Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The question why does God allow suffering and evil is one of the most significant questions of this or any other time.

Why does God allow suffering and evil?

Why are babies born blind? Why is a promising life snuffed out as it is on the rise? Why are there wars in which thousands of innocent people are killed, children are burned beyond recognition and many are maimed for life?.

There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds.

These sessions are not about opinion, they are about learning truth, the truth contained in the Bible, together we are going to focus on how we apply God’s truth, black & white in a grey world. To set godly priorities, grow in Christian character and live according to God’s standards so that we are a living witness to others.

Romans 8:28-39 (NKJV)

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Why does God allow Suffering and Evil?

The question why does God allow suffering and evil is one of the most significant questions of this or any other time. For many people this question is more important than any other.

There tends to be two classic statements used to answer this question, either:

- God is all-powerful but not all-good and therefore doesn’t stop evil; or

- He is all-good but unable to stop evil, in which case he is not all-powerful.

The general tendency is to blame God for evil and suffering and to pass on all responsibility for it to him.

What types of questions about suffering do you find most difficult to answer?

- Why innocent people suffer

- Why there are natural disasters

- Why one spouse leaves another

- Why young people die

- Why there is war

- Why people murder others

What about you? What kinds of hard questions about suffering have you asked during your life?

When have you found it difficult to answer someone else’s questions about suffering?

There are no easy answers. The question of suffering and evil is not one to be treated lightly.

For a moment lets go right back to the beginning and recall what happened when God created Adam and Eve. God created them perfect, they were not created evil. Adam and Eve had free will, God did not create them as mindless puppets, they had the ability to think, to obey or disobey. If they had obeyed God there would never have been a problem with evil and suffering. They would have lived an unending perfect life of perfect fellowship with God, they would have enjoyed Him and His creation every day.

When God created Adam and Eve this is what he intended for them when He created them. Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s will and from that time on the bible tells us in Romans 5:12 that “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”. People are responsible for sin - not God.

Why didn’t God design us not to sin?

He could have. He could have made us like puppets or machines with no will or freedom of choice. There would have been no love either. Love is voluntary, choice is voluntary. If God had made us robots we would have ceased to be human. God chose to make us as He did, and we face the reality of choice because of what He did. Augustine of Hippo. said “As sure as I lived, I knew that I possessed a will... nobody else was making the choice for me.”

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