Thursday, December 4, 2014

Consequential Suffering

IF God is (all) good - absolute, total.  - (Scripture declares over and over that God IS all powerful and all good)
AND IF God is (all) Powerful,
then why is there (so much0 evil and suffering.

On one hand - many answers.
However, no (1) "satisfying" answer

Question:  Why accept the Christian view if answers are not satisfying?
Remember - 1)  No Worldview has "satisfying" answers!!
2)  the Character of GOD is more than goodness and power.
It includes A)  transcendence - He is INFINITELY beyond us.
Therefore  B) mystery - we cannot totally ever comprehend.  He is infinite - we never will be.

So, the Christian approach to the issue (questions) should be tempered with
A)  concern - the issue is more than intellectual!
but also with B) Faith - in the Character of God, in the Revelation of God. - If don't have that confidence, will fall on this issue.
and C) Humility - He is God, I am not, neither are you!

Remainder of this study =
I.  Why God Permits Evil and Suffering
II.  How God Employs Evil and Suffering - this makes suffering bearable, tolerable, sensical!! - Rom. 8:28

So, why does God permit evil and suffering?
Answer:  Because He has granted FREEWILL TO MORAL CREATURES!! - creatures that recognize right and wrong, and can choose right and wrong!!! - example: angels and man

Formula:  sin => loss => pain => suffering
Sin = disobedience to God
Loss - immediate or later, large or small

The large scale:  Gen. 3:17-19 - when Adam and Eve chose to do wrong, evil entered the picture, and whole creation was cursed.
The personal scale:  Gal. 5:7-9- when sin (by choice of moral creature) enters, it creates evil.

This = Consequential Suffering
On on hand, this doesn't answer all questions to all incidents of suffering.
However, it does = one of the partial answers, and = a part you should be aware of and concerned with.

How it works....
1)  You reap what you sow - example: you sow carrots, you will get carrots, not sweet potatoes
A) this = self-inflicted pain
B) doesn't require God's immediate involvement - example:  gravity - law is already in place

2)  Sometimes you reap what OTHERS have sown.
examples:  robber, drunk driver, rebel teenager, abusive parent, etc.
We live in a fallen world with 7 Billion fallen (selfish) creatures.

3)  Sometimes others reap what YOU have sown.
drunk + drive, text +drive? harsh reply, spouse's inferiority complex

A)  You are more than just a recipient of pain - you are a source of pain.
B)  Part of why God allows Evil and Suffering is that He ALLOWS YOU!!!
C)  If you wish to relieve pain and suffering, begin with own behavior!

From here - How God uses pain for good.

For today, note:
1) I'm part of the problem
2) I need to make corrections
3) correction #1 needs to be submission to/re-submission to this Sovereign God!!

Example:  Promise to Isaiah - amidst great suffering (in exile) - Jer. 29:11

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