Suffering: What are the results of man’s ways of dealing with the suffering God allows? Part 1

This is Part 1 of 2 parts answering the question, “What are the results of man’s ways of dealing with the suffering God allows?” in the larger project of asking the question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

Apart from God, man in his own wisdom has developed answers, solutions and complex philosophies for dealing with suffering. However, he is always left empty and searching for more answers. Bill Nye, a proponent of evolution and television’s “Science Guy,” finds the search exciting!1 But that is how he makes his living! He looks for new ways of explaining things, which provides more opportunities to combine natural phenomenon with explanations that exclude God. What are the results for the rest of those who choose man’s way of dealing with the suffering God allows?

Man’s Way of Dealing with Life

The first result of man choosing his own way was expulsion from the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, God taught them by sacrificing animals that they needed someone to die for them. God then took the animal skins and made their clothes (Gen. 3:21). Then God shunned them from the perfect environment of the Garden. Cain had a similar experience when he killed Abel. God said,

11 “So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 “When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” 13 And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 “Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” 15 And the LORD said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. 16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. (Gen. 4:11-16 NKJ)

He was cursed from the earth, disciplined to have to work hard to reap from the ground and pressured to feel like a vagabond, wandering from the presence of the Lord. That was a dreadful result! But those are results of sin and we are talking about suffering! What are the results of man’s ways of dealing with suffering that God allows?

Think about it. How well did Adam and Eve disciple Cain and Abel? Certainly Abel got the picture, but Cain did not. It may have been Cain’s fault, because he rejected both God’s form of sacrifice AND God’s admonishment to control his sin (Gen. 4:7). That is exactly the result of dealing with suffering in man’s way. As the misery increases, the separation from God and others is greater and the lack of hope is like a sinkhole in the soul. The results of man’s ways of dealing with suffering are just like man’s ways of dealing with sin, because they are both problems and troubles of life. Let’s note five results of man’s way of dealing with suffering.

1Bill Nye debated Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

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