Sunday, July 19, 2009

The purpose of evil and suffering

I feel like I cover the same ground over and over again, and this topic is pretty on course with what I always seem to blog about(though hopefully you've noticed I've tried to be a tad bit more versatile in subject lately). But I will attempt today, to present things in a slightly fresh manner:

One of the age old questions brought up by atheists and agnostics alike is actually of moral nature. They contend,
How can there be an all-loving God when there is so much evil in the world? How could God allow all the sickness, death and deception that plagues humanity?
They use this to say, that God can not exist because of the evil that is so strong and evident in this life. And while I, nor anyone, possess all the answers...I think the short answer to this is simply "because God has a purpose for it".

Though In my old views I believed God had a purpose for evil (as I do still), it really didnt make sense in the grand scheme of things. Because while most sufferings and atrocities in life are blamed on mankind's rebellion against God(which I would say is not entirely accurate), it all stems back to the fall of Adam that, as I said in the last blog, God allowed. God could have just as easily stopped Adam and eve from partaking of the tree that would damn mankind for all eternity, but he didnt. Better question yet, why even create the object of temptation(the tree) to begin with? Fast forward to the end of the world, and whats the result(according to my old orthodox view)? Most of humanity and creation burning away in suffering as a result of evil being unleashed upon the world! No wonder atheists and the like have a hard time believing a good, loving, all powerful God exists...they're taught that the evil of this life ultimately prevails more than God! What comfort and faith can one really have in a God that is over shadowed by the very evil He knowingly allowed(and I would say, pretty much created)?

So we come back to the question of why God allows evil and its sufferings? My only reasoning, again, is that God has a purpose. And since God is perfect, I will add that this purpose must end with an ultimately positive result for all, whom the evil was unleashed upon (such of which, an eternal punishment would most certainly not fit in...there is nothing positive about unending, unpurposed pain).
A passage that helps illustrate this positive use of suffering, is in Lamentations 3:31-32,

For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
So great is his unfailing love.

If the "grief" described here is the sufferings of sin and death in this life, how then will God show compassion if most are doomed to torment for all time as a result of those very things? Not only does that make no sense, but it completely contradicts the prior sentence which says for men are not cast off by the Lord forever! No evil that will ever exist, is outside the power and purpose of God almighty...not even "Hell". 1 Samuel 2:6 is a great example,

The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol [translated as "Hell" often] and brings up

This verse could be interpreted like this(according to my theology): God may allow death, but he will make those people alive again. God may allow people to go to "Hell", but will bring them up from it as well. I think this fits quite nicely with my belief, that all humanity is eventually saved unto God. Because if the result of evil is ultimately and completely overcome by God for his glory and to mans benefit(as I believe), than Gods allowance of evil and the devil is of no moral compromise to me. Its like when a child does something wrong, like touching a hot stove for the first time, even after their father told them not to. The parent may have watched it happen, but only does so, because they know that it will only temporarily harm the child and that the child will learn what not to do because of it. Such I believe is a similar reason(though much more complex and varied), for why God allows evil and its griefs in this life. We can run from sunset to sunset searching for thrills that will only bring us down and cause us destruction, but God allows it knowing that we must (and will) come to understand our need for the perfect thrill, the perfect high that is found only within His presence. From the very moment he called us into existence, he knew all that we would do and all the destruction that would result from it...yet allowed it because the end result would be a loving and lasting relationship with all of His creations.

That is the God I serve and love

1 comment:

  1. The trials are the things that shape our faith and make it that much stronger. The evil must exist for the good to exist since the fall of Adam and Eve. God is forever evolving our relationship with him and the more difficult life becomes so the stronger your relationship with him should.