God's Role In Suffering
What role does God play in human suffering? If God is good, why does He allow suffering? This common objection turns many away from faith in God. When you are asked about such matters, what do you say? Who gets the blame? Satan? Human beings? If God did not create evil, where did it come from?
After God created the heavens and the earth, He said the creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:1, 27, 31). God’s world was without sin or suffering. The first human beings were created in the divine image; accordingly, Adam and Eve had the capacity to love, to understand morality, and were responsible as free moral beings to act in ways consistent with their free-will. Part of free will, though, involves the possibility of rejection. If you can choose to do what is right, you can choose to do what is wrong. To lovingly accept God’s rule was an act of freedom; to reject God’s rule, as Adam and Eve did, was an act of freedom. Why did God create Adam and Eve and give them free-will? While the Bible does not give an explicit answer, it seems that God’s ultimate purpose was to create a people for Himself—a people who would accept, love, and obey Him, freely. God created man out of love; real love cannot exist without the freedom to accept or reject.
If you take a hammer and smash your finger you will feel pain. Go ahead and exercise free will and hit your finger; you will experience pain. Some other person may hit your finger with the hammer; you now have pain because of their actions. Either way, your finger hurts. While you don’t want someone to smash your finger, do you really want to live in a world void of free will? Would you want to live in a world void of natural laws? While the absence of rain might trigger wildfires, the presence of rain is a blessing. You can violate the laws of gravity and go to the top of a building and jump off. Do that, and you will likely hurt or even kill yourself. But you will come down. But do you want to live in a world without gravity?
Adam and Eve exercised free will; their decision brought devastation, disease, and death. Sin changed the original creation. The physical universe suffers the “groans” of creation because of these choices (Romans 8:18-22). We live in a fallen world, not a perfect universe. Christians can expect pain and suffering as a part of this world.
Why do we blame God instead of ourselves for the misery in the world? Sin rebels against God—it is evil. The chaos in the world is the result of our rebellion; it is not God’s fault. God is not pleased with the condition of this world. That is why He has set about to rectify the mess we have made. He does this through His Son Jesus Christ. When men try to live independently of God, the result is sin. Living for God brings life; it also brings some answers to life’s most perplexing questions.