Challenger 1b: Why Does God Allow Suffering?

August 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm (General) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Vintage Balance Scale

This post is in response to an earlier post called Challenger. It is Part 2. Please read Part 1 first.

DISCLAIMER: I am not God. Therefore, I do not have all the answers and I can only speculate based on my knowledge of the Scriptures and the wisdom God chooses to reveal to me. I hope this discussion can be an encouragement to you, but please definitely do your own research as well. And remember: many questions will simply not be answered in this life.

~ Part 2 ~
Is God Unfair?

There seems to be a soul-level understanding within us that things should be fair. Those who do good should be rewarded and those who do evil should be punished, right? We have a deep sense of justice built into us; it is especially apparent when we are affronted personally. Where does that come from?

It comes from being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).  God even said as much to Noah: Genesis 9:6 . What does that mean for us? It means that we have a nature like God’s. I ended the previous post with the statement that God does not need to prove Himself perfect; that history was for humankind. But then we ask, “Shouldn’t we be able to just be declared perfect, like God? Does suffering for our sanctification mean that God cannot make us perfect else-wise?” Perhaps we would understand consequences for evil actions, but why does it “rain on the just and the unjust” (Matt 5:44-46)? I would suggest it is for the very same reason: Our nature is like God’s.

There will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust, (Acts 24:14-16), so both must face adversity. And God does not exempt Himself from adversity. After all, we are shadows of His being. So He faced adversity at its greatest.

The Bible says He made Himself perfect through suffering (Heb 2:9-11). “Wait!” you might say, “I thought history was for humankind. That event didn’t happen until long into our history books.” But God is not bound by time. He resides already in eternity: the ever-present. For Him, “a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day,” (2 Peter 3:8) because He sees all of it at once, and is in all of it at once.

In fact, history is our best indicator of God’s faithfulness. When we look at history from beginning to now, it’s almost as if God is telling His story, with a crossroads at Jesus’ resurrection (Heb 7:26-28), and a climax still to come (Rev 22:11-13). This foundation of faithfulness and hope for the future is the principle persuasion to trust the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2) in the present, and even in the pain.

This post is part 2 of 3 parts.

Feel free to share, comment, or repost. Deep discussion is good for us.

For Part 3 click here.

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9 Comments

  1. Challenger 1: Why Does God Allow Suffering? | Awestruck Wonder said,

    […] For Part 2 click here. […]

  2. Danielle said,

    Well said!

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet

  3. acute kidney failure said,

    Can I just say what a relief to locate someone who truly knows just what theyre discussing on the internet. You need to know how to deliver an issue to light making it important. More people should read this along with understand this part of the tale. I cant believe you aren’t more popular because you definitely contain the gift.

  4. Anon said,

    I would like to remind everyone that the time to believe a claim is when there sufficient evidence is present to meet its burden of proof. God-like absolute certainty isn’t required for a justified belief, and no belief is justified with “unanswered questions.”

    The seeming “soul-level understanding within us that things should be fair” is empathy, which is a demonstrated product of evolution. Science has already answered this question.

    Using the Bible to prove a Biblical assertion (that rape, slavery, genocide, infinite punishment for finite crimes, etc. perpetrated by God isn’t unfair) isn’t just completely unsatisfying, but a logical fallacy called begging the question. In other words, this part was disappointing.

    • haywireproductions said,

      Well, I think it makes more sense that our creator is beyond total understanding. If I could understand everything about Him, then I guess I would be pretty much the same as Him, or I could become so. Then why would I worship Him? I could trust in myself, in that case, and get the same result.

      I wonder if you can answer where we came from and why we exist. Evolution doesn’t explain where the original creature(s) came from, and it certainly doesn’t provide a purpose for existing on Earth.

      I’m pretty sure it takes faith no matter what you hold on to.

      As for “begging the question,” the Bible is really the only source from which we learn about the nature of God, except nature itself, which is less specific. Since this post was about God’s nature (Is God unfair?), naturally I quoted the Bible to explain. And since Christians believe that all scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16), it’s kind of like hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

      • Anon said,

        Provided we agree to define faith in this context as belief without sufficient evidence, believing in observations from peer-reviewed science does not take faith. Another key point I’d like to make is that even if there currently was not a good explanation for something, this doesn’t help you meet the burden of proof for your claim.

        However, we actually do have extremely good explanations for the origin of life and the Universe, which are abiogenesis and Big Bang cosmology. If by “why we exist” you mean purpose, you may be question-begging again with the assumed premise of there necessarily being a purpose.

        If you don’t see the problem with believing text because the text says to believe it, or with believing extraordinary claims based on testimonial evidence, then what’s stopping you from believing the Qur’an and alien abductees? I might add that the observable Universe is much, MUCH more specific compared to a book with nearly as many valid interpretations as there are believers. I’m assuming you’re not a literalist?

        • haywireproductions said,

          First, we do not agree about the definition of faith. Everything I know about the theories for the origin of life and the universe begins with the existence of something. Whether it is an expansion of gasses or a dense gathering of forces or primordial goop, nothing I have heard tells where those goop, gasses, or forces came from.

          Allow me to quote a common definition: “What is a Theory?
          In science, a theory is an attempt to explain a particular aspect of the universe. Theories can’t be proven, but they can be disproved.”
          Therefore, if you believe a theory, you are using faith. It may be based on fact, but it cannot be proven; just like faith in God.

          I might add that the observable universe has many valid interpretations as well. Thus the testing and creation of astronomy, geology, and anthropology. I do not believe the Koran or alien abductions because they do not have nearly as much evidence as the Bible. Did you watch that video I posted for you? Or did you look through the book?

          If you don’t believe you have a purpose for existing, may I ask why you get up every morning?

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