Why does God allow suffering?

A question came in and I have made some notes of my own and from others to share.

Why does God allow all this suffering and dying especially the disadvantaged and how do we respond to one that asks us?

  1. Reference my sermon from last month Mar 15.
  2. Read the following and pray and please comment or question or concerns do share!!

Hardly a day passes when you don’t hear about another tragedy: a personal tragedy of some sickness or disease, or a personal tragedy of some kind of rift or rupture in people’s lives; sometimes on a grand scale, or the ongoing—whatever it might be on the largest scales of almost staggering statistical suffering that you see.

But that suffering is always the suffering of persons.

Many people are suffering and dying.  Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy; a thousand deaths”— those are statistics.”

God knows how many persons on any given day in any given country or on the whole planet earth:  are in cancer centers; are being abused/ oppressed/ neglected; are sick suffering dying

But the problem of evil—sickness, disease, suffering, death— -has been the problem, and is the problem,and will be the problem until the end of the world.

And certainly the problem for people who believe in God and who believe in a good God.

The Church should reaffirm the follow which is difficult indeed!

WHEN WE THINK OF SICKNESS AND SUFFERING AND DEATH

THERE ARE TWO BASIC APPROACHES.

  1. One would be to blame God for it all.

“Why did God do it? Why does God do it? Why did God make it this way?”

“Why did God make a world in which there would be prison camps and holocausts and murder, sickness, death, suffering-etc.?  Why would there be a world like this? Why did God do it this way? Why didn’t God do it some other way? There can’t be any God, really, if it is this way.”

There are people who claim to be atheistic and unbelieving because: they can’t stand the pain; they can’t stand their own pain and suffering; they can’t stand of what they see in other people, their loved ones… so they can’t believe in God, or at least a good God.

2. Second, others say,

“Yes, there is disease, suffering, death. Yes, it seems even capricious, that some person would get caught in war that another person wouldn’t, that one person would get cancer or covid 19 another person wouldn’t. that one child would be molested that another wouldn’t. That one person would win the job and have a nice life be married and happy, that another wouldn’t.

BUT THAT DOESN’T COME FROM GOD.

This comes from sin. This comes from human rebellion. This comes from primordial and generational sin through the centuries. And God made the world, knowing that it would be this way —but God is not the cause of it.”

I think it could be said that when disease hits, sickness hits and, it’s hitting all over the place these days when troubles hit, when sadness comes, painful realities, you have the people who say,

“Why did God do this? It’s not fair. It’s not just. It shouldn’t be.”

And then you have the other people, who say, 

“Thank God, that Christ has saved us from this. Thank God, that He has come into the world and taken on all this evil and suffering that He knew would take place when He created the world. Thank God, not only for delivering us ultimately from our suffering and death, but thank God for giving us the ability to have insight into this. Thank God for the ability to bear this properly and to use this for good, for truth, for love of others. Thank God for that.”

When we look at the life in this world as it is. THERE ARE THESE THREE POSSIBILITIES.

  1. One is that there is no God at all and nothing means anything and we’re just a bunch of drives and DNA and whatever.

Many people, of whom I’m one, can’t accept that. But that’s a possibility

  1. The second possibility would be, yeah, there is God, but He’s a monster.

He’s playing with us, He’s tormenting us, He’s torturing us, He’s treating us like some kind of a despot in a prison camp. He’s playing with us: some days He gives us good things, then he takes them away, some days He gives us happiness, then He destroys it, some days sends health and well being, then He brings suffering and pandemics. God is there, but He’s a horrid god, monster god.

That’s a possibility.

  1. The third possibility is that the Gospel is true.

There is a God, and He is a good God, and this good God had a choice: either no world at all

or

the world that we experience every day, the world of prison camps and holocausts, the world of wars and the injustices, the world of abuses and natural calamities, the world of disease and death because we don’t have control over the creation and the nature and the planet like we should.

All those things God knew providentially.

God knew that it would be, but He said to have a world at all where ultimately the good and the true and the beautiful will triumph, it will require

the Incarnation of the Son of God, the crucifixion on the Cross, the raising up from the dead, the entering into the kingdom of God, and a redemption; and miracles.

There has to be a miraculous intervention, but God is willing to make that miraculous intervention into this world and even to take on all of the disease, suffering, injustice of the world: to redeem it, to purify it, to heal it, to save it, and ultimately to sanctify, glorify, it in the broken body and shed blood of His incarnate Son, the one by whom, through whom, and for whom and toward whom all things are created.

Basically two approaches:

  1. “IT’S ALL GOD’S FAULT WE DON’T WANT THIS WORLD”

OR

  1.  “IT’S NOT GOD’S FAULT; IT’S OUR FAULT, AND WE THANK GOD FOR SAVING US.”

And then there’s three possibilities:

  1. NO GOD
  2. MONSTER-GOD
  3. THE GOOD GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, JACOB, MOSES,THE GOD OF JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE GOD: FATHER AND SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, THE TRINITY,ONE IN ESSENCE AND UNDIVIDED, WHO ULTIMATELY IS THE GOD WHO KNOWS THAT THERE IS SUFFERING AND EVIL AND WHO KNOWS THAT IT HAS TO BE THIS WAY AND WHO DOES PUT US THROUGH IT, BUT HE PUTS US THROUGH IT ULTIMATELY IN ORDER TO MAKE US ALSO DIVINE.

That is a terribly hard to endure. God’s ways are not our ways.

When Jesus taught it, the apostles themselves wanted to leave. Nevertheless, it seems and it’s certainly the case that for the Church. This is the only understanding and vision and experience of reality that makes sense to a person and makes sense of the whole reality when we see things for what they really are, because no one can deny the happiness and no one can deny the suffering and evil,

but how to put those together— the answer is they come together in Christ and the Cross, and only there.

Mary’s womb—Christ’s tomb.  That’s where they meet. those who believe that can live in this world and face anything, those who don’t are going to have to figure out for themselves how they’re going to deal with it.

-FR RAY

2 thoughts on “Why does God allow suffering?”

  1. Why does God allow suffering? HE DOESN’T. WE DO. He has given each of us a brain and a mouth with which to assist and protect the disadvantaged, but we don’t do it. Covid-19 has made it abundantly clear that homes for the homeless can be provided overnight, that ‘homes’ supposedly caring for the elderly, benefit private owners’ at the expense of the vulnerable families who count on them, that the workers who have kept us all going through this crisis are being exploited on a regular basis. The ‘regular Canadians’ who have worked so incredibly hard to stop this nightmare in its tracks are the people who make up 99 percent of our population: THOSE WHO CAN AND MUST NOW DEMAND CHANGE.
    The one percent surely won’t do it! If we fail to act now, we fail God and we are directly resposible for the human suffering that we blame on Him.
    I refer you to a recent CBC ‘Ideas’ interview with author Todd Dufresne on just this topic, on which he bases his book, “The Democracy of Suffering”. I beg everyone to listen to it. Christ showed us how to care for eachother. God is expecting us to get it done. LET’S GET STARTED!

  2. Dr. Todd Dufresne is on the faculty of Lakehead University (Thunder Bay/Orillia). Currently, ‘The Democracy of Suffering’ is sold out everywhere. His interview took place with top-notch interviewer, Nahlah Ayed on ‘Ideas In the Afternoon’, CBC Radio 1, around May 7/20, I believe.

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