Why does God allow physical suffering
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|If God exists, why is there evil in the world? What is evil? Where did evil come from? Why doesn’t God intervene and stop all evil? How can physical evils such as earthquakes, tornadoes and cancer be explained? Is there a good reason for the existence of hell on which even some atheists would agree? What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 8, Cat. No. EVL
Keywords: Suffering, Physical suffering, Purpose for pain
- Ankerberg: I was at a social event where I met two older folks, and as kids they had both been in the Holocaust. And the man had grown up in Auschwitz and some of the other camps, and as a young child, he had watched other children cut up and killed right in front of him – so he left his belief in God. We got talking. Why such cruelty? Why such sin and suffering, pain, terrorism? Why does an all-loving God permit this? You need to help us out here in a big-time way. Why does God allow physical suffering?
- Geisler: Well, there are two points I’d like to make there, John. One is made by Rabbi Kushner, strangely enough, in his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. He interviewed a lady who had been through the Holocaust and she said, “It never occurred to me to blame God for the Holocaust. God was not the cause of this event. Wicked, sinful human beings were the cause of the event.”
- Second thing is, isn’t it interesting that some people get bitter through suffering and some people get better through suffering. So there must be a key. Joni Eareckson Tada is a good example of somebody who got better through suffering. The atheist and the agnostic gets bitter. It depends on how you respond to it. If you respond to it positively, saying, “I don’t understand it completely but I believe that God is loving and He has a good purpose for this, and He’ll bring about His good purpose,” then you’ll grow through it. It will be a stepping stone. If you “charge God foolishly,” [Job 1:22] as Job’s phrase reminds us, then you’re going to get bitter because you’re charging the One in the universe who can do something about it, who loves you, who has allowed this to happen for a good purpose in your life, and you’re just going to get bitter as a result rather than better; it’s going to be a stumbling stone rather than a stepping stone.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, but when you lost your daughter, as you were talking about last week, you probably were with a lot of people, that there are moments when you say, “Why?” You want to understand why, okay? And that’s what we need your help on. What went through your mind when that event happened? How did you put that in context, because it really, really hurt?
- Geisler: It never occurred to me to blame God. See, if you have the proper biblical view of God going into an experience like that, it makes all the difference in the world. I knew God is loving; I knew God is all powerful; I knew God had a good purpose, even if I couldn’t figure out what the purpose was. There’s a big difference in not knowing why and knowing the One who does know why. At least I know why I don’t know why: I’m finite; I’m fallible; I don’t know everything. But I know the One who does know why. And you can get through a situation if you don’t know why, if you know the One who does know why – and you know He is the Divine Architect of the Universe, as Paul Harvey said, “who doesn’t build a staircase that leads to nowhere.” If it looks like it’s going nowhere, mark it down: it’s going somewhere and God knows where it’s going, and if you keep on the path, He’s going to show you where it leads.