Monday, July 28, 2008

Why So Much Evil & Suffering cont.

Question: If God is ALL good and ALL mighty, WHY is there so much evil and suffering?

#1. This is a legitimate question.

#2. Christians don’t have all the answers.

#3. Neither does anyone else – this is an ancient issue that goes way back.

We can find some answers, but we can’t answer every question fully.

Some additional observations (from Scripture and from experience) on evil and suffering.

I. A Biblical view says: God is not indifferent to Evil and Suffering.

A. He has acted in the past. Ex. 3:7 & 8 “…..I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt,…… I have come down to deliver them……” This is a typical example of God’s acting in the past.

The CLASSIC example is that God cared enough about mankind that he came to earth as a man, and died as sin’s sacrifice on the cross.

B. He is acting today – partly though His people. Ex. 3: 9 & 10 – “Now… behold, the cry of the children has come to Me,…….. come now,… and I will send you to Pharoah……” It is not any different now. God is looking for His people to do something about the evil and suffering. We cannot escape the responsibility to try to make changes and eradicate evil and suffering.

C. He will act (thoroughly and completely) in the future. Rev. 21: 3 – 5 “ ……. Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, ….. and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. ….Behold, I make all things new.”

In the end He WILL eliminate evil and suffering.

D. He suffers with us/feels our pain/understands. The Incarnation - Heb. 4: 14-16 “……for we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are…..” Jesus in the flesh lived as a human.


II. God uses evil and suffering to His purpose(s). (see last week’s message) Rom. 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,….”

Note the verbs used: produce, achieve, develop

The objection, “It’s not enough!” The answer: It’s not all revealed. 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.”

The argument is based on what we see, not what we will see.

The Christian hope (expectation) is that we WILL see and understand and be satisfied!!

This is something that the atheist or agnostic doesn’t have.

We still want to know “Why?”, but….

III. God’s final answer is a question! Job 38:1-7, 18, 40: 1-8, 42: 1-6 Job wasn’t condemned for asking questions or complaining.

To assume we’ve asked a question that God cannot answer is the ultimate intellectual arrogance.

His final answer is: Do you know everything? Can you fix everything?

God’s answer (or response) implies……

IV. Our greatest need is not an answer, but a presence. Example: Job’s satisfaction came when God showed Himself to him.


V. When we suffer well, we inspire others.

Some examples: Christ, martyrs, people on our prayer list, who went through trials and sufferings and uplifted others in the midst of it all.

This is not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually as well.


VI. In addition to asking “Why so” we should be asking “what now?” Luke 6:46 – “But why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say!” Is this for the good times only???

We should ask, “What now Lord?” – as a sufferer

- as an observer

- as a Pain Reliever

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