Here’s a good question I found on the Creation Today website in an article by Tim Chaffey.
I also found their answer, which I’ll be dissecting.
“Why would an all-powerful God allow so much suffering in the world? If he does, he must either not be all powerful, or he is not good. Why would I want to believe in a God like that?”
This is perhaps the most common question that people struggle with when it comes to Christianity. I believe the answer can be found if people will simply take God at His word. The difficulty comes when we start to doubt certain parts of the Bible. Once we fail to accept certain portions of God’s word, then we can no longer provide an answer to this ever-important question.
Doubt certain parts of the Bible?
Aren’t you the ones who constantly tell us non-believers that there’s a difference between the words of the Bible and the words of Scripture?
That some of the Bible is to be taken literally and some is allegorical. You just never seem to agree which is which, or literal/allegorical depends on the particular argument you are partaking of today.
With the theist history of cherry picking, you are clearly the last to complain if somebody else does it.
Before answering the question, I would like to point out that no other belief system or philosophy can provide a suitable answer to the problems of suffering and/or evil.
Erm. What about my own moral code (which is completely divorced from any religious ideology) which says quite simply, suffering and evil are bad, mkay? Lets see if we can work together to stamp them out!
What more do you need?
For example, atheists and agnostics do not have an absolute moral basis, so they cannot legitimately claim that something is good or bad. If evolution is true, then everything that happens is just part of the natural order of things. We were brought into existence through millions of years of death and suffering, and there is nothing inherently good or bad about it.
Yet again, the old chestnut of morality without religion. A subject I covered here.
Also, evolution is what it is. A natural process that is neither good nor evil. Nature is red in tooth and claw. Sad but true. After all, who doesn’t cheer when the baby antelope escapes from the cheetah? Even though the cheetah will die if it doesn’t eat. So yes, you said it, evolution is the natural order of things and yes, nature is pitiless. Deal with it!
The other religions cannot provide an answer, either. For example, in Islam, everything that happens is because Allah has willed it. So every rape, murder, and every other evil has occurred because he wanted it that way. In Mormonism, the first sin is considered a good thing because now Mormons can prove themselves by living “good” lives and earning their salvation. Buddhism denies the existence of suffering and evil by claiming that it is all an illusion. I spend an entire chapter just on this topic in my book, God and Cancer.
And the difference between those religions and Christianity is..?
Now, what is the biblical answer? The Bible tells us that God made a perfect world. There was no death, no disease, no suffering, and no bloodshed. After He made everything, He looked at creation and said it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the world was cursed. As a result, death, disease, suffering, and bloodshed entered the world. Notice who is at fault for this—man, not God. God created a perfect world and we ruined it by our sinful choices.
Why then did your God instil the natural ability to procreate in Adam and Eve? And what happened to Lilith, Adam’s first wife? Especially if his ‘ineffable’ plan precluded all that shagging and whatnot? Surely, the original two shouldn’t have been provided uglies with which to bump.
Or could it be that it was God’s plan all along, in which case, if we are merely carrying on with his idea. Why the fucking fuck are we to be punished for it?
Your God sounds like he’s either incompetent, or a bit of a dick.
If you are a Christian who does not accept the straightforward reading of the Genesis account of creation (and try to insert the billions of years in there somehow), then you can no longer answer this question. This is because you necessarily make God the author of all the death and suffering in the world since countless creatures would have suffered and died for billions of years prior to Adam.
There is no getting away from the fact that you believe God is ultimately responsible for absolutely everything that happens on this planet due to his plan, in which case the suffering and death must be included.
Or, the death and suffering are not part of his plan. In which case he is still responsible due to a flawed plan being put in place and is therefore not perfect.
Either way, your God is responsible!
So why does He allow so much suffering? I believe part of the answer is that He is allowing us to get a small taste of what we deserve. The Bible tells us that God is patient and giving man time to repent, which is the appropriate response when we are confronted with our own sinfulness. At some point, Christ will return and will eventually put an end to sin, suffering, disease, bloodshed, and death. The reason He has not returned yet is because God wants more people to turn to Him (see 2 Peter 3:8–9). In the meantime, man has become more and more wicked as he strays farther and farther away from God.
We deserve it?
Let’s see, a young girl is raped and becomes pregnant. Please justify to me how she deserved that. I would dearly like to know how your Sky Being of Ultimate Goodness and Humility can allow that to happen and hold the child responsible.
What about the children and babies that die of starvation, disease and lack of pure drinking water every damned day! What possible reason can you provide to suggest that they got nothing more or less than they deserved?
But, someone might ask, what about all the innocent people that suffer? The answer is that none of us are truly innocent. This was a hard concept for me to grasp at one time, because I could not understand how an infant could be considered a sinner. But the Bible is clear that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and that we all have a sinful nature from the first moment of our conception because of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12–21).
I see. That’s your answer is it? Nobody asks to be born. It is a gift that is thrust upon us. And then for some reason, it is our fault an we deserve to be killed? Really? Am I the only one who sees the sheer arrogant stupidity of this viewpoint?
If that’s your idea of Christian love, you can keep it. You really can!
It makes sense logically, too. How can two imperfect people make a perfect child? It’s impossible. Those of you who have been around infants, how do little children learn how to be selfish? We don’t have to teach them that. They are inherently selfish and start exhibiting that behaviour at a very early age.
Two imperfect people? But if we are the creations of God, then surely in his perfection, all of his creations should be perfect. No perfect being could produce anything other than perfection by his/her/its very nature.
So, again, either we are perfectly designed to carry out (or at least work within the parameters of) God’s perfect plan, or we’re not… In which case there’s a glitch in the system… And the plan ain’t perfect!
How many times do I need to reiterate this point?
Also, selfishness is a instinctive survival trait. Compassion is a learned response, but as we are social animals it is also a survival trait. And yes it is a trait rather than a skill even if it needs to be instilled rather than being instinctual. The human animal is designed (by nature) to work in a group for the greater good.
Because we are all sinners, we all deserve God’s judgement, which is death (Rom. 6:23). We don’t deserve to live because we have violated the law of a perfectly holy God, but He graciously allows us to live for a certain amount of time.
Please point out when I violated the law of your God. Citations will be required, and not from the Bible thank you. Self affirmation is not allowed.
When I was hospitalized with leukaemia, and very close to death, I did not ask “Why me?” I knew why. As a sinner, I deserve death and suffering. I actually wondered why God had given me so much time and I was grateful for the time He had given me.
You must have a very poor self image and self esteem issues. I honestly can’t think of anyone who deserves to develop Cancer. And to be honest I have nothing but disdain for anyone who could, even if it’s themselves.
God is all-loving and He is all-powerful. The existence of suffering and evil does not militate against this. Instead, these things actually prove He exists, because if He did not, we could not even recognize that these things are bad. God allows suffering and evil to exist for a time, but will one day He will do away with it all. 1 Corinthians 15:26 tells us that death is the last enemy that will be destroyed. When we are with Him there will be no more tears, sorrow, grief, suffering, bloodshed, or death (Revelation 21:3–4).
WTF? Are you listening to yourself? God the all loving and all powerful allows pain, torture, rape, disease, suffering and needless death (sometimes on a truly gargantuan scale) because he loves us? Because he wants us to be able to differentiate between good and evil?
The Bible not only gives the only legitimate explanation for the existence of death and suffering, it also provides the only solution. This subject is explained in much greater detail in my book, available in print from my online store God and Cancer: Finding Hope In the Midst of Life’s Trials or at a great discount for Kindle.
Ah here it is. You’re out for your 30 pieces of silver. It’s the Christian way! Not only do you prostitute yourself for financial gain, but you do it by preying on the weak and those who may be clutching at any straws they can find in order to ease their pain and suffering.
Not only that, but I have read the Bible many times and I am yet to find any rational explanations of any morality at all , let alone an explanation for how your God can allow the atrocities that we see on a (pretty much) daily basis.
What a contemptible human being you are, Mr Chaffey!