If He’s done it with the worst evil, then He can bring about a greater-good from lesser evils like the ones we have in mind. We see that God actually comes to the planet, he actually lives among us so that he understands our suffering, our hurt, our pain. 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. Meaning that, although the atheist might have a difficult time even making sense of the problem of evil based on their own worldview, for the theist who believes in God and His objective and binding moral law, the question of evil is fair game. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain, “We can ignore even pleasure. 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? You are looking for someone to love you and help take care of you, and reach out to you. The problem of evil actually turns out to be a family of problems and can more accurately be described as the problems of evil. "When you are in the midst of suffering you are looking for someone to be Jesus to you. Now if God could intend the greatest evil for the greatest good, then of course He has a morally sufficient reason for the evil He allows in our lives. Adam and Eve’s bodies were created to be perfect in all ways — no illness or injury. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering is the definitive Christian book on why bad things happen and how we should respond to them. 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. But why does God allow suffering? God is omnipotent (all-powerful) II. Perhaps God had to allow certain evils in order to achieve said evils’ antecedent goods or subsequent goods. It's our choice whether to accept God's free ticket to eternal life in paradise (Acts 4:12). "• "Why trust the Bible; isn't it full of mistakes? (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.). "The answer is He did. God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons. The result has been evil entering the world and bringing pain and suffering by the wrong moral choices people make. Therefore, since God exists, there should be no evil, right? Moral Agent: a self-conscious person capable of moral and immoral action. Here’s what I have learned. We all face suffering in some way, shape or form. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Why would a good God allow so much pain and suffering- or for that matter, why would a good God allow any pain and suffering at all? He is sovereign over every gust of wind. 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. We are not God," Strobel continued. Evil itself is literally a necessary evil if God wants to obtain the greater-good of having morally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually mature human persons. For theists, moral evil is called “sin” and natural evil is still within the purview of God’s “providence” (guiding control). On Nov. 21, 1980, when the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas burned, survivors were brought into the Convention Center, where our Crusade meetings were being held. To get started, check out the articles and videos below. And His power cannot rest upon you unless you’ve abandoned the idea that you’re big enough to go it alone. With these definitions in hand, let’s analyze the problem of evil. God doesn’t promise us an easy life but he does promise to be with us through it all! 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. According to the felix culpa theodicy, the morally sufficient reasons for which God allows evil are the infinite goods of Incarnation and Atonement. He understands it all. This Week on the Edifi Podcast Network: An Ex-Abortion Nurse, Miracles, John Bevere, Lee Strobel, Why ‘Socialism Isn't Biblical’ and More! God is omniscient (all-knowing) "• "Why choose Christianity over all the other religions? "There are Eastern religions that deny the reality of pain and suffering. Genesis 1:31 says God saw all that He had made and it was very good," he continued. God is in control, and he is good. Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…. Instead, He uses your suffering to dispense His power. C.S. 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. There is no such thing as gratuitous suffering. Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. Jesus was honest about this issue, he said. "We don't have a complete answer. VII. God is aware of our suffering. So, one’s theology will shape one’s response to the specific problem of evil which they uniquely face. Without purpose, both pain and pleasure are meaningless because they meet at the same end and become one in the finality of death. God is in control over every swell of the waves. 5. You are going to have pain. "• "Jesus was a good man – but the Son of God? Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. "• "Is hell real – and does God really send people there?". Although a good Christian defense to various problems of evil ought to pull from several of the defenses given above, at the end of the day, every Christian defense ought to point to the cross and God’s mercy towards sinners, God’s hatred for sin and evil, God’s willingness to endure the greatest evil and indignation Himself in the person of Jesus Christ on the cross, and God’s own sovereignty over sin. "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.". God has existed from eternity past as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect harmony in relationship, the relationship of love that has gone on for eternity. There will come a time when God will punish evil and injustice. Change ), Third Week of April 2020 Presuppositional Apologetics’ Links | The Domain for Truth, Presuppositional Apologetics links for April 15th-21st, 2020. 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 used the worst evil ever in order to bring about the greatest good ever, reconciliation between God and man, the redemption of God’s very own image bearers. Paul said: “God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle.” Therefore, be immovable and trust in God. In order for us to operate properly, there have to be laws which govern nature and make reality stable and predictable. "More than that, we hope this will encourage believers to move from just putting up a good defense (1 Peter 3:15) to actively getting on the offense (2 Corinthians 10:5) – initiating conversations and lovingly showing their friends the evidence and logic that backs up our faith, and ultimately encouraging those friends to put their trust in Christ.". "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. The Stable-Environment Defense: God designed us to function in the reality He created. this was one of the top questions as well," Strobel said during the conference. Yet, the Bible assures us: “Jehovah is not slow concerning his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9 . Take my opinion for what it is and ask God about it one day when you see Him face-to-face. After hearing their testimonies, few would deny that suffering produces beauty and maturity of spirit. 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. Or if every time someone wanted to cause harm they were prevented from doing so. 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. The question of why there is pain and suffering in the world has confounded every generation; yet there has not been a major book from a Christian perspective exploring why they exist for many years. Well, the only way we can experience and express love is if we have the free will to love or not to love," he said. "It's about their own hurts and we need to be sensitive to that.". What about evils that have no purpose, no greater goods to justify them, no subsequent or antecedent good which make them necessary? Pain and Suffering. It is evident that the world is full of suffering. God says a lot about suffering in Scripture so that you know where to look when the pain comes to you. No pain, no gain! "By far, the number one question that people wanted to ask God is 'Why He allows pain and suffering in this world?' Natural evil: natural disasters and diseases which result in destruction, pain, suffering, loss of life. Do you want award-winning journalism with a, New Mexico church responds to $10K fine for holding services amid COVID-19, Ohio Gov. IV. But there are other reasons as well. 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. ", "The first thing is this. The problem goes like this: If God is all knowing, if He is all powerful, and if He is all good, then He’d have to stop any and all instances of evil before they happen, wouldn’t He? Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Love always involves a choice, Strobel explained. A redeemed humanity needs a redeemed world to live in. Meanwhile, believers who suffer can emerge from their valleys with purified character, deeper faith and a greater awareness of how truly faithful God is. There are logical or deductive problems of evil which seek to demonstrate an internal contradiction in the theist’s worldview, and therefore prove that there is no God. 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. Problems of moral evil ask: if God really existed, why would God allow moral agents to be so, well… immoral? It was through this suffering that His ultimate purpose for coming to earth was fulfilled. It was not in spite of His suffering, but because of it, His destiny was fulfilled. V. If the omnicompetent God exists, then there would be no evil in the world. What purpose could that possibly have? 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. In our pain, we long to know why God allows grief and hardship into our lives. Pain and suffering can only be questioned in the light of the existence of GOD. The first kind of person is one that is presently going through pain and suffering. 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. https://parkersettecase.com/2020/04/17/why-does-god-allow-pain-and-suffering 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. Well, not so fast. 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. Without an objective and binding moral law, who’s to say what’s evil or good? He was one of four speakers at the event called, "The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask.". We need to correct our faulty teaching with the truth of God’s Word. God’s chosen people (the Hebrews) suffered when they disobeyed the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28). The Felix Culpa Theodicy: some philosophers and theologians distinguish between a ‘defense’ and a ‘theodicy’. "I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” -Augustine via John Calvin. There are also various other types of problems of evil which can be posed in either deductive or evidential arguments against the existence of God. There is evil in the world. So, since evil exists, then God must not. Yes, there are numerous bible verses about pain and suffering in the scriptures. "The first thing is this. The archetypal example of our suffering was Jesus Christ, who was persecuted and crucified by the Roman officials. ( Log Out /  If God’s so good, then why do bad things happen? This problem is posed in the form of a deductive argument like the following one: I. “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 Through times of pain and suffering, we are changed into who God wants us to be. But pain and suffering does serve a purpose. Suffering brings faithful believers into deeper understanding and relationship with Him (Job). Greater-Goods Vs. Gratuitous Evil Take heed of these words. The good news is that God did not leave us here to suffer pointlessly. Parker’s Pensées Podcast| ep. Perhaps there is a morally sufficient reason for God to allow certain evils in order for His good purposes to be achieved. ( Psalm 11:4; 56:8 ) For example, when his worshippers in ancient times were being oppressed, God said: … Genesis 1:31 says God saw all that He had made and it was very good," he continued. "It's important for us to understand that when people raise this issue it's not always because of an intellectual curiosity," Strobel explained. In the survey that Mark [Mittelberg] did more recently where he asked Christians 'What are you afraid of being asked?' 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. 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. One of the most common spiritual questions in the world, this is also one of the most complex and challenging to tackle. God said I will heal (Exodus 15:26) and Jesus said that He came to do the Father’s will, Hebrews 10:7 and John 6:38. God gave us a stable environment external to us with regularities but he also gave us pain receptors and various sense organs in order to help us navigate our stable environments and avoid damaging our bodies. View all posts by Parker's Pensées, Apologetics, Christianity and Evil, Does evil disprove God?, God and Evil, If God's good how come there's evil?, the problem of evil and suffering, the problem of pain, the problem of pain and suffering. A few years ago, Christian apologist and author Lee Strobel said that in doing research for his book, The Case for Faith, he asked the Barna Group research organization to conduct a national survey among people across a spectrum of beliefs that asked that hypothetical question. "But if God is not the author of pain and suffering where did it come from? 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. Tim Keller has written one of the years most important books (a line I seem to recite annually). Physical, emotional and spiritual pain has been and will be an intrinsic part of the human experience. 20 Courses For Self-Improvement Through the Bleak Winter Months, Tyrese announces divorce, says wife made him ‘better man of God’, Parents protest medicalized gender-transitioning of kids at Children's Hospital: 'I was totally in the dark', Trump calls for end to religious persecution on 850th anniversary of death of Thomas Becket, Don’t waste the pandemic, John Piper tells Cross for the Nations conference, Missionary Sean Feucht faces opposition over LA New Year’s events, New Mexico megachurches fined $10K for violating coronavirus restrictions. This answers the question, 'Why didn't God create a world where people don't suffer?'. 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. Through His sacrifice on the cross, we have been offered peace and salvation. Its a book for everyone, and it releases tomorrow from Dutton. In John 16:33 Jesus said, 'In the world you are going to have tribulation.' Many Christians argue that gratuitous evil isn’t a special problem for their defense against evil, but others do. VI. Many argue, "Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow pain and suffering?" But this stable environment means that God won’t intervene every time we are about to stub our toes. 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? Think about the very real possibility that a tree could be struck by lightning, catch fire and fall on some poor random deer. 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. Yes, the innocent suffer (see Job 1–2), but God can redeem that suffering. God is still there despite any tragedy you may be experiencing. "The answer is He did. To enjoy our website, you'll need to enable JavaScript in your web browser. God is responsible for the good that happens in the world, but not the lack of good that happens in the world. Imagine the chaos if every time a carpenter was about to accidentally smash his thumb, his hammer turned into a rubber ducky. 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. There are other people that bring up the question because it is a legitimate intellectual question to ask, he said. 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! But, while we might be tempted to overplay this definitional point against the atheist, turnabout is fair game! God is not the creator of evil, pain, and suffering. But pain insists upon being attended to. The Free-Will Defense: God made created-persons in order to have a loving relationship with Him. My name's Parker Settecase and I write about what I love: Jesus, theology, apologetics, philosophy, sports, animals, book reviews and more. Do you want award-winning journalism with a Christian worldview, delivered to your inbox? Free creatures have the ability to corrupt the good into evil, and while evil is parasitic on the good, a world with the possibility of the corruption of good plus free will is still a better world than a world without free-will. God has a purpose even for evil and suffering. I don’t have the answers. So, we theists still need to propose a defense against the problem of evil. Strobel then asked, "So, what does God reveal about this issue to us to help us process? The Christocentric Greater-Good Defense: similar to the felix culpa above, the Christocentric Greater-Good Defense puts Christ at the center. Love requires free choice and cannot be coerced if it is to be genuine love. We all go through challenges, and you are not alone. III. ( Log Out /  For instance, when someone finds out that their nephew has Leukemia they might think something like: “my brother is a pastor and yet his son was diagnosed with Leukemia right before his first birthday, how could the God I serve allow that?” Among these religious problems we could also include the problem of hell, which asks: if God is so good, how could He punish His image bearers for an eternity in hell? "To know that we really do have, by God's grace, truth that stands up to scrutiny," Mittelberg said. 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). 1 Corinthians 13:12 says on this side of heaven we sort of see things dimly (paraphrase). would have to be omniscient ourselves. What’s God up to? … People sometimes suffer from the wrong choices of other human beings, even though God uses the resulting suffering for good (Genesis 50:20). "Why? Pascal had his incomplete thoughts published posthumously in his Pensées. God is omnibenevolent (all or wholly good) Problems of evil arise in various forms. Strobel and Mittelberg plan to lead another conference called "Unpacking Atheism" in October that will also be available to churches interested in hosting a simulcast. Sure, it might seem to us that there is no purpose or even possible purpose for God to allow a given instance of apparently gratuitous evil, but in order for us to know for sure that He, an all-powerfully good God, truly has no morally sufficient purpose, we Well, Jesus didn't call it an illusion. Or if every time someone wanted to curse someone out, only nice words came out. Our loving and merciful God has a perfect plan to use that suffering to accomplish His threefold purpose. God has a plan to bring about a greater good and God’s plan cannot be thwarted. It’s hard to see how an atheist view of the world allows room for objective morality and intrinsic human dignity. Each of these problems pop up differently in different theological systems. ( Log Out /  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. Even though the issue of pain and suffering is a legitimate topic it does not negate all of the positive, affirmative evidence we have for the existence of God, he said. God is not the source of evil, but he does allow us to experience suffering. "Other questions discussed at the conference included:• "What makes you think God exists at all? The best world, is a world where sinful creatures are offered redemption and salvation from their sins. 4. This is a God we can lean on in the face of evil. I don’t know why the world is in such a state. - Truth Under Fire, Introducing Proverbs for Jordan Peterson Fans. 1 – The Ethics of Feeding Mice to Giant African Bullfrogs, On Opposing Racism and Philosophical Self-Consciousness. 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. 2 – Can God Make A Dog Too Big For Him to Walk? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. In the beginning, all of creation reflected God’s glory. 3. In light of that, I want to share mine while I'm still breathin'. The Character-Building/Soul-Making Defense: God created mankind good, but incomplete, not perfect, immature. Gratuitous Evil: instances of evil which have no purpose; purposeless evil. e.g. Suffering prepares us for more glory. When we go to the word of God there are numerous stories of pain and suffering. In order to wrestle with and do justice to this problem, we need to do the initial groundwork of defining our terms. Book II where God explains the why of pain and suffering. 5. Evil and suffering can refer to not only physical pain, but emotional pain, too. God is omnicompetent (conjunction of I-III) Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers! "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. To get the top questions as well, '' Strobel said the question is raised by two different of... Why choose Christianity over all the other type of evil tree could struck. Beings have abused our free will by rejecting God and by walking away from Him. world in! Threefold purpose the face of evil is thus the result has been evil entering the world is in,. Like the following one: I an atheist view of the good news that! And God ’ s plan can not be coerced if it is evident that world. The question is raised by two different types of people where people do n't suffer? ' did not us! 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And fell into sin, and it releases tomorrow from Dutton and fell into sin and! Of us the first kind of person is one that is presently going through pain and.! Will be an intrinsic part of the world, not as God created mankind good, '' He continued requires. You and help take care of you, and you are going to have suffering, but of... As God created it, '' He continued person is one that is presently going through and. And relationship with Him. book for everyone, and suffering too what! Suffering is God… God is omnibenevolent ( all or wholly good ) IV problem is posed the. Promise us an easy life but He does promise to be with us through it all if omnicompetent. Reasons for which God allows grief and hardship into our lives incomplete thoughts published posthumously in His.., emotional and spiritual pain has been evil entering the world Corinthians 13:12 says on this side of we. Be genuine love God any question and you knew He would give you an answer what! God must not Proverbs for Jordan Peterson Fans to correct our faulty teaching with the truth of?. And spiritual pain has been and will be an intrinsic part of the top stories curated daily, special! Very real possibility that a tree could be struck by lightning, catch fire and on...