Why does God allow us to have pain
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, Pain, evil and suffering
- Ankerberg: Where Is God When It Hurts, has some great stuff that we can understand. Take us through that in terms of leprosy, pain, suffering. Why does God allow us to have pain? We can understand this action.
- Geisler: It’s a great story, and it illustrates C. S. Lewis’ line that we need to get before us from his book, The Problem of Pain, which is an excellent book for people. “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain. Pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a morally deaf world.”
- Now, put images on that. You’re lying on the beach, the breeze is blowing through the palms and you’re saying, or God is whispering, “I’m good.” Or, you’re speeding down a highway. You see a red flashing light in the mirror and you feel a little kick in your gut, and it’s a policeman. That’s conscience. That’s God speaking a little louder. You’re lying in a hospital bed, your leg is up in the air, there are bandages around you – you look like a mummy – and you’re just racked with pain. God is shouting to you, you see.
- This is the image behind it. So, what Philip Yancey said – and it was based on the work of the famous leprosy doctor, Dr. Paul Brandt, who discovered that leprosy does not destroy people’s fingers and toes when we see all these gross pictures. Leprosy destroys their ability to sense pain, and they destroy their fingers. You can be standing like this, you know, and your finger in a fire burning off and you don’t even know it because you can’t feel it. Or you can take a hammer and bash off your thumb and not feel it.
- So, the first lesson to learn about suffering is that pain is God’s way to keep us from self destruction. And that’s a moral lesson – that you can explain most of the pain in the world by God’s megaphone to keep us from self destruction.
- Let me give you a good pain. You’ve got a deep pain in your chest? Good pain – you better go and see if you might be having a heart attack. You get one in your lower right side? Good pain – you might need an appendectomy. Toothache? Good pain. So, pain is God’s way to keep us from destroying ourselves.
- Ankerberg: Also, in Philip Yancey’s book he talked about how the lepers circumvented the warning system. They devised a warning system to keep them from burning their hands off or knocking their fingers off. Tell them what they did and what the lepers did.
- Geisler: Yeah. It was like a little bleeper and every time they got near a fire the bleeper would go on. They discovered it didn’t work because you need more than a bleeper. It’s like, you don’t wear seatbelts just because there’s a bleeper on the dashboard. If you didn’t put the seatbelt on and you got a shock, that would make you put the seatbelt on, right? So, they found out that the bleeper system didn’t work.
- Second lesson. Not only does pain keep us from self destruction, but it has to be strong enough to work. Has to be strong enough to work. It has to be a shock, not just a little bleeper. So, then they hooked up a shock system on the lepers. If they got near a fire, they got a shock. Didn’t work twice. Worked only the first time and then they were smart enough to say, “Hey, I’m going to turn this thing off next time I get near the fire because I don’t want to get shocked!”
- Final lesson: Pain keeps us from self destruction; has to be strong enough to work; and third, it has to be out of our control. If we all controlled the rheostat of pain, we’d turn it all the way down every time. Even Rabbi Kushner’s book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, said, “I would never have chosen to go through this suffering with my son [And I can surely say that about my daughter], but I’m a better man for having done so.” And we all are.