Evil & Suffering

Life is hard, and God is good. You don’t have to know why you’re going through what you’re going through. You don’t have to know if there’s any good coming from your suffering. God is working all things for good of those who love Him. God is in control, and God is good. You can trust Him with what you’re going through.

Many people don’t believe in God because of evil and suffering – some suffering that has happened to them or some evil act that they can’t see good that could come out of it. The existence of evil and suffering is one of the biggest objections against Christianity.

I don’t buy it. Having personally suffered the pain of death, I don’t know all the good that has come out of my suffering, but because you can’t fathom and see any good out of a particular situation doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Very smart philosophers use complex probability calculus, concluding that it is highly improbable that God exists because of evil and suffering, all the while cloaking their equations in highly subjective language. They reveal their real purpose, that their disbelief doesn’t stem from probability, but from the fact that they can’t fathom good that could come out of a situation. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean an omniscient God doesn’t. These philosophers take the rules of atheism and apply it to Christianity, acting as if you can only explain things through the material world, without the supernatural. It is playing by a different set of rules.

If you’re really going to evaluate Christianity to see if it’s true or not, and you’re looking at the problem of evil and the problem of suffering, don’t use the rules of atheism to evaluate theism and Christianity. Look through the lens of a Christian for a second. There is an all-knowing God. We are finite creatures with limited brain capacity. We can’t understand things in our everyday lives. Who are we to expect to understand the depths of evil and suffering? Christianity shows us that God is good, that God is all-knowing, and that God has far-reaching good plans for even suffering that we can’t imagine right now what the good could be (Romans 8:28; Hebrews 11:32-40). Just because you don’t understand a good that could come out of a seemingly gratuitous evil act doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist and that He doesn’t have good plans.

Dear sufferer, your suffering isn’t the end of the story. God is bringing an end to all evil and suffering, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, purchasing for you (if you believe in Him) an eternity without sin, an eternity without crying, an eternity without pain, without mourning, without tears, and without death. That is what God is preparing for those who love Him (Revelation 21:1-5). He is a good God. He is an all-knowing God. He can be trusted. Only with God is your suffering redeemed. Only with God there is hope.

The Problem of Evil

Evil is a real problem. It has hurt many people. It has caused much pain and confusion. Many people wonder how an all-loving and all-powerful God could allow so much evil and the specific evils that have hurt them personally. This problem is the underlying reason many people do not believe in God. I want to devote my life to thinking critically, conversing about, and studying this philosophical quandary, the problem of evil. This post won’t get to the depths of the heart of the matter. I suspect that over the next several years, there will be many posts on varying aspects of this topic. For now, this post will get us started.

There are three main reasons why people don’t believe in God. There are intellectual, emotional, and willful objections that people have. With the problem of evil, the main objections are emotional or willful. Someone has a hard time believing in a God that has allowed such evil and suffering to happen in their life (emotional), or they don’t want to believe in a God that allows such evil and suffering to exist (willful). Though these objections are very real, and they matter very deeply to the one holding them (because they stem from some deep hurt), they aren’t necessarily based on reality. The only types of objections that hold ground in terms of what’s really real are intellectual objections.

Just because I feel a certain way or don’t want to believe a certain thing does not make that thing not exist. It can cause someone to reject reality, but it does not change what’s really real. This is the problem many people have within the problem of evil. They fail to examine what’s really real because of the dark blinders of suffering.

There are many explanations as to why God would allow suffering, but outside of all of those defenses and theodicies, one thing must always be remembered. God is not exempt from evil and suffering. He took on flesh to take on evil and suffering. He willfully suffered excruciatingly at the hands of evil to defeat evil. And He did. He died. But by His death, death was defeated. And because He is alive, He has provided an eternity (FOREVER) where 1) there is no more evil and suffering and 2) we will fully comprehend the love of God through the sacrifice of Jesus.

This is good news. This is good news that would be no news apart from the bad news of the existence of evil.