Why would a loving God allow suffering?

Many people have understandable anguish over the suffering in the world. This is probably the most effective argument of anti-Christians. But it is still invalid.

To an atheist, we could ask: ‘What is your criterion for judging whether something is good or bad? Since you reject God’s transcendent moral standard, all you have are your own feelings. Why should we accept the feelings of an admittedly fallible human being?’

God created a perfect world; the free choice of Adam to turn his back on Him is the ultimate cause of all the suffering. The efficient cause of specific suffering is the free evil choice of moral agents. However, Scriptures are clear that those who suffer the most are not necessarily the most sinful (e.g. John 9:1–3).

No logical contradiction has been demonstrated between the propositions ‘an all-good and all-powerful God exists’ and ‘evil exists’.

For God to rid the world of evil would require ridding the world of all of us! However, in the future, God will indeed rid the world of evil, since He is too pure to tolerate evil for eternity. People have two options:

The first is they must separate from their sins, by accepting that Christ bore them on the Cross (Isaiah 53:10), and receive Christ’s righteousness credited to their accounts. The means of this is belief in the Gospel—1 Corinthians 15:1–4:

    Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures ...

The second is to cling to their sins, in which case God will grant them their wish, and separate them from Himself, the source of goodness, for eternity. There will be only two types of people: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ who will be happy in the new heavens and earth for eternity; and those to whom God says: ‘thy will be done’, who will be separated from goodness for all eternity.

Published: 24 March 2006

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