Hold on. Now that I'm thinking about
children, I realize I still have a problem with all the suffering I see in the world. You just told me about
a perfectly loving God, but you didn't explain why He allows so much pain and suffering?
The "problem of pain," as the well-known Christian scholar, C.S. Lewis, once called it, is atheism's most potent
weapon against the Christian faith. Our human intellects and notions of fairness reject the apparent
contradiction between a loving God and a world of pain. Therefore, the only way to reconcile this issue
is to view the world from God's perspective. The only way to even begin to understand God's perspective
is to read His Word, the Bible.
The Bible tells us that God created a "very good" world (Genesis 1:31). Mankind was blessed to live and fellowship
in a beautiful garden planted by God Himself (Genesis 2:8,9). However, mankind rejected God and His "very good"
creation. Mankind disobeyed God's simple rules and chose to taste of the fruit of evil. As a result, suffering
entered the world (Genesis 3).
God's initial purpose for suffering was punishment for Satan, Eve and Adam. Since Adam was mankind's first representative,
Adam's punishment affected all of creation (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 5:12, 8:22). God's ultimate purpose for
suffering is redemption for mankind (1 Corinthians 15:22) and renewal of all creation (Acts 3:21).
Jesus Christ is the perfect model of humility, servanthood and suffering (Romans 5:8). He experienced temptation,
pain and death just as we do (Hebrews 2:17,18). With Christ's death on the cross, He reclaimed what Satan
stole in the garden, and provided the way to redemption for all mankind (Hebrews 2:14,15). Suffering was
the means by which Christ set creation back on the road to restoration.
We forfeited our chance for eternal life without some cost when we rejected God in the beginning. This cost
applied to Jesus, God's only begotten Son, and it applies to each of us, God's adopted children. Although
suffering had no place in God's original design, it became nevertheless useful to God's ultimate plan. Our
sin caused our separation from God and made Christ's suffering necessary. Our sin caused our fallen world
and made our suffering inevitable.
God takes no pleasure in the suffering of His children (2 Peter 3:9). He is patient, loving and merciful,
operating for our eternal good outside our notions of time and fairness. His only goal is to reconcile His
children to Himself. The Good News is that God loves us so much that He provided a free ticket to renewal
and salvation through the suffering and death of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Suffering and death in
this corrupted world are guaranteed for each of us. It's our choice whether to accept God's free ticket to
eternal life in paradise (Acts 4:12).
Many argue, "Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow pain and suffering?" The only way to begin
answering this question is to view our fallen world from God's perspective. You see, God dwells in the
dimension of eternity. His primary objective is to love us and have us love Him in return. From God's
perspective, He uses the trials of this painful world to lovingly prepare His children to spend eternity
with Him. The Apostle Paul said, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). In Hebrews, we learn that Jesus himself "for
the glory that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right
hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
Suffering is a fact of this fallen world. The Bible is a testimony to this reality. However, the complete
message of the Bible is that God has His plan for redemption all worked out. Those who put their faith in
Jesus Christ have a wonderful hope - a hope of eternity with God in a place where there is no more suffering,
evil or death (John 1:12, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Revelation 21:4).
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Adam & Eve
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