Summary: There is no easy answer to the most taxing question of ’Why does God allow suffering?’- but we, as Christians, have the only answer.
“Why does God allow suffering?” WBC 16/1/5pm
Readings come during sermon
This is, indeed the biggest problem
- Though I have come to a point of peace and some understanding on it. For me.
- but I don’t have a full ‘satiating’ answer to it
o and you may not be able to, either
o most realistic to hope that there might be a few nuggets (and one in particular) that you can take away from here that help you.
have found it varies from person to person
‘wear your own armour’ (not Saul’s)
• to nurture your faith
• (not to ‘protect’ you from the real world!)
And probably we have protected ourselves from the real world
- used our faith to protect us!
o (came for comfort, not challenge)
- hence: why we are so shocked by these Tsunami event
o but the suffering of ONE life raises the same question:
“why does God allow suffering?”
o and millions die every few days- most of it not through ‘old age’ (we even have a problem with that, sometimes)
And our faith needs to have thought these things through
- because there IS an answer. One who is the answer.
- Illustr: it is only in the ‘west’ that we have a problem with this. Other eras, cultures and communities of faith have a theology that integrates with these realities of life:
- 1) These things are part of life, death and faith
- 2) God allows these things
- 3) God gives life, He has the right to take it away (??)
- 4) God acts and sends these things (???!! I don’t agree. Needn’t have that opinion)
But I’m aware… even as I present those opinions… that this is ALL just theorising! Sitting in a warm church while people suffer!
- in the end it is a pastoral issue!
o If you’re thinking about this issue tonight, may you receive some ansers
o If you’re feeling… going through this issue may you receive some COMPFORT
… but theorise… theologise we must- as then we find that we, as Christians, have an answer that brings hope. Hope eternal. Shows the true nature of God.
- man! I’m going to cover the reason I am a Christian and not an atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, New Ager or JW
In summary, the problem… question is: “If God allows suffering- then He either doesn’t exist (a-theism), He is either not good, all knowing (omniscient) or all powerful (omnipotent)”
o and on that some rest their case for disproving the existence of God (and confirm it by ‘nature’)
o but they are faced with prob/questions of another kind:
what IS the purpose of life…. Of suffering, then?
can you prove God doesn’t exist?
Can you prove God doesn’t have SOME reason for allowing things as they are?
= HARDER questions, actually! And a harder life to lead. A tragic.. sad one.
But- I believe we have SOME answers. Something to offer. AND we have pain as well
- the issue of suffering is real for a-theists… but MIGHT it be more real for theists.. CHRISTIANS?
o 25 years ago I was immune to this stuff! Personally and theologically. It didn’t touch me because I was cold and had no belief to defend. Dead: spiritually, morally and intellectually!
o THIS has ripped me apart. AND YOU!
And why is that? It’s because when you get closer to God
- He enlarges your heart
- You become more like Him. (Christ-like). THEREFORE
- YOU FEEL WHAT HE FEELS
So- actually, the horror and pain that you feel, and questions you ask even- are (to me) a sign of
- God’s existence. His nature. What He feels
The very fact that ‘man’ asks these questions… has a moral framework that says ‘these things aren’t right!’… is evidence of God
- much more so for the Christian… to the Christian
Think of it: where else could this sense of justice, injustice, hurt, offence, moral absolute… compassion have come from?!
- it certainly hasn’t come from observing the world around us and evolution (which affirms ‘hardness’, self preservation)
This IS a problem exactly because there IS a God
- and it IS frustrating that He doesn’t DO more
o BUT HE WILL!
But the issue is so huge we do have to accept some sense of mystery in it. We are not God.
- it is so huge God has to tell us the necessary truths by story
o (accounts of what may have been historical fact and are certainly spiritual fact)
Read Gen 3
God creates a universe of free will. One where choices can be made. One where there must also be things to choose between