God hurts when we hurt, but sometimes we can’t gain wisdom unless he allows us to suffer.
How Could There Be a Good God In a World Like This?
All of us recognize the fact that we live in a ‘less than perfect’ world. We all recognize that moral and natural evil abound. We all understand what it is to witness (or personally experience) these kinds of evil. We live in a world that is filled with crime, poverty, disease and natural disaster. And while we can talk about natural evil and moral evil in an analytical manner, in the end we need to address the manner in which we experience it. Evil presents itself to us individually through experiences of ‘pain’ and ‘suffering’. All of us have experienced some sort of pain; all of us have suffered in some way at one time or another. Theists and atheists alike have to account for the fact that the world is filled with pain and suffering, and atheists often see the existence of pain and suffering as evidence that God simply does not exist. Their argument goes something like this:
- If there is a God, He is, by definition, all powerful and all loving. In other words, if there is a God, he is a ‘good’ God.
- A good, all powerful and all loving God would not allow pain and suffering to exist in His created world
- Pain and suffering DO exist in our world
- Therefore, there is no good, all powerful, all loving God
Your parents probably said no to you on many occasions—or at least on a few. “No, don’t touch the stove; it’s hot!” “No, don’t run into the street; you could get hit by a car!”
- Does it challenge you to compare God to your parents? If so, why?
- If God is a good Father (as he calls himself in the Bible), how would that change your view on the difficult things you have experienced in life?
Look back at the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. List the good things that came as a result of them.