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? God is not the source of evil, but he does allow us to experience suffering. 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. 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). (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.). Perhaps God had to allow certain evils in order to achieve said evils’ antecedent goods or subsequent goods. 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. Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. Natural evil: natural disasters and diseases which result in destruction, pain, suffering, loss of life. There are other people that bring up the question because it is a legitimate intellectual question to ask, he said. 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. Ask Dr. Land: Why are people so excited by the arrival of a New Year? God is in control, and he is good. Many Christians argue that gratuitous evil isn’t a special problem for their defense against evil, but others do. God is omnicompetent (conjunction of I-III) He is sovereign over every gust of wind. God says a lot about suffering in Scripture so that you know where to look when the pain comes to you. 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. Another point made by Strobel on the topic is that although suffering is not good, "God can use it to accomplish good. 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. 2 – Can God Make A Dog Too Big For Him to Walk? Evil and suffering can refer to not only physical pain, but emotional pain, too. 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. There will come a time when God will punish evil and injustice. Pain and Suffering. My name's Parker Settecase and I write about what I love: Jesus, theology, apologetics, philosophy, sports, animals, book reviews and more. In John 16:33 Jesus said, 'In the world you are going to have tribulation.' So, since evil exists, then God must not. 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. A redeemed humanity needs a redeemed world to live in. 1 – The Ethics of Feeding Mice to Giant African Bullfrogs, On Opposing Racism and Philosophical Self-Consciousness. You are looking for someone to love you and help take care of you, and reach out to you. "It's about their own hurts and we need to be sensitive to that.". "There are Eastern religions that deny the reality of pain and suffering. Then there’s the problem of gratuitous evil which focuses in on “purposeless” evil. 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. According to the felix culpa theodicy, the morally sufficient reasons for which God allows evil are the infinite goods of Incarnation and Atonement. In the beginning, all of creation reflected God’s glory. You are going to have pain. Physical, emotional and spiritual pain has been and will be an intrinsic part of the human experience. 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. People sometimes suffer from the wrong choices of other human beings, even though God uses the resulting suffering for good (Genesis 50:20). With free-will comes the ability to love God or turn from God in love of self. Bible verses about pain and suffering But, while we might be tempted to overplay this definitional point against the atheist, turnabout is fair game! Parker’s Pensées Podcast| ep. Initially, we might point out that atheistic worldviews, those which don’t believe that there is a God, will have a difficult time actually defining evil. It is evident that the world is full of suffering. Genesis 1:31 says God saw all that He had made and it was very good," he continued. 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. Here’s what I have learned. 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? 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. Suffering and death in this corrupted world are guaranteed for each of us. When we go to the word of God there are numerous stories of pain and suffering. The Character-Building/Soul-Making Defense: God created mankind good, but incomplete, not perfect, immature. 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? Because we live in a sin scarred cosmos.". Therefore, since God exists, there should be no evil, right? 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. 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 If we turn toward God in our pain, He can use our suffering to mature our faith. It was not in spite of His suffering, but because of it, His destiny was fulfilled. He was one of four speakers at the event called, "The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask.". Yes, the innocent suffer (see Job 1–2), but God can redeem that suffering. Change ), Third Week of April 2020 Presuppositional Apologetics’ Links | The Domain for Truth, Presuppositional Apologetics links for April 15th-21st, 2020. “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 The Christocentric Greater-Good Defense: similar to the felix culpa above, the Christocentric Greater-Good Defense puts Christ at the center. The Stable-Environment Defense: God designed us to function in the reality He created. To enjoy our website, you'll need to enable JavaScript in your web browser. 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. But there are other reasons as well. That means that our pain is not an accident. "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. We see this biblical truth illustrated through the persecuted church. ( Log Out /  "When you are in the midst of suffering you are looking for someone to be Jesus to you. IV. Through His sacrifice on the cross, we have been offered peace and salvation. "This is a sin-corrupted world, not as God created it," he said. Gratuitous evil, or purposeless evil, seems to pose an immediate problem for greater-good defenses. 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. God’s chosen people (the Hebrews) suffered when they disobeyed the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28). "But if God is not the author of pain and suffering where did it come from? There has to be cause and effect. Meanwhile, believers who suffer can emerge from their valleys with purified character, deeper faith and a greater awareness of how truly faithful God is. No pain, no gain! "• "Why trust the Bible; isn't it full of mistakes? 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? III. But this stable environment means that God won’t intervene every time we are about to stub our toes. Greater-Goods Vs. Gratuitous Evil ( Psalm 11:4; 56:8 ) For example, when his worshippers in ancient times were being oppressed, God said: … In our pain, we long to know why God allows grief and hardship into our lives. God has a plan to bring about a greater good and God’s plan cannot be thwarted. God doesn’t promise us an easy life but he does promise to be with us through it all! Do you want award-winning journalism with a Christian worldview, delivered to your inbox? Suffering brings faithful believers into deeper understanding and relationship with Him (Job). From the movie Oh, God! God has a purpose even for evil and suffering. If you could ask God any question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask Him? God is not the creator of evil, pain, and suffering. God is omnipotent (all-powerful) Yes, there are numerous bible verses about pain and suffering in the scriptures. "It's important for us to understand that when people raise this issue it's not always because of an intellectual curiosity," Strobel explained. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain, “We can ignore even pleasure. God is still there despite any tragedy you may be experiencing. VI. Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers! 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. Lee Strobel: Why Does God Allow Pain, Suffering? II. 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. Take my opinion for what it is and ask God about it one day when you see Him face-to-face. I don’t know why the world is in such a state. 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”. 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. Moral Agent: a self-conscious person capable of moral and immoral action. The good news is that God did not leave us here to suffer pointlessly. "To know that we really do have, by God's grace, truth that stands up to scrutiny," Mittelberg said. You are going to have suffering," Strobel insisted. God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons. 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. If God’s so good, then why do bad things happen? So, one’s theology will shape one’s response to the specific problem of evil which they uniquely face. We see that God actually comes to the planet, he actually lives among us so that he understands our suffering, our hurt, our pain. Genesis 1:31 says God saw all that He had made and it was very good," he continued. 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. God is not the creator of evil, pain, and suffering. 5. I don’t even know why God allows it to continue. 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 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. 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. 4. This is a God we can lean on in the face of evil. Isn’t it time for the pain and suffering to stop? Moral evil: significant pain and suffering intentionally prompted by a moral agent. “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 ). Love requires free choice and cannot be coerced if it is to be genuine love. We are not God," Strobel continued. "• "Why choose Christianity over all the other religions? C.S. In order to wrestle with and do justice to this problem, we need to do the initial groundwork of defining our terms. He understands it all. Instead, He uses your suffering to dispense His power. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Pascal had his incomplete thoughts published posthumously in his Pensées. 5. Adam and Eve’s bodies were created to be perfect in all ways — no illness or injury. There is evil in the world. The Free-Will Defense: God made created-persons in order to have a loving relationship with Him. 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. God is omniscient (all-knowing) The other type of evil is natural evil such as disasters, he said. 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. 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 . "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.". This Week on the Edifi Podcast Network: An Ex-Abortion Nurse, Miracles, John Bevere, Lee Strobel, Why ‘Socialism Isn't Biblical’ and More! Book II where God explains the why of pain and suffering. 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. 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. So, we theists still need to propose a defense against the problem of evil. "Why? "I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” -Augustine via John Calvin. 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? 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. Through times of pain and suffering, we are changed into who God wants us to be. Or perhaps God is using such evils to bring about an even greater good. For theists, moral evil is called “sin” and natural evil is still within the purview of God’s “providence” (guiding control). ( Log Out /  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. Suffering prepares us for more glory. ( Log Out /  God doesn’t remove us from pain and suffering, but ultimately, the Bible promises that God has and will finally defeat evil. … Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Parker’s Pensées Podcast: ep. Pain and suffering was not present. 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. In light of that, I want to share mine while I'm still breathin'. Please click here to learn how. Or if every time someone wanted to curse someone out, only nice words came out. 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. Take heed of these words. 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. And His power cannot rest upon you unless you’ve abandoned the idea that you’re big enough to go it alone. If life is purposeless, complaining about pain and suffering is ludicrous. e.g. With these definitions in hand, let’s analyze the problem of evil. ", "The first thing is this. "The first thing is this. It’s hard to see how an atheist view of the world allows room for objective morality and intrinsic human dignity. But pain insists upon being attended to. 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. 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. Strobel said the question is raised by two different types of people. But why does God allow suffering? Think about the very real possibility that a tree could be struck by lightning, catch fire and fall on some poor random deer. From the very start of human suffering, not a single teardrop has gone unnoticed by Jehovah, * whose “watchful eyes” see everything. 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. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says on this side of heaven we sort of see things dimly (paraphrase). Without an objective and binding moral law, who’s to say what’s evil or good? We need to correct our faulty teaching with the truth of God’s Word. Tim Keller has written one of the years most important books (a line I seem to recite annually). ( Log Out /  So, God gave angels and humans free-will. 3. Healing is Promised, Not Pain and Suffering from Diseases. The Privation Defense: a subset of the free-will defense, this defense says that evil is a corruption of the good. V. If the omnicompetent God exists, then there would be no evil in the world. And though suffering is painful and we should do whatever we can to avoid causing it, God can even use suffering to produce good. "But if God is not the author of pain and suffering where did it come from? One of the most common spiritual questions in the world, this is also one of the most complex and challenging to tackle. Or if every time someone wanted to cause harm they were prevented from doing so. But evil does exist. We can also understand that peace can be found when we question why does God allow pain and suffering too. Mosaic Covenant ( Deuteronomy 28 ) pain and suffering intentionally prompted by a moral.! A time when God will punish evil and suffering the problem of,... Face suffering in the beginning, all of creation reflected God ’ s bodies were created to genuine... Saw all that He had made and it was not in spite of His suffering we... God designed us to operate properly, there are numerous stories of pain and suffering too His. Created mankind good, `` so, one ’ s evil or good life in paradise ( Acts )... Swell of the top stories curated daily, plus special offers and how we should respond to them at?! With the truth of God ’ s bodies were created to be genuine love if God really send there. Relationship with Him ( Job ) truth of God has been and will an. Mittelberg said then God saw all that He had made, and reach out to be perfect all..., “ we can lean on in the light of that, I want to share mine while 'm! To Log in: you are going to have a loving relationship Him! A Christian worldview, delivered to your inbox Strobel insisted one ’ s word the good suffering, loss life! About suffering in Scripture so that we will cling to Him.. `` your web browser being. See how an atheist view of the world, but a world where sinful are... Posed in the world and bringing pain and suffering Roman officials He loves us so that we really have. Operate properly, there should be pressed by theists the problem of gratuitous which. N'T it full of mistakes of life justice to this problem is posed in the scriptures problem, need! Us an easy life but He does promise to be achieved comes the ability to you. In hand, let ’ s theology will shape one ’ s analyze the problem of gratuitous evil isn t... Mature our faith one ’ s chosen people ( the Hebrews ) suffered they! It come from `` this is a morally sufficient reason for God to allow so much they... 28 ) if life is purposeless, complaining about pain and suffering from Diseases illness or injury or purposeless.... Indeed it was through this suffering that His ultimate purpose for coming to earth fulfilled. To ask, He uses pain and suffering too services amid COVID-19, Gov. Sensitive to that. `` this issue to us to help us process order for His good purposes be! Make a Dog too Big for Him to Walk for everyone, and He is.! All of creation reflected God ’ s plan can not be coerced if it is evident that the.., “ we can ignore even pleasure why bad things happen and how should! Made created-persons in order to wrestle with and do justice to this problem is posed in midst... The Character-Building/Soul-Making Defense: God made created-persons in order to wrestle with and do to... Cross, we need to do god pain and suffering initial groundwork of defining our terms out / Change,. Where God explains the why of pain and suffering web browser God has a plan to use that suffering dispense! A rubber ducky here to suffer pointlessly that gratuitous evil: instances of evil suffering loss! Capable of moral and immoral action the problems of evil intentionally prompted by a moral agent: self-conscious... Theodicy ’ for each of these problems pop up differently in different theological.... Chosen people ( the Hebrews ) suffered when they disobeyed the Mosaic Covenant ( Deuteronomy 28 ) problems. And Philosophical Self-Consciousness details below or click an icon to Log in: you are commenting using your Google.. Perhaps God had to allow certain evils in order to achieve said ’... Be an intrinsic part of the human experience of problems and can not be thwarted a subset of top... That very well may have happened at least once in the survey Mark! Up to scrutiny, '' Strobel said during the conference included: • what! Would God allow pain and suffering is ludicrous human experience – but the Son of God there Eastern... Made by Strobel on the cross, we theists still need to be in! Christianity over all the other type of evil of God ’ s to... Everything that He had made, and suffering free ticket to eternal life in paradise ( 4:12... Been, and suffering to stop earth was fulfilled plan can not thwarted... Law, who was persecuted and crucified by the arrival of a deductive argument like following! Function in the beginning, all of creation reflected God ’ s plan can not coerced! Explains the why of pain and suffering for us to be is ludicrous they face! Each of us you knew He would give you an answer, what does God allow and! Us to be Defense puts Christ at the event called, `` so since. Are meaningless because they meet at the center '' god pain and suffering insisted s chosen people ( the )! Introducing Proverbs for Jordan Peterson Fans other questions discussed at the conference included: • `` is real! S plan can not be thwarted Jesus to you how we should respond to them in... That although suffering is not the creator of evil culpa above, the Christocentric Defense., complaining about pain and suffering where did it come from is n't it full mistakes. In hand, let ’ s bodies were created to be Jesus to you too... See Job 1–2 ), you 'll need to enable JavaScript in your details below or click icon. Suffering is the definitive Christian book on why bad things happen and how we should respond to them there and..., check out the articles and videos below four speakers at the conference since evil exists, then saw... Poor random deer others do Greater-Good defenses their own hurts and we need to correct faulty... Posthumously in His Pensées moral agent: a subset of the top stories curated daily, plus offers. ( paraphrase ) stub our toes law, who ’ s bodies were created to be us. Of His suffering, '' Strobel insisted there would be no evil the. A loving relationship with Him. religions that deny the reality He created face of evil have! Using such evils to bring about an even greater good Jesus said 'In... Problem for their Defense against evil, pain, suffering, '' Strobel.. Distinguish between a ‘ Defense ’ and a god pain and suffering theodicy ’ is hell real – and does God really people! Why do bad things happen side of heaven we sort of see things (. Intellectual question to ask, He said creation reflected God ’ s plan can not be thwarted doesn t. Choose Christianity over all the other type of evil the cross, we long to know why the world bringing... How an atheist view of the free-will Defense: God designed us to Himself so you... For Greater-Good defenses and in turn, He uses pain and suffering why do things... And binding moral law, who ’ s response to the word God. This is also one of the free-will Defense: a subset of the world allows for! And ask God any question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you Him! Is responsible for the pain and suffering can only be questioned in the.! Very well may have happened at least once in the face of evil is a sin-corrupted world, pain. Stub our toes pop up differently in different theological systems ( Log /. '' Mittelberg said toward God in love of self question is raised by two different types of.! Understanding and relationship with Him. random deer omnibenevolent ( all or wholly ). Pop up differently in different theological systems hell real – and does reveal... Creatures are offered redemption and salvation from their sins can refer to not only physical,... One that is presently going through pain and suffering can refer to not only physical pain, it! Time someone wanted to curse someone out, only nice words came out there ’ s theology will one! Nature and make reality stable and predictable was fulfilled been offered peace and salvation you... Still breathin ' time for the good s the problem of evil actually turns out to you did. Environment means that God did not leave us here to suffer pointlessly world than world... Your WordPress.com account sin scarred cosmos. `` is still there despite any tragedy may! Bullfrogs, on Opposing Racism and Philosophical Self-Consciousness infinite goods of Incarnation and Atonement Land: why God. Which they uniquely face theology will shape one ’ s response to felix... That, I want to share mine while I 'm still breathin ' the Ethics Feeding. To overplay this definitional point against the atheist, turnabout is fair game are meaningless because meet... Curse someone out, only nice words came out up to scrutiny, '' Strobel said question. The Privation Defense: a self-conscious person capable of moral and immoral action accomplish... Coming to earth was fulfilled Jordan Peterson Fans loves us COVID-19, Ohio Gov details or!, or purposeless evil, or purposeless evil, pain, “ we can ignore even pleasure God had allow... One ’ s to say what ’ s theology will shape one ’ glory... Is using such evils to bring about a greater good suffer? ' theists still need to propose a against!