The Apostle was undoubtedly continuing to rejoice in the Lord, but if he had been complaining, sulking, and bitter, his witness would have been zero. The proper response is not to blame God but rather to join Him in the battle of the ages against evil.The traditional "problem of evil" may be stated that the three sentences: 1) God is all good; 2) God is all powerful; and 3) evil exists, are incompatible, if not logically, then at least existentially. Moreover God is utterly holy, absolute in moral perfections, and his will is beyond reproach. Before and behind all the relations of God to man, as we now learn them from Christianity, yawns the abyss of a Divine act of pure giving—the election of man, from nonentity, to be the beloved of God, and therefore (in some sense) the needed and desired of God, who but for that act needs and desires nothing, since He eternally has, and is, all goodness. (3) We sometimes suffer because it is God’s discipline. Has Christian theology avoided asking questions about suffering that appears to come from God? Suffering is hard. 119: Learning and turning (vs. 71, cf. But Job silences these three by showing that is no correlation in this world between righteousness and prosperity or between wickedness and suffering. Kids will ask, âWhy didnât God prevent that from happening?â The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 2 (Gal. This requires faith in the eternal verities of God. 1. Job's three friends had taken the position that the severity of Job's suffering must be the sign of some grievous sin in his life. Like all my other writing, this too is "work in progress," friends.... Shalom. The academic question of how to reconcile faith in God with the prevalence of suffering is very different than the life of faith itself, where we trust God's heart, even if we cannot understand why things happen the way they do. King David had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah and the Lord caused David to suffer for his sin (2 Sam. If so, what is God like? It is good for us to know love; and best for us to know the love of the best object, God. That’s why they are called “trials” and “testings.” Even when we understand the purposes and principles of suffering, and we know the promises of God’s love and concern given in the Word of God for handling suffering, dealing with the trials of life is never easy because suffering hurts. It is safe to say that both skeptic and believer alike share one opinion in common: The question of pain and suffering provides the greatest challenge to belief in God. Whence then is evil?" The academic question of how to reconcile faith in God with the prevalence of suffering is very different than the life of faith itself, where we trust God's heart, even if we cannot understand why things happen the way they do. 1:6--“distressed” is lupeo meaning “to cause pain, sorrow, grief”). The best known presentation is attributed to the Greek philosopher Epicurus by David Hume, who was responsible for popularizing it. But to know it as a love in which we were primarily the wooers and God the wooed, in which we sought and He was found, in which His conformity to our needs, not ours to His, came first, would be to know it in a form false to the very nature of things. To manifest the power of God to others (2 Cor. While it does offer a biblical theology of suffering, it also has a great deal of â¦ It is also not a means of gaining points with God, nor of subduing the flesh (as in asceticism). This also may have a variety of answers for different types of suffering such as depression, labor pains, cancer, Parkinsonâs Disease, etc. The issue often isn't whether a person will believe in God, but rather how he or she will approach the question of God's Presence in light of suffering. Additionally, Yeshua knew the truth value of "counterfactual conditionals" (Matt. 13:12). “It may be cancer or a sore throat. The Chasidic School has said, "Man descends in order to ascend," meaning that the battle with yetzer hara (the "lower nature") is meant to strengthen us and develop qualities that we could otherwise not know. The problem of suffering leads inevitably to questions about the nature of good and evil and ulti mately to original sin.8In Aquinas's teaching on evil and original sin one can recognize the patterned roots of Schillebeeckx's anthropology. 10:29). We are disciplined by God to bear a greater good (Heb. ), Determine Solutions (How does God want me to handle this?). SELECT QUESTIONS ON THE THEOLOGY OF GOD THE REDEEMER (1995) PRELIMINARY NOTE . The theological approach to the problem of suffering is distilled down to the truth that God is majestic, and we are so little and limited in our understanding of his self and work, and we will not even begin to comprehend his plans and why He does what He does. “We all want the product, character; but we don’t want the process, suffering.”41 Because of our make up as human beings, we can’t have one without the other. 12:6). Godâs word clearly shows that suffering is a normal part of the Christian life, especially suffering for Christ. When possible, suffering is to be avoided. Nevertheless, and this is the problem given in the Book of Job, it is very often the righteous that suffer, while the wicked prosper, and it this breakdown of the principle of "karma" that is most problematic...In the end the question of why creatures suffer may be an unanswerable question, at least at the present time, because we are not omniscient and cannot ascertain the deepest reaches of God's redemptive purposes. ... and especially to the question of how the suffering and death of Christ is related to the winning of the world's redemption. Regardless of what we know and how hard we apply the principles, it is going to hurt (cf. Gustavo Gutierrez asks, âAre suffering human beings able to enter into an authentic relationship with God and find a correct way of speaking about God?â This is the core question of this course. The Chassidic masters must have read Kierkegaard, who called suffering the process of being "educated for eternity." 4:16). In a discussion between scholars the issue of a world torn by suffering is often described as an insoluble trilemma. But easy, formulaic answers to questions of suffering are invariably reductionistic---and they make bad theology, too. 1:4). Is He able, but not willing? 258 Theology Questions and Answers. No matter the reason, even if it is not God’s discipline for blatant carnality, it is a purifier for none of us will ever be perfect in this life (Phil. God is Eternal and therefore he is the Possessor of Eternal Life, Truth, Being, and so on. There is just blind fate. 12:7-11); we learn to endure trials for the sake of knowing and sharing the miracle of God's comforting love. Suffering forces us to turn from trust in our own resources to living by faith in God’s resources. His book, God and the Mystery of Human Suffering , is a theological meditation across history on the topic of human suffering. The "free will defense of God" is popular because it permits us to feel outrage over suffering and evil without blaming God. Start studying Theology Interview questions. 1:6-7 where the same Greek words are used along with the verb dokimazo which means, “put to the test,” “prove by testing as with gold.”. 3:12-14). (1) We suffer because we live in a fallen world where sin reigns in the hearts of men. 40:28; Psalm 145:3; Rom. If you can't find what you need, submit a new question and we'll put together an answer just for you. I encourage you to read Carsonâs response in full. Perhaps the most common reason kids begin to ask questions about evil and suffering is that they experience the death of a friend or loved one. Suffering provides opportunity for God’s glory, our transformation, testimony, and ministry, etc. 2:14-16). 13:4-6). “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, proven character; and . It may be a rumor that is circulating in your office or your church, damaging your reputation, bringing you grief and anxiety.”40 It can be anything that ranges from something as small and irritating as the bite of a mosquito or the nagging of a gnat to the charge of an elephant or having to face a lion in the lions’ den as with Daniel (Dan. It refers to a test designed to prove or approve. Even the wickedness of men and the suffering they cause is used by God to display His grace and love. Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider--God has made the one as well as the other so that man may not discover anything that will be after him. ni? 11:33. Surely He is our Good Shepherd who leads us through the world and orders all things to work together for our good (Rom. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically. “Testing” in this same verse is dokimion which has a similar idea. 10:17; Dan. Suffering provides key opportunities to manifest and magnify the power of God through His servants in order to verify and confirm the messenger and his message. "Marcel Proust once said, "To wisdom and goodness we make only promises; pain we obey," which I interpret to mean that suffering can teach us and help us develop into mature people. We reap what we sow (Gal. The results God seeks to accomplish with the trials of life requires time and thus also, endurance. God "purges" the vine branches; he cuts back and reshapes our growth and direction (John 15:1-8). There are a few related questions that often arise. The appearance of reckless animal cruelty poses questions for humanity to be sure; but it also, questions the goodness of God. STUDY. Among those of us who trust God and the words of our Lord Yeshua the Savior, however, we are faced with paradox, with mystery, and therefore we must learn to accept that we "see through a glass darkly" (1 Cor. (3) We suffer to keep down pride (2 Cor. The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil and suffering with an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God. Why now? (1) We suffer because we live in a fallen world where sin reigns in the hearts of men. The book of Job shows us there can be two ways to respond to suffering: one that curses God because of suffering and one that praises God, even in the midst of suffering (Job 2:9â10). For example, someone could affirm that God is all good and evil exists, but God is unable to overpower evil; or someone could say that God is both all good and all powerful, and therefore (ultimately speaking) evil does not exist, and so on. This world of shadows and decay is not our true home, and suffering is God's way of calling us away from the allure of its illusions. The Apostle Paul saw his thorn in the flesh as an instrument allowed by God to help him maintain a spirit of humility and dependence on the Lord because of the special revelations he had seen as one who had been caught up to the third heaven. In this sense, suffering is designed: (5) We suffer to bring about continued dependence on the grace and power of God. In addition to human physical suffering, there is animal suffering, animal suffering brought about by human cruelty â a point eloquently (and perhaps, surprisingly) made in C. S. Lewisâ The Problem of Pain. (2) We suffer because of our own foolishness. ... wrote for those suffering to show it was the same as jesus suffering. It may be a personal failure or disappointment in your job or school work. âThatâs just how it had to be.â Stuff happens. Letâs start with sudden, unexpected deaths, such as in a car accident. The world is simply not as it should be so things like health issues, relational strife, and natural disasters exist. In August of 2001 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and on August 29th, 2002 he went home to be with the Lord. I found myself becoming increasingly angry at God for letting me to continue to suffer and wrestling some of the toughest theological questions Iâd ever encountered. Lewis said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Search. Some people attempt to make suffering "outside" of God's will by denying his omnipotence -- by claiming that God literally cannot overcome evil because he has given moral agents their own sovereign will to choose... God can't remove evil the way he can't make a square circle or cause 2+2 to equal 5. Some non-believers adopt a docetic view of suffering, which denies the reality of pain altogether. Hope theology has been championed by many theologians, though the most influential by far has been Jurgen Moltmann of Germany. Suffering is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. Thankfully, in Theology Questions Everyone Asks, we get some real-truth answers to go with real-life questions." 3:12). It is one you will want to ponder and pray through, not only for your own life but also for those to and with whom you will give pastoral care. We may know some of the theological reasons for suffering from Scripture, yet when it hits, there is still a certain mystery. God controls suffering. 1:4). Others say that God does not know the future because reality is a process, and not a set of facts, and God simply leaves room for personal choices that are not predetermined to occur. Psalm 147:5; Isa. In this, it is designed to build our trust in the Almighty. Fr. In other words, if God is all good he would want to eliminate evil, and if God is all powerful he is able to eliminate evil, and yet evil exists, so we are left with the choice of accepting any two of these statements at the expense of the third. Suffering teaches us empathy, compassion, and humility, and God comforts us in our afflictions so that we can comfort others with the comfort we have been given by God (2 Cor. Simply stated, suffering is anything which hurts or irritates. I snuck ahead and read the chapter on Thomas Aquinas' part of the theological conversation on suffering that Fr. 4:35,9). Trials simply give us the capacity to cooperate with the process (Jam. What are these bends in the road that God puts in the path of life that we are to carefully consider? For once, English theology can claim to have pioneered a major theological development: from about 1890 onwards, a steady stream of English theologians, whose theological approaches differ considerably in other respects, have agreed in advocating, with more or less emphasis, a doctrine of divine suffering. For we are only creatures: our role must always be that of patient to agent, female to male, mirror to light, echo to voice. Suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. (8) We suffer to broaden our ministries (cf. The following questions are designed to help us “consider” in the day of adversity: (4) Does my response demonstrate faith, love for God and for others, Christ-like character, values, commitment, priorities, etc.? Create. The empirical philosopher David Hume succinctly put the problem this way: "Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? It is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives in a way that would never occur without the trial or irritation. Suffering is not something God intended for us (it is "outside" his plan), and therefore we must fight against it. God knows the number of the hairs on our head; he knows our thoughts before we think them and our words before we utter them (Psalm 139); he knows the bloom of every hidden wildflower and when the sparrow falls (Matt. Then He is impotent. All suffering is not, for instance, a product of our own foolishness, self-induced misery, or sin. What is suffering? 1:3-4).God graciously "delivers our soul from death, our eyes from tears, and our feet from stumbling" (Psalm 116:8) so that we are enabled to express his compassionate love to others in our lives... "For as we share abundantly in Messiah's sufferings, so we share abundantly in consolation (παράκλησις) of the Messiah, too" (1 Cor. 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