All you have to do is turn on the TV and see that God doesn’t exist.. Right?
If you think of it millions of people are suffering every day. Earthquakes are taking homes and lives, people are starving from floods and tornados. Famine is at an all time high all over the globe and war is rampant between countries. Mom and dad’s can’t find jobs and grandparents are forced to come out of retirement to help their kids.. Again.
Men and women do not become an atheist simply because they find it irrational to believe but base their faith on what they see and feel. The feeling that if God is really such a Being as we His children claim Him to be, He could not possibly remain silent. “God will do something, right” they say as they contemplate unbelief.
So after looking into the world how is one to understand why God allows suffering? The Christian believes that God is all knowing, powerful and is everywhere right? So why doesn’t he just make everyone and everything perfect? Why doesn’t he just stop all the suffering now? These are the questions that plague a believer and as far as I can tell unbelievers too. I don’t believe this to be evidence that God does not exist nor cares, but it is evidence that he does!
C.S Lewis described how he had originally rejected the idea of God because of the cruelty of life. Then he came to realize that evil was even more problematic for his new atheism. In the end, he realized that suffering provided a better argument for God’s existence than the one against it. He states:
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of “just” and “unjust”… What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? … Of course I could have given have given up my idea of injustice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies…. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. (Tim Keller, Reason for God pg26)
So the real question is, why do I believe that justice is right and injustice is wrong? Why do I fight to save a helpless woman in fear of a man? Why do I help anybody at all? These were now the questions that consumed me.
So, if we want God to stop evil and suffering, then He must stop all of it. We have no problem with this when it means stopping a catastrophe, or a murder, or a rape. But what about when someone thinks of something evil? Evil is destructive whether it is acted out or not. Hatred and bigotry in someone’s heart is wrong. If it is wrong, and if God is to stop all evil, then He must stop that person from thinking his own thoughts. To do that, God must remove his freedom of thought. Furthermore, which person on the earth has not thought something evil? God would be required, then, to stop all people from exercising their free will. This is something God has chosen not to do. Therefore, we could say that one of the reasons that God permits evil and suffering is because of man’s free will. Who else should we put in charge of stopping evil and suffering of the world? Man? We can’t even keep taking care of our own cities in effort together.
So what do we look to for comfort? There is only one place in this world I know of Jesus.
But that will be the next blog. Stay tuned for part two.