Liquid Footprints

God and Suffering

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Why does the God of Love allow suffering?“Why does a loving God allow suffering?”

This is one of the most asked question we urgently want answered, next to “Where is the bathroom” anyway.  Let us briefly look at this question. First, it assumes God is loving. Next it assumes God allows suffering. Finally, it assumes there is an underlying reason. Sounds like I am about the say God isn’t loving and also causes suffering without reason doesn’t it?

Hardly. I will attempt to show you how I understand and view the question:

  1. God allows suffering because He is loving
  2. He is loving because suffering exists

We cannot understand love and compassion without suffering. It is through suffering we empathize with other people. We too have stubbed our toes and wince in remembrance when we see someone do the same. We lose loved ones. We get sick. We die. These commonalities form the foundation of our love.

If we lived forever and never felt pain, we couldn’t understand or experience love. We would be unable to interact with anyone or anything. That interaction would cause suffering. Only a self sufficient being can never experience suffering. Self sufficiency means they do not and cannot interact with anything outside themselves. As soon as such a being does, it would experience a distinction of itself and the other. That distinction will cause suffering.

Wait, so you mean God isn’t self sufficient? Yes. Exactly. If He was, He might as well not exist because He wouldn’t be able to interact with us or create anything. He wouldn’t be capable of love.

Since God is interactive and loving, God is capable of suffering. Yes, I think there is suffering in heaven. And it is a beautiful thing! God suffers just like we do, perhaps even more than we are capable of fathoming. If God does condemn people to eternity in hell, I am sure it grieves Him deeply. It would be akin to the death of a son or daughter..and killing them with your own hand while they beg for their life.

That suffering allows Him to love and understand us. Godly suffering creates Godly love. God allows suffering because it is the only way to experience love and develop compassion.

Christians can look to Jesus as the example of God’s suffering (for those who believe in the Trinity doctrine this is especially salient). Jesus was only capable of loving the downtrodden and beaten because He too was downtrodden and beaten. He knew hunger and illness so He wanted to ease it in others. Buddha is another figure that understood suffering and love are inseparable. Gandi is yet another.

So why does God allow suffering? How is it fair that good people die? It isn’t.

God lives within each of us: He suffers with us. He suffers deeper than us. Why doesn’t He stop it? Because each suffering people endure expands  compassion and love. Look at natural disasters. Certainly a lot of people suffer, but even more people express and grow in compassion. The people suffering are touched by that compassion in ways they wouldn’t experience otherwise.

God doesn’t cause or allow suffering. It simply is. It is just the fabric of reality. To exist, even on the heavenly plane, is to suffer. God will wipe away every tear, but we will still cry.

God allows suffering because He too suffers. It is the only way He (and us) can love. And love is the supreme suffering.

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Author: Chris

Wanders the world of Japanese culture and library nerdiness.

2 thoughts on “God and Suffering

  1. The Bible says God IS love, He doesn’t have love. It’s the same concept as You ARE human, you don’t have human. The Word also says He created us because He loved, His initial creation was without suffering, and human suffering exists because of our voluntary disobedience (sin). Furthermore, the Word says it was God’s plan to rescue humans from the chains of sin via the Christ from the beginning–He came down into our mess because He already loved us. He did not begin loving us after He began experiencing suffering at the hands of the Pharisees/Romans.

    While it is true that God suffers because we grieve Him so, there will not be suffering in the Kingdom post-judgement because a) we get washed in the river that removes even our memories of old sufferings, and b) no one who willingly disobeys Him will be allowed in His Kingdom.

    Suffering exists because humans are selfish and think too highly of themselves to obey a supreme Sovereign. The same reason Lucifer went down. If we would all walk in the authority given back to us by Christ and reign over evil like we’re supposed to, and get ourselves back in line under Him, suffering would stop. It’s in our hands, yet so few are willing to let go of their current beliefs in order to make room to believe what the Bible actually says. It’s not hard to understand, it’s hard to believe (when you keep a death grip on your own ideas).

    Next time someone asks why God allows suffering, tell them God wants to ask them why they allow it.

    • That is the standard dualist view. Certainly God is love, but love cannot exist without suffering. Arguably I do have human; that is my soul has a human form and is human as well. Duality blinds us to the whole reality.

      Sin didn’t cause suffering; at least initially.Sin does cause suffering, and suffering can cause sin. The initial creation also had suffering if you believe Genesis literally (I don’t). Adam and Eve suffered hunger and desire for knowledge. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have ate of the Tree of Knowledge in the first place. Something was lacking, and that lacking caused suffering they wanted to sate. God in the Genesis story is guilty of entrapment (unless you read in as the early Hebrews understood the story), but that is a different topic.

      I used to also believe in such a dualist view until the Spirit led me toward better understanding. Even if everyone lived as Jesus and the Buddha and other great souls show us, suffering would still exist. People will still meet and part. Illness will still exist. Animals will still die so we we eat. Stars will continue to be born and die. Suffering is the root of love, and love is the root of suffering.

      Yes, there will be suffering in heaven. I for one, will suffer if I don’t see even one person I know there. No one, I repeat no one, deserves an eternity of torment for just a paltry 75 years of life no matter what they have done.

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