Suffering: Can a believer be victorious while God allows suffering? Part 1

This is Part 1 of 7 parts answering the question, “Can a believer be victorious while God is allowing suffering in his life?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-7 will be posted on succeeding days.

From our human perspective, we much prefer the “thrill of victory” over the “agony of defeat (suffering)! We Americans guard our time, so we can watch a favorite team defeat the “other team”! As the greatest and most powerful nation in the world, we have become accustomed to thinking that we are the victors in all things and the rest of the world is somehow second class.

There is a reason we associate life with victory.  Could it be that we think death goes with defeat and we don’t want anything that reminds us of life that is no longer living?

At the time of creation, Adam and Eve were vegetarian, along with the following generations. It wasn’t until after Noah’s flood that God said they could eat meat (Gen. 9:3-4).  When God breathed into Adam the “breath of life” or the nephesh (Hebrew), Adam became a living creature with a soul, a being that was very different from a plant.

Man is not a plant. He is a living soul. That may be why some people can take a dead stump and create a small flower garden around it or several dead stalks of corn and bundle them for decorations around Thanksgiving. Yet, we would never put a corpse or a dead horse for any kind of decoration. It would be repulsive! Animals became food to eat, but dead animals were never meant to be a decoration or something to be enjoyed. God spoke to Noah, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.” (Gen. 9:3 NKJ) Why? A dead living organism is revolting because it is a symbol or picture of the effects of sin.

God told Adam that the day he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would “surely die.” (Gen. 2:16,17)  When they ate, they died spiritually (Gen. 3:6). Fortunately, God did not leave Adam in that dead state, for He taught Adam of a coming means of redemption through the “coats of skin.” (Gen. 3:21). It was the same victory promise taught in the New Testament regarding the shedding of blood for the removal of sin (Heb. 9:22). The result of Adam’s sin was separation from God (Rom. 6:23). That is why God thrust Adam and Eve out of the Garden. And because of Adam’s sin, we all were represented by him (Rom. 5:12) and thus were plunged into the consequences of defeat and condemnation! And it is not just the human race that is suffering but the whole world, “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” (Rom. 8:22 NKJ)

If that is the result of sin, is there hope? Is there hope of victory?

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

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