-Abortion Nurse, Miracles, John Bevere, Lee Strobel, Why ‘Socialism Isn't Biblical’ and More! Imagine the chaos if every time a carpenter was about to accidentally smash his thumb, his hammer turned into a rubber ducky. We see that God actually comes to the planet, he actually lives among us so that he understands our suffering, our hurt, our pain. II. this was one of the top questions as well," Strobel said during the conference. Or if every time someone wanted to cause harm they were prevented from doing so. Physical, emotional and spiritual pain has been and will be an intrinsic part of the human experience. When we expect God to deal with pain and suffering by taking it away every time, we set ourselves up for anxiety and resentment and disappointment and unhappiness, and even depression and despair. God doesn’t remove us from pain and suffering, but ultimately, the Bible promises that God has and will finally defeat evil. There are other people that bring up the question because it is a legitimate intellectual question to ask, he said. purpose of pain and suffering in life: experiences of pain, suffering or betrayal are also part of life and during one’s life time everyone has to pass through it trust me, they have a very meaningful rule to play in our life. In order for mankind to grow in character, perfection, and/or reach completion, humans need to endure hardships, trials, tribulations, and overcome them, including evil. He understands it all. "• "Is hell real – and does God really send people there?". There has to be cause and effect. God continually uses evil to destroy itself, and so we remember the cross, where God publicly displayed the death of death and the beginning of the end for evil. Well, Jesus didn't call it an illusion. That may sound good at first, but proponents of this defense argue that God’s constant intervention would actually destroy both our stable environment and our ability to reason and make predictions in it, and they argue that if God constantly intervened to stop malicious actions, speech, and thoughts, then human free-will would be destroyed. This new year, let’s remember how to live healthy, 12 things to know about the new Paycheck Protection Program, Lee Strobel: We're on Cusp of Golden Era of Apologetics, Interview: Apologist on Mov't to Bring Apologetics Back to Church, Christian Apologetics Student Group Gains Ground at Universities, Christian Apologists to Tackle Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask, Five New Year’s Resolutions to Help Reverse Error in the Church, A Different Perspective on Pain and Suffering. Genesis 1:31 says God saw all that He had made and it was very good," he continued. It is evident that the world is full of suffering. When we go to the word of God there are numerous stories of pain and suffering. A world with evil is a world with the possibility for the atoning work of Jesus on the cross and his incarnation which makes atonement possible. As we set out to defend against the problem of evil from a Christian-theistic worldview, it’s important for us to consider what philosopher-theologian, John Feinberg, notes in his book The Many Faces of Evil, namely that there is no single “problem of evil”. There is evil in the world. Another point made by Strobel on the topic is that although suffering is not good, "God can use it to accomplish good. His newest Walking with God through Pain and Suffering is a wise, Christ-centered, comforting book for readers who hurt, and offers counsel to readers who anticipate future suffering. “If God were small enough to be understood, he wouldn’t be big enough to be worshipped.” —Evelyn Underhill357” ― Timothy Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering That means that our pain is not an accident. Here’s what I have learned. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. I don’t know why the world is in such a state. Parker’s Pensées Podcast: ep. "When someone is raising this issue with me and I know they are coming from that perspective I know that they really don't want the long, intellectual answer about why God allows pain and suffering," he said. In order for us to operate properly, there have to be laws which govern nature and make reality stable and predictable. 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