Pain and suffering are the two most difficult arguments against God which were introduced in the first in this brief series on the arguments against belief in the God described in the Bible. In this final piece, the discussion will center on the issue of suffering.
Suffering is the greatest difficulty to belief. The question of how a God who claims to love and care for mankind and yet allows tremendous amounts of suffering seems to make such a being doubtful. The amount of suffering seems understandably unbearable. Disease, war, and injustice are the principle evidences of suffering and are brought into consideration against belief; but, what if these are not evidence against belief, rather evidence for the belief? What if, rather than a trail that leads away from belief in God, it is a highway to it?
Let’s think for a moment on this. If the Bible is true, strictly on its examination of humanity’s nature, that it is desperately wicked at its core, and nothing else, it paints a very stark picture of contrasts: on one hand, a God who made a way for life, health, and continued satisfaction and man who rejected it to embrace death, disease, and a wanderlust that continually avoids any satisfaction. If this is the case, then mankind is totally responsible for everything that happens in opposition to the position taken in the premise. Disease is often contracted through a reckless disregard for the practices which promote healthy lifestyle, not always, but often. War, likewise, often results when two parties, often nations or people groups, take positions that are illogical and insist on them. Injustice, strictly on the personal basis, results from an attitude of self-importance imposed onto another. These may be overly simplified, but they are meant to be a general rather than specific diagnosis. It is a frightening conclusion that people reject because if they are truly responsible for their condition then they are answerable for it as well, and if one considers certain statements contained in the volume to be conclusive and true, that is exactly what is presented. Suffering, one could conclude, lies not only in our power to avoid, but most often results from our negligence, just on general consideration of the principle.
Just as pain is an indicator of the fact that there is something wrong with an individual’s physical or emotional state, suffering testifies to the general state of humanity, even to the rejection of that humanity. Does this understanding necessarily justify a belief in the God of the Bible? No, but it should inform those of who have questions that there are defined positions that once considered, in their proper context, are able to start one away from doubt and move them toward a goal of greater knowledge.