IF THERE IS A LOVING GOD,

                                        WHY IS THERE SO MUCH SUFFERING?

Robert C. Newman

 

Introduction

 

Problem that has bothered many throughout history, both theoretically and practically, corporately and individually

 

Article on "atheism" in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy makes this chief argument against God's existence

 

But many object to quantum mechanics and general relativity because they go against deeply held standards, yet evidence indicates they are true anyway; may have to adjust standards to reality.

 

Here we propose to examine following Qs in this order:

            Is there a God?

            Is he the God of the Bible?

            Is he loving?

            Why, then, is there suffering?

            Why is there so much suffering?

 

Is There a God?

 

Evidence for a created universe

Beginning

Design

 

Evidence for created life

Origins

Organization

 

Conclusion: yes, there is a God, Creator and Designer

 

Is This the God of the Bible?

 

Evidence from fulfilled prophecy

Evidence from changed lives

Conclusion: yes, the God who exists is the God of the Bible

 


Is God Loving?

 

Definition of "love"

 

Obviously, if one defines "love" so that it will never,  under any circumstances, allow suffering, then the God of the Bible is not "loving."

 


But this doesn't even work for human love, e.g., in parenting: recent emphasis on "tough love."

 

Biblical definition: 1 Cor 13:4‑7 :

 

 

patient

 

not rude

 

rejoices w/ truth

 

kind

 

not self-seeking

 

always protects

 

not envious

 

not easily angered

 

always trusts

 

not boasting

 

keeps no record

 

always hopes

 

not proud

 

no delight in evil

 

always perseveres

 

Parental model helpful in understanding how God is loving; like parent, God concerned to produce right sort of person, must punish evil, encourage maturity.

 

Conclusion: yes, God is loving in the Biblical sense.

 

Why, Then, Is There Suffering?

 

Have begun to see some reasons why this might be in discussion of parental love, above:

 

(1) need to punish evil:

parents sometimes do this thru direct intervention

sometimes thru letting events take their course

 

(2) need to encourage maturity:

parents must gradually let up on control so that child begins to make own decisions

parents gradually let up on protection so that child learns consequences of actions

parents gradually let up on punishment so that child will learn to do right for right reasons

 

In addition, system of physical causality in world of sinners will produce suffering; without such system, no way to see how bad evil is.

 

Why Is There So Much Suffeering

 

Mankind is very sinful, so producing much suffering.

 

Disaster is an advance warning of the wrath to come.

Luke 13:1‑9

 


Biblical teaching regarding Satan (Job 1-2)

a superhuman evil in world

hates mankind, esp those doing good

this world is a war‑zone

 

Babies?  don't know all answers, cp John 21:21-23

 

A helpful picture: God is not to be pictured as a hotel keeper, but as a novelist.

If we will trust him with our lives, we can be heroes or heroines in His story

 

Conclusions

 

What are we doing to relieve suffering? (e.g., abortion?).

 

We should seek to avoid eternal suffering & help others do so too.

 

God has suffered more than anyone else to save us from such.