This is Part 4 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?” This concludes this chapter.
God Has a Higher Purpose in Suffering
But by allowing suffering God has a greater good in mind! He is able to show that even in the worst of situations He is able to take the difficult sufferings of life and “synergize them together” for His purposes, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”(Rom 8:28 NKJ) In the same way as many of the heroes of faith never saw the promise made to them in their time, we may not see the good worked out in life, but the promise would be given to them in eternity. For example, Abraham never saw the city God promised him,
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.(Heb. 11:8-10 NKJ)
Abraham knew that while being tested by the command to sacrifice Isaac he would receive the promise in eternity (which is infinitely better than anything on earth!). So he kept his eyes on the Lord’s pruposes and trusted in Him. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18 NKJ)
The question is, do you have God’s eternal life, which He gives at salvation? You can have that life, by placing your trust in Jesus Christ, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:18 NKJ) In fact, John also wrote, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”(1 John 5:12 NKJ)
Suffering may cause confusion and feel like the anger of God. But those who trust in God understand there’s something new coming, just like the dawn of a new day, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”(Ps. 30:5 NKJ) We will continue to look at God’s reasons for suffering in the following chapters.
- How long do you suppose the Garden of Eden was a place of no suffering? (in days, weeks, or months)
- If God enjoyed love in eternity past, why do you suppose He created creatures who might not love Him in return?
- How easy would it have been to love God in the Garden of Eden compared to loving God today? Why do you suppose that is?
- Do you suppose that those who believe in evolution (or the “millions of years” theory) and therefore have no answer for suffering, cling to that philosophy because they have rejected God’s love? Why or why not?
- Is it hard for you to believe that you may not find answers to your questions about suffering in time but have to wait until eternity? What are the things that would help you understand or grow in your faith?1Bramer, Stephen, “Suffering in the Pentateuch” Why, O God ( ), p. 872 McIntosh, Andy and Hodge, Bodie, “How did Defense/Attack Structures Come About?” The New Answers Book 1 (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006), p. 263.
3Bramer, p. 87.
4A. Desmond and J. Moore, Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1991, 387 quoted in Mitchell, Tommy, “Why Does God’s Creation Include Death & Suffering” The New Answers Book 1 (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006), p. 326
5http://infidels.org/library/historical/charles_darwin/origin_of_species/Chapter10.html accessed on Feb. 19, 2014
This concludes this chapter.