In Depth Bible Teaching

Teaching from the Scriptures

Bible Teaching

Why does God allow suffeing?

Suffering does not mean that you stub your toe, or because dinner was burnt.

The Greek word (Strongs 3958 – pascho) is translated in the New Testament with the English word suffer. Here are some of the meanings of the Greek word for suffering:

To suffer physically (Jesus on the cross; Paul’s thorn in the flesh, etc.), emotionally, or psychologically. To undergo evils, to be afflicted. To suffer as a Christian for His sake.

 

WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SUFFERING?

  • We live in a fallen world

 Gen 3:6-7

6 “she (Eve) took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together 

and made themselves coverings.”

 

Rom 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death                  spread to all men, because all sinned”

 

Rom 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

 

God did not choose for Adam and Eve to sin, it was their choice, to listen to the serpent rather than the words God spoke to them. There was no suffering in the Garden of Eden. Suffering does not find its source in God; it is the result of the sin of mankind. The rise of sin has been the birthplace of suffering.

 

1 John 5:19 “…the whole world lieth in wickedness.” Consequently, there will be suffering.  

 

John 16:33 “…In the world you will have tribulation…”

 

  • God created man with a free will

Free will is one of the things that makes mankind like God.

 

Gen 1:26 “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”

 

Without the ability to make a willful choice man would be nothing more than an automaton. Free will is necessary to experience life, and as Adam and Eve experienced, disobedience and death.

 

Since mankind has received a sinful nature intrinsically from Adam, that becomes the source of all kinds of wrongdoing. Evil choices and terrible decisions have consequences that affect the individual and others. One of those consequences can be suffering. Much of the suffering that we see in the world is caused by man himself without any regard for the innocent who can suffer unfairly.

 God never wanted Adam and Eve to sin, but they chose that road. God is not the source of sin neither is He the source of suffering. But He can use suffering to bring about all sorts of good things in the spiritual realm.

 

  • Why does God not eradicate all suffering from the world?

 

The reasoning is, that if God were really good, He would end all evil and suffering. But because He does not, that means that He is not good.

 

This question is asserting that man knows better and knows more than God does. Our understanding is flawed because only God knows the beginning from the end – nothing escapes His eye and understanding.

 

The Apostles were looking for change in their present-day suffering,

 

 Acts 1:6-7

6 “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the                                   kingdom to Israel?”

 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.”

 

God could intervene and change everything and eliminate all suffering. This is not a hard thing for the Lord to do, so why does He not?

One reason is that if God would, at this time, banish evil and suffering from the world, that would mean that it is the time of judgment. Consequently, all evil, all sinners, and all who are not saved and surrendered to the Lord would no longer have the opportunity to come into the kingdom of God, and would be ushered to judgment. The time of opportunity for all men would be over. God will judge sin, and evil, and get rid of suffering, but not until all men have the opportunity to receive Christ as Savior. There will not be a rush to judgment until it is God’s time.

 

Matt 6:10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

Rom 9:22-24

22 “What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

 

This also answers the question, if God was good why would He not end all suffering in the world?

It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4). It is also the goodness of God that gives all men time to repent.

If God were to step in and stop all suffering, all hope of redemption for man would end, and those who do not know the Lord would receive the wages for their sin.

 

Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…”

At this present time, God allows suffering to give man the opportunity to repent and live.

 

Ezek 33:11 “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”

 

The final outcome for evil and all the suffering it caused,

 

Rev 20:11-14

11 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And  they were judged, each one according to his works.

14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

 

Suffering related to the Christian,

 

Rom 8:28 “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.”

 

Job did not know in the beginning that God was going to bless his later end more than his beginning. All the suffering Job was acquainted with turned to God’s glory and Job’s.

 

Eccl 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity (a vanishing point) in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

 

1 Cor 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know  just as I also am known”

 

 

  • In the natural, suffering does not look like it serves any good purpose

 

The suffering of the unsaved does not do them much good because it does not accomplish anything of eternal value in them, considering there has not been a surrender of the heart to the Lord.

 

Hos 6:3 “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD”

This knowing is based upon heart repentance. Certain things will remain unknown until the heart turns to the Lord. One area of the unknown is that related to God’s glory.

 

The suffering of the redeemed has a point.

 

2 Cor 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

 

  • Is there a higher purpose for suffering that the non-Christian and many Christians do not know?

 

 Isa 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

In the following verses pay attention to the word glory.

 

2 Cor 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

 

Rom 8:18 “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.”

 

1 Peter 5:1 “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed”

 

 2 Thess 2:14 “to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”

 

 Rom 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

The implication is that sin stops mankind from obtaining the glory of the Lord.

 

Col 1:27 “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

 

1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him”

 

It is quite apparent that the Christian is called to acquire the glory of the Lord. The suffering that a surrendered Christian goes through, that God ordains, will produce an inner quality that may not be seen. The Lord uses all sorts of circumstances to accomplish this work. What He needs is a heart that desires Him and is willing to cooperate in His dealings to acquire His glory.

 

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”

 

None of these reasons for why God allows suffering make it any easier when we experience or have to endure suffering. Some suffering seems to have no useful purpose, which may seem true because man’s vision is quite limited. But it is comforting to know that for the Christian there can be something good beyond the suffering. There will be many things in this fallen world that we may not understand, but wisdom continues to call in the streets and says to lay our understanding aside.

 

Isa 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

 John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”