I have spent a lot of time researching worldviews to answer the most important questions we have about life and one of the most sought after is the question of evil and suffering. After looking far and wide there is only one, the Christian worldview, that holds the most reasonable answers.
From the Christian worldview we find two significant answers for the question of evil and suffering:
- Satan and his demons, as created beings with freewill, cause significant damage to humans and to this world. We looked at this in last week’s post. However, in our comfortable western culture we think that we are too sophisticated and educated to believe in a spiritual world, nevertheless it exists. Just like the concept of objective truth it exists regardless of what we believe, and the evidence supports it.
- We bring on much of the hardships we experience through bad choices. Humans are part of the problem of evil and suffering. No one who is being honest can ever say that they have not caused pain in another person’s life at one time or another. Over the span of human history we hear of heartache, disasters, wars and tragedies and none affect us so much as those in the lives of people we know or experience ourselves. We often scream and cry out to God, WHY?
We tend to blame God and the lot in life He has given us, but when we peel the layers of a situation down to their core we expose the human condition at its worst. The best explanation for this is found in the Bible. Our first parents lived in perfect harmony with each other and with God, but temptation overtook them and their nature of disobedience towards God has been passed down to us through what we now know today as our DNA that, by the way, is not evolving into something better.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15
Our refusal to choose to honor God and live life His way results in much of the evil and suffering we experience. Living life outside of God’s will is what we call sin. There is a principle of evil in the world because of sin and we all possess it.
For a deeper treatment of the topic of original sin click here to read Dr. Clay Jones’ article, “Original Sin, Its Importance and Fairness”
Is there a way to get rid of evil and suffering?
God cannot allow Satan and his demons to accomplish their evil through us and they will face final judgment (Revelation 20). Those who choose to follow Satan and his way will do so through freewill choice.
God is righteous, holy and just and therefore must punish sin. We would not want it to go unpunished just like you would not want an intruder who raped and pillaged your family to go unpunished.
For now however, the weeds (those who choose to follow the evil one) and the grain (those who choose to follow God) must live together until the fullness of time (Matthew 13:36-43).
Is there anything we can do?
We cannot do anything ourselves, but we have the opportunity to learn about God’s plan to help us. He promised to do so right from the beginning (Genesis 3:15). This is the “Scarlet Thread” we find through the whole Old Testament and the Covenant Promises God made through His chosen family, Israel. This promise was then fulfilled in the New Testament by God’s giving of His one and only Son to take our place for the evil and suffering we are responsible for so that we can live in eternity with Him (we can return to the way it was originally intended).
The Christian worldview is the only one where we find God’s grace (getting something we don’t deserve) and not just mercy (not getting what we do deserve). We have the ability to choose to be born again. When we are born again we are brought back into God’s family and the right relationship He wanted to have with us from the beginning.
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit give birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:5-7 NIV
Paul tells us, At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7
What did Jesus have to say about the problem of Evil?
Read this excellent article by Aaron Brake: “Jesus On The Problem of Evil”
Jesus knows our suffering because He has been here and suffered. His hand is out for us and he wants to walk with us through our deepest pains and rejoices with us through our happiest times, all we have to do is remember to take it and walk through it with Him. He knows us intimately and what is best for us in the short run as well as in the long run, and most of all what is best for us eternally!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
For more on this topic click on the following videos:
An 8 minute moving and heartfelt video: “Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?”
A longer presentation and deeper treatment of the topic by Ravi Zacharias: “Why Suffering? Finding Meaning in Our Difficult World”
You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!
Join us this year as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.
Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.
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