Why does God allow suffering? – October 2021

Are you surprised that we should suggest that we ask God for the answer to the above question?  Well, before we ask the question we need to explain a little of the background to why this is valid approach to the question!

1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.           Genesis 1

So, the next question seems obvious.  Why did he do it?

14  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.                                                                  Habakkuk 2

That is why Jesus tells us that one day soon a host of the faithful, in praise of God’s blessing of them, will call in unison … …

11  “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honour and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”     Revelation 4

Did you notice that the prophet Habakkuk said God wants the earth to be full of the knowledge of His glory?  That means that He needs thinking beings that are able to understand Him and think like Him as he describes in the opening of his book wehich is why man was different to the rest of his creation

27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.                                                          Genesis 1

The Hebrew word translated image there is: ‏צֶלֶם‎ (transliteration: Ṣelem) and Strong’s Hebrew/English Dictionary defines Selem as …

So, man was not the same as God, but he had similarities to God – especially a mind that could think, reason, and have emotions in the same way as God, and the ability to communicate with Him and one another, and much more.

Now, God has given men and women a great deal – life, an amazing body, and, we find as we read more of His word, for those who love Him and use this life to please Him, the promise of a wonderful reward.

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,                                    1 Peter 1

A wonderful inheritance that is beyond the conception of the human mind, but that is revealed to those who read His word carefully.

9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.                                               1 Corinthians 2

Just six short passages of scriptures reveal to us that God is the creator of the universe and that He has a special purpose with the planet we live on that reflects His glory, the wonder of which will be appreciated by the inhabitants – those who have shown they love God by living a life that pleases Him.

But you may well say, “How does this fit in with our world today – full of suffering, poverty, killing, and so much destruction of the environment”?

A very reasonable question with a straightforward answer. It is the only way that God could achieve His purpose!  You will remember that his purpose was that …

14  … the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.                                                                      Habakkuk 2

And we are given a big clue as to why suffering, hardship, wickedness and much more distress is involved, by the apostle Paul, writing to faithful converts, in just one verse.

13  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 ESV

Love is a freewill offering.  It involves choosing to do things for others, when we have the natural choice is not to do them. So, to achieve His purpose God needed to create man with a make up, a nature, often called Human Nature, that has the freedom to act without any constraint.

Wikipedia defines Freewill as follows,

The apostle Paul describes how he finds controlling the nature of man, which has powerful urges to rebel against restraint, difficult to achieve.

18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.               Romans 7

Putting it simply, He finds life is a battle between his own desire to please God and the nature he bears very hard because his nature – “the flesh” – prefers to go it’s own selfish way. In other words, it wants to please itself rather than Paul’s desire to please God. When you think about it, for love to be valid it has to be that way. Equally, God’s reward for those who show love for Him, is to love them, and give them a far better way of future life, than those who love their own way. This is why the apostle Paul wrote,

7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,                                     Philippians 3

Everything this world had given Paul in the past and could give him in the future was the lowest form of rubbish he could think of, compared to the excellence of escape from sin and death and to receive eternal life with freedom from pain and suffering in the glorious Kingdom of God free from all forms of evil.  Peter, another apostle much loved by Jesus, wrote in similar terms of all the glories promised to those who truly love Him.

3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.                                             2 Peter 1

If service to God, bringing such a wonderful reward that nothing in the present way of life can compete with,  is new to you and difficult to believe and understand, we need to tell you more about that reward.  However, these are short articles designed to whet the appetite of the reader for deeper study and there is so much to what God promises, as a caring and loving Father, that we cannot even begin to describe it here. Therefore we intend to put together further articles to introduce the reader to the huge benefits of serving God as their Heavenly Father, and following to the best of their ability the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, if you’ve not already read them, below are some of our existing short essays on important aspects of putting your future into the hands of our Heavenly Father that might interest you.  Also, we have available leaflets and booklets all free of charge that cover the sort of subjects in this series of essays. Simply request a copy telling us the subject of interest to you in the Comments Box at the top right of this page.  There, you can request that we provide you a phone number, or an email or postal address for communication.



Who knows the future? – February 2021

How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021