Summary: Dealing with the problem of pain in the world
As we conclude our series this morning entitled “Faith Has Its Reasons” I want to take up one of the most common questions raised to those who commit their lives to God: How Can I Trust in a God Who Allows Suffering?
On a philosophical level this is often referred to as The Problem of Evil. It might take the form of a question such as “If God is all powerful; then how can he allow evil to exist?
That’s a fine and fair question! But more than a philosophical question, it carries a personal dimension as well.
We all know something of the face of evil…the suffering so inherent to our human condition.
· A world in which nice people can feel painfully lonely.
· A world in which marriages can become battlefields…and the children often bear the scars.
· A world of crippling conditions…physically, mentally, emotionally…with us or around us.
· A world in which diseases such as cancer take too many we love too soon.
· A world in which parents die and our pasts feel lost; children die and futures feel lost.
And of course even the suffering of those far away doesn’t completely escape us!
· The hungry children in drought stricken countries we pray for…yet so many still die.
· The oppressed and persecuted…still beaten.
THE QUESTION WE CONSIDER THIS MORNING IS A QUESTION FOR ALL WHO HAVE WEPT AND WONDERED.
All of us who have been born as human beings are likely to weep and wonder at some point and in doing so, we share in a desire to MAKE SENSE OF SUFFERING.
Interesting thing about this process is that while some may find it causes them to question God …for others it causes them to believe in God.
I don’t intend this morning to solve the problem of human suffering, as much as to enlighten it.
For that is perhaps what we should really expect from God. We as finite creatures cannot expect to understand all that is involved in an infinite reality, but we can seek to enlighten our perspective.
How much light? Enough to live by.
Let’s consider a few points of light which God offers us…
1. The problem of evil…of suffering…is real!
This may seem obvious enough…but this is where the reality of the Bible stands uniquely on the side of our experience.
Most people think the problem of evil and human suffering is a problem for those whose view of the world is understood in light of God’s Word; without realizing that everyone hold’s a view of the world and each world view must evaluated in the light of reason.
· Atheistic-life is governed by chance, not order. Therefore there is no right, no wrong, and no evil. There is really no basis for complaining…nor for causes or compassion.
· Eastern worldview… involves two concepts;
1) Evil is an illusion, the problem is merely our perception…through enlightenment we can see this…and then pursue detachment from all desire which is the source of all suffering.
2) There is karmic justice. We are reincarnated according to past evil or progression. In essence, there is perfect justice. Whatever one experiences is the result of a perfect impersonal system of justice.