Summary: How can a God of Love allow so much suffering?
Why Does God allow Suffering?
We’re in a sermon series now on "Questions We’d Like to Ask God." I don’t think that God is afraid of our tough questions. Isaiah 1 "Come and reason together."
One of the top questions asked by Christians and non-Christians alike deals with suffering. Why do we have it? Is God responsible? Why suffering? Earthquakes. Famine. Floods. Death. Most asked question on university and college campuses. Most of us here today have wondered why the world is the way it is. You have asked. I have asked.
I’ve lost both of my parents to cancer...I’ve dealt with this tough question for many many years.
Not only do people ask why God allows suffering, but some say that God causes needless suffering. Ex...newspaper story, LakeWorth, Florida. Man hit by high-power electrical line which had been struck by lightning. Severly injured. Hospital. Sent bills to insurance. Refused. The Insurance company called it an "An act of God." Court agreed and held up the Insurance claim. So the man decided to sue God and Company. He took 55 local Christian churches to court. A frivolous lawsuit...As the churches could point out-- it was an "Act of Satan." Correct.
The destroyer of life and enemy of all that is good is not God, regardless of what you have experienced or have been taught. We often grow up with prejudices or beliefs that need to be tested, and today we want to test this one.
First, we can’t overlook the biblical worldview, and one which many major religions subscribe to...that there are two opposing forces in the universe. Not fair that God gets credit for all the suffering. Bible says that when God created the world it was perfect...good. No flaws. So then where did this suffering stuff come from. Where did it start? We’ll look briefly at where this suffering stuff started, and then we’ll try something. We’ll try to put ourselves in God’s position and see if and what we’d do differently. Fun.
This world is part of a sin experiment between God and Lucifer--Satan.
Let’s put ourselves in God’s shoes. What would we do differently to guarantee that suffering, sin, and hurt would never enter a world.
(1) Nip it in the bud. The moment pride, envy, hateful thoughts come into one of your creatures minds, you wipe them away. That would solve it for good. Sound good? Why don’t we try it at home. Imagine that one of your children, parents, ends up getting in trouble with the law--prison 20 years. Neighbor comes up to you and asks, "When did your child begin to get in trouble and do wrong stuff?" You think "Probably around 13 years old. She began to smoke pot, take drugs, run around with the wrong crowd. Steal a little here and there." Neighbor says, "Well why didn’t you kill her when you saw her taking that course?" You’d think your neighbor was crazy. You’d move to another neighborhood. Why wouldn’t you kill your kid when they start doing wrong? Because you love them. Why do we assume that God did not love Lucifer when he began to get a big head? Not only that, imagine what kind of world God would have created if he operated on this premise...
"Imagine one day your in heaven, you overhear a conversation between two angels. One says "Say where’s Lucifer? I haven’t seen Him for a while." "Oh, haven’t you heard?" "No, what?" "Well Lucifer got into a little difficulty with God and God cut him out of the picture." Immediately fear fills their hearts. "Why did God do that to Lucifer?" "Well, because he sinned." "What’s sin?" "I don’t know, but you better not do it, or you and I are next."
If God decided to wipe off from this planet every person who has ever caused harm, by word, action, or intent--which one of us would be alive in the morning? Bible says God is "patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but wanting everyone to change their mind about him." 2 Peter 3:9
(2) Without ability to choose wrong. What kind of world would that be? Robots. Push button on back of your family and friends and they’d say "I love you." Wouldn’t that feel great. Sure...But is it true? That wouldn’t be love or a relationship. A relationshiop demands a love based on choice. It can’t be forced. God decided to take the huge risk and create a world with people who could choose to love and hate, instead of human looking automatons.
(3) Freedom to choose. If God created a world where people truly had a choice--He has to allow for the possibility that people would misuse that freedom, even if it means hurting others. What is the freedom to love or not love unless it is freedom to enrich or harm another? That is where most of our suffering today comes from. It’s not so much--Why does God allow it, but why do we allow it?