by Brendan Larsen
On the face of it suffering would seem to be the biggest argument against the existence of a good and loving God. However, in reality this is a bad question, because it is a self-defeating question.
Without the existence of God there is no basis for saying anything is good or bad. To say that something is bad is to make a moral judgement, and if God did not exist then there would be no logical basis for having moral absolutes. Not only this, but without God suffering makes no sense. Atheism has no answer for the reason why suffering exists. All life becomes meaningless without God. If there is no hope of eternity there is no motivation to endure continuous suffering in this life.
Charles Darwin wrestled with the problem of suffering when he witnessed the death of his daughter. The suffering he experienced contributed to his loss of faith and conviction that a good God didn't exist and that the world could best be explained without God by evolution.
Perhaps this is the real reason behind people's efforts to deny the existence of God – anger at God and an inability to see the truth that life is tough but ultimately it's not God's fault. Perhaps scientists start with (often subconsciously) a sense of deep hurt and confusion at life and in an effort to lash out at God they try to deny His existence. It may be true that many scientists start with the presupposition that there is no God and then try to use science to prove the Bible is wrong. So much for following the evidence wherever it may lead.
The argument from design is one of the most powerful arguments for the existence of God, but without the understanding of the fallenness of Creation it can only get us so far. Design tells us there is a God, but biblical Creation and the Fall explains that this God is a good God who made everything perfect in the beginning but then because of Adam and Eve's rebellion, death and suffering came into the world.
When seeking answers as to why a good and loving God allows suffering, the Bible has clear answers that make sense. But in order to begin to understand why suffering occurs, God requires us to put on the biblical worldview glasses and to put aside the evolutionary idea of millions of years. When we do this then we begin to make sense of suffering by seeing life through the eyes of faith, and the knowledge that a good God not only exists, but that He cares deeply for us and is at work in the midst of our suffering us understand it and bring good out of it. Does this make it easy to deal with suffering? No. Does it make it easier to deal with suffering? Yes. The fact is that only suffering can produce compassion in us for others who are suffering.
Suffering in this world is real – I've experienced it and no doubt you have too – but God will deal with our suffering – and eventually everything will be put right. God will make a new Heaven and a new Earth and there will be no suffering or death. God loves you and he suffered for you through Jesus death on the Cross. In the midst of your suffering and the suffering world around you, seek God with all your heart and you will find him. And if you really are concerned about the suffering in the world – ask God to show you how you can be part of the answer to bringing comfort to others who are suffering.
In conclusion, I'd like to close with one of my favourite Bible verses that is towards the end of Joseph's life – a life filled with much suffering. Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
(Original article: http://www.101arguments.com/2013/07/the-argument-from-suffering.html )