|EXPLORING CHRISTIANITY - SUFFERING||
LIFE AFTER DEATHChristianity's Hope & Challenge.
If there is a God, Why is there so much suffering?
Few questions have exercised the minds of people down the ages more than the question of suffering. In an otherwise beautiful world, why is there suffering? The problem at times touches all of our lives.
In these days of instant communication we are confronted regularly with unbelievable suffering caused by the major horrors of famine and war. Who can imagine the suffering experienced by a woman in Croatia who has been raped many times, whose husband had been hacked to pieces and brothers also brutally murdered, and whose house, with all her possessions, has been burned to the ground. Even though we may become immune to such things that happen at a distance, sooner or later suffering strikes closer to home, whether in our own lives or in the lives of those who are close to us.
Some people have to live with incredible suffering, either physical or emotional. I think of a couple in their late sixties. They have lost all their five children, two in infancy, two through cancer and one by suicide. Studdert Kennedy, chaplain to the men in the trenches in the First World War, said that if a person was undisturbed by the problem of pain, they were suffering either from a hardening of the heart, or a softening of the brain.
There is also no problem that impinges more directly on the question of the existence of God. In hundreds of conversations I have had with people about the relevance of the Christian faith, this question has come up more than any other. If there is a God, why does he allow such suffering?
I believe that most people, unconsciously or otherwise, resist the idea that God is evil and desires to make life miserable for us. It is easier to reject the idea of God altogether. Many do believe in his existence, but think of him as no more than a "Life Force". However, the Bible declares that he is much more than this. It states consistently that he is a personal, intelligent God who created this universe and that he is just, loving and compassionate. So why suffering?
If there is a God, why is there so much suffering?