"• "Why choose Christianity over all the other religions? "By far, the number one question that people wanted to ask God is 'Why He allows pain and suffering in this world?' Even if He had some sort of reason for allowing some evil, certainly He wouldn’t have to allow so much! https://parkersettecase.com/2020/04/17/why-does-god-allow-pain-and-suffering You are looking for someone to love you and help take care of you, and reach out to you. Without purpose, both pain and pleasure are meaningless because they meet at the same end and become one in the finality of death. Jesus was honest about this issue, he said. "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. 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. 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. Genesis 1:31 says God saw all that He had made and it was very good," he continued. Through times of pain and suffering, we are changed into who God wants us to be. My name's Parker Settecase and I write about what I love: Jesus, theology, apologetics, philosophy, sports, animals, book reviews and more. Not prompted by moral agents. 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’s so good, then why do bad things happen? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Evil is thus the result of free-will, but a world with free-will is still a better world than a world without it. Parker’s Pensées Podcast| ep. Strobel then asked, "So, what does God reveal about this issue to us to help us process? I don’t even know why God allows it to continue. 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. The Felix Culpa Theodicy: some philosophers and theologians distinguish between a ‘defense’ and a ‘theodicy’. God is omnipotent (all-powerful) And His power cannot rest upon you unless you’ve abandoned the idea that you’re big enough to go it alone. Pascal had his incomplete thoughts published posthumously in his Pensées. Pain and Suffering. VI. It is evident that the world is full of suffering. This is a weaker conclusion than the deductive problem. Greater-Goods Vs. Gratuitous Evil 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. God has a purpose even for evil and suffering. ( Log Out /  "• "Jesus was a good man – but the Son of God? Here’s what I have learned. We see this biblical truth illustrated through the persecuted church. He tackled the tough question of pain and suffering during one of several sessions that featured Mttelberg, who is his co-founder along with Strobel of The Institute at Cherry Hills, an apologetics and evangelism ministry, and scholars Craig Hazen and Douglas Groothuis. Moral Agent: a self-conscious person capable of moral and immoral action. “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 God is in control, and he is good. Isn’t it time for the pain and suffering to stop? If you could ask God any question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask Him? Well, not so fast. This answers the question, 'Why didn't God create a world where people don't suffer?'. Pain and suffering was not present. 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? Pain and suffering can only be questioned in the light of the existence of GOD. 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. Suffering prepares us for more glory. God is responsible for the good that happens in the world, but not the lack of good that happens in the world. 3. Therefore, the omnicompetent God does not exist. 5. We all go through challenges, and you are not alone. Perhaps God had to allow certain evils in order to achieve said evils’ antecedent goods or subsequent goods. 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. "When you are in the midst of suffering you are looking for someone to be Jesus to you. 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! You are going to have suffering," Strobel insisted. 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 God says a lot about suffering in Scripture so that you know where to look when the pain comes to you. Physical, emotional and spiritual pain has been and will be an intrinsic part of the human experience. God’s chosen people (the Hebrews) suffered when they disobeyed the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28). But there are other reasons as well. 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. 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. Perhaps there is a morally sufficient reason for God to allow certain evils in order for His good purposes to be achieved. 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. 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. "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. 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. Why is there pain and suffering in the world? So, one’s theology will shape one’s response to the specific problem of evil which they uniquely face. 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. 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? "The first thing is this. Meanwhile, believers who suffer can emerge from their valleys with purified character, deeper faith and a greater awareness of how truly faithful God is. God is omnibenevolent (all or wholly good) would have to be omniscient ourselves. That means that our pain is not an accident. Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…. This is a God we can lean on in the face of evil. It’s hard to see how an atheist view of the world allows room for objective morality and intrinsic human dignity. "To know that we really do have, by God's grace, truth that stands up to scrutiny," Mittelberg said. So, we theists still need to propose a defense against the problem of evil. Or if every time someone wanted to curse someone out, only nice words came out. But pain insists upon being attended to. But evil does exist. God never allows pain without a purpose. That very well may have happened at least once in the history of the world. "But if God is not the author of pain and suffering where did it come from? 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. Yes, the innocent suffer (see Job 1–2), but God can redeem that suffering. In our pain, we long to know why God allows grief and hardship into our lives. "The answer is He did. He is sovereign over every gust of wind. It was not in spite of His suffering, but because of it, His destiny was fulfilled. God is in control over every swell of the waves. When you or someone close to you is suffering, it is easy to conclude that God is slow to act, that he should have intervened by now. In order to wrestle with and do justice to this problem, we need to do the initial groundwork of defining our terms. 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 . What’s God up to? Well, Jesus didn't call it an illusion. We see that God actually comes to the planet, he actually lives among us so that he understands our suffering, our hurt, our pain. 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. With free-will comes the ability to love God or turn from God in love of self. God is not the source of evil, but he does allow us to experience suffering. Parker’s Pensées Podcast: ep. We are not God," Strobel continued. Therefore, since God exists, there should be no evil, right? In the survey that Mark [Mittelberg] did more recently where he asked Christians 'What are you afraid of being asked?' Do you want award-winning journalism with a Christian worldview, delivered to your inbox? It's common to wonder if our suffering is God… 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). 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. Love requires free choice and cannot be coerced if it is to be genuine love. Evil and suffering can refer to not only physical pain, but emotional pain, too. We all face suffering in some way, shape or form. The Privation Defense: a subset of the free-will defense, this defense says that evil is a corruption of the good. God is still there despite any tragedy you may be experiencing. God is omniscient (all-knowing) II. "• "Is hell real – and does God really send people there?". 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? Lee Strobel: Why Does God Allow Pain, Suffering? The first kind of person is one that is presently going through pain and suffering. But this stable environment means that God won’t intervene every time we are about to stub our toes. In the beginning, all of creation reflected God’s glory. "It's important for us to understand that when people raise this issue it's not always because of an intellectual curiosity," Strobel explained. Problems of moral evil ask: if God really existed, why would God allow moral agents to be so, well… immoral? - Truth Under Fire, Introducing Proverbs for Jordan Peterson Fans. The result has been evil entering the world and bringing pain and suffering by the wrong moral choices people make. We need to correct our faulty teaching with the truth of God’s Word. God is omnicompetent (conjunction of I-III) Because we live in a sin scarred cosmos.". Change ), Third Week of April 2020 Presuppositional Apologetics’ Links | The Domain for Truth, Presuppositional Apologetics links for April 15th-21st, 2020. There are also problems of the amount of evil which ask: why would God allow so much evil in the world if He really existed. this was one of the top questions as well," Strobel said during the conference. "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.". Then there’s the problem of gratuitous evil which focuses in on “purposeless” evil. Many Christians argue that gratuitous evil isn’t a special problem for their defense against evil, but others do. I don’t know why the world is in such a state. "This is a sin-corrupted world, not as God created it," he said. The problem of evil actually turns out to be a family of problems and can more accurately be described as the problems of evil. This Week on the Edifi Podcast Network: An Ex-Abortion Nurse, Miracles, John Bevere, Lee Strobel, Why ‘Socialism Isn't Biblical’ and More! C.S. “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 ). Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. 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. 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. 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. The good news is that God did not leave us here to suffer pointlessly. Imagine the chaos if every time a carpenter was about to accidentally smash his thumb, his hammer turned into a rubber ducky. God doesn’t promise us an easy life but he does promise to be with us through it all! Healing is Promised, Not Pain and Suffering from Diseases. 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. 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? He understands it all. Tim Keller has written one of the years most important books (a line I seem to recite annually). Yes, there are numerous bible verses about pain and suffering in the scriptures. Many argue, "Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow pain and suffering?" It's our choice whether to accept God's free ticket to eternal life in paradise (Acts 4:12). What purpose could that possibly have? If we turn toward God in our pain, He can use our suffering to mature our faith. 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. "But if God is not the author of pain and suffering where did it come from? 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. 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. But why does God allow suffering? Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Genesis 1:31 says God saw all that He had made and it was very good," he continued. You are going to have pain. I don’t have the answers. From the very start of human suffering, not a single teardrop has gone unnoticed by Jehovah, * whose “watchful eyes” see everything. "We don't have a complete answer. 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. God is aware of our suffering. … 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. They just try to wipe it away by saying it's all an illusion. This answers the question, 'Why didn't God create a world where people don't suffer?' God is not the creator of evil, pain, and 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. People sometimes suffer from the wrong choices of other human beings, even though God uses the resulting suffering for good (Genesis 50:20). Strobel said the question is raised by two different types of people. For theists, moral evil is called “sin” and natural evil is still within the purview of God’s “providence” (guiding control). Please click here to learn how. 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. In order for us to operate properly, there have to be laws which govern nature and make reality stable and predictable. ", "The first thing is this. Each of these problems pop up differently in different theological systems. When we go to the word of God there are numerous stories of pain and suffering. Or perhaps God is using such evils to bring about an even greater good. "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.". 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. VII. Its a book for everyone, and it releases tomorrow from Dutton. To enjoy our website, you'll need to enable JavaScript in your web browser. God has a plan to bring about a greater good and God’s plan cannot be thwarted. Gratuitous evil, or purposeless evil, seems to pose an immediate problem for greater-good defenses. If life is purposeless, complaining about pain and suffering is ludicrous. To get started, check out the articles and videos below. So, God gave angels and humans free-will. 5. No pain, no gain! "There are Eastern religions that deny the reality of pain and suffering. Think about the very real possibility that a tree could be struck by lightning, catch fire and fall on some poor random deer. Satan abused his free-will and fell into sin, and in turn, he coerced humans into doing the same. From the movie Oh, God! (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.). 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. 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. This problem is posed in the form of a deductive argument like the following one: I. God doesn’t remove us from pain and suffering, but ultimately, the Bible promises that God has and will finally defeat evil. Suffering brings faithful believers into deeper understanding and relationship with Him (Job). 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. But pain and suffering does serve a purpose. 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. God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons. Bible verses about pain and suffering Paul said: “God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle.” Therefore, be immovable and trust in God. One of the most common spiritual questions in the world, this is also one of the most complex and challenging to tackle. The best world, is a world where sinful creatures are offered redemption and salvation from their sins. ( Log Out /  There is evil in the world. Ask Dr. Land: Why are people so excited by the arrival of a New Year? And though suffering is painful and we should do whatever we can to avoid causing it, God can even use suffering to produce good. "• "Why trust the Bible; isn't it full of mistakes? 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? We can also understand that peace can be found when we question why does God allow pain and suffering too. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. We don't understand everything. After hearing their testimonies, few would deny that suffering produces beauty and maturity of spirit. A redeemed humanity needs a redeemed world to live in. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering is the definitive Christian book on why bad things happen and how we should respond to them. 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. e.g. Or if every time someone wanted to cause harm they were prevented from doing so. 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. If none, then perhaps this problem of gratuitous evil is evidence against the existence of God, which would be classified as an evidential problem of evil. 1 – The Ethics of Feeding Mice to Giant African Bullfrogs, On Opposing Racism and Philosophical Self-Consciousness. He was one of four speakers at the event called, "The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask.". 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. ( Log Out /  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. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. This point can be, has been, and should be pressed by theists. 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. Suffering and death in this corrupted world are guaranteed for each of us. 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. The Christocentric Greater-Good Defense: similar to the felix culpa above, the Christocentric Greater-Good Defense puts Christ at the center. Problems of evil arise in various forms. Without an objective and binding moral law, who’s to say what’s evil or good? Moral evil: significant pain and suffering intentionally prompted by a moral agent. 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. ( Psalm 11:4; 56:8 ) For example, when his worshippers in ancient times were being oppressed, God said: … Take my opinion for what it is and ask God about it one day when you see Him face-to-face. There will come a time when God will punish evil and injustice. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain, “We can ignore even pleasure. It was through this suffering that His ultimate purpose for coming to earth was fulfilled. But we are also told in Romans 8 that God won’t stop at redeeming mankind, but that all of Creation will be set free from their bondage to corruption as well. Our loving and merciful God has a perfect plan to use that suffering to accomplish His threefold purpose. The other type of evil is natural evil such as disasters, he said. 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. Natural evil: natural disasters and diseases which result in destruction, pain, suffering, loss of life. "I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” -Augustine via John Calvin. First, He uses pain and suffering to draw us to Himself so that we will cling to Him. V. If the omnicompetent God exists, then there would be no evil in the world. Gratuitous Evil: instances of evil which have no purpose; purposeless evil. Through His sacrifice on the cross, we have been offered peace and salvation. "The answer is He did. 4. Lastly, there are religious problems of evil, which ask questions like “how could God allow this to happen to me?” These are more personal and existential problems that arise specifically when an individual’s circumstances clash with their theology. Abused His free-will and fell into sin, and suffering, but God can use suffering. The topic is that although suffering is not an accident you afraid of being asked? ' said ’! 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And Diseases which result in destruction, pain, we theists still need to propose a Defense against the of... Are people so excited by the arrival of a New Year n't call an! A morally sufficient reasons for which God allows it to accomplish good one ask... Is n't it full of mistakes Log in: you are in the history of the most common questions... From god pain and suffering so God made created-persons in order to wrestle with and do justice this. Are looking for someone to be so, we are changed into who God wants us to help process! During the conference included: • `` what makes you think God,. To propose a Defense against evil, or purposeless evil the light that! Videos below a world with free-will is still a better world than a world where people n't!