This is Part 1 of 4 parts answering the question, “Could God have created a place where there was no suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-4 will be posted in the following days.
Now that we’ve examined many different ways that people suffer and looked at man’s way of dealing with suffering, we’ve begun to look at reasons why it exists. We’ve asked the question, again, of how and why a loving God would allow suffering and briefly looked at His character. Yet, we should also ask the question, “Could God have created a place where there is no suffering?” And, we should ask, “If He is God, all-powerful, all-knowing and loving, why didn’t He just create a world where there would be no suffering?” Those are two different questions. They seem alike, but they are very different.
This chapter will deal with the question, “Could God have created a place where there was no suffering?” whereas the second question will be dealt with later in Part Three. We should first understand that God “…is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Eph. 3:20 NKJ) There is nothing that He is not able to do in accordance with His will.
God Can Do All Things Within His Will
Some people will ask foolish questions in order to paint God into an inadequate box. For example, they will ask, “Can God make a square circle?” Or, “Can God create a rock so big that He can’t lift it?” I remember discussing these in my first year Philosophy 101 class at the University of Minnesota. They are by default foolish questions, because of the definitions. Philosophers will go on, page after page, analyzing the questions, but they only reveal the absurdity of their thought processes. By definition, a square is a four sided box with equal length sides. A circle is a perfectly round object. It is absurd to try to combine them because you no longer would have, by definition, the desired object. Regarding the rock issue, God is able to make anything He wants to according to His will. By definition, He would never be concerned about this matter, so it would not enter into His mind to be concerned about it. When I know that God can speak a word and cause the universe to come into existence, then I won’t question what He can or can’t do. Better to have “the fear of the Lord,” than to approach the Lord with foolish inquiries.
God Desired to Demonstrate His Love for Man
In eternity past, God existed as the Godhead and what the Bible refers to as “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” (Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 13:14). This is what we, in Christianity, call the Trinity. He enjoyed perfect love in the Trinity, because God the Father is love (1 John 4:19; John 3:16); God the Son is love (John 15:9-10; Eph. 5:25; 1 John 3:16) and God the Holy Spirit is love (Rom. 15:30; Gal. 5:22). When He planned the creation of man, God desired to not only demonstrate His love but to receive love from man.
God demonstrated His love through the creation of the perfect Garden of Eden. Then, when man became a sinner, God continued to demonstrate His love by sending a payment for the penalty of sin that mankind had committed. Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8 NKJ) That was in the mind of God before He created the earth, “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev 13:8 NKJ) God clearly established his love for man.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.