November 25, 2012
"The Problem of Pain"
Why does God allow suffering in the world?
First, God has chosen to create responsible beings, both angels and humans.
A) Humans in particular have been created in God's own image and, therefore,
are capable of love and holiness as well as intelligence and volition (will).
1) God's nature is one of infinite love and grace. 2) It was His good pleasure to
create beings on whom He could bestow His love and grace. 3) Being made in His image,
we would be capable of reciprocating and responding to that love . B) Freedom
to love also entails freedom not to love. 1) Responsibility to obey implies also
the ability to disobey. 2) Thus, the creation of moral beings, in God's image, implies
the possible, though not necessary, entrance of sin into His creation. 3) Humans
were not to be machines (or robots), but responsible, thinking, decision-making
beings . Read Genesis 2:16-17. C) Humans have sinned, of course, as
is evident from the age-long existence of suffering and death in the world. 1) These
are the consequences of sin. 2) God foreknew all this. 3) But, rather than refraining
from creating humans on this account, He had already ordained and set in motion
His marvelous plan of salvation.
Second , God allowed sin into His creation so that He might manifest
His redeeming grace . A) If humans had never sinned and, therefore, never
needed a Savior, they could never have known God in the fullness of His love. 1)
A redeemed sinner, saved through faith in the One who died for him, would love Him
with a love far deeper than one based only on His work in creating and providing
for him. 2) A young boy, when he heard that Jesus died on the cross for the sins
of people, said: "It should have been me who died on the cross." B) Thus, the suffering
and sorrow that are now such a part of human experience are directly related
to sin . 1) Read Romans 8:22 and 5:12. 2) Death, with the suffering
and sorrow that lead to, and follow from, death, came into the world only when sin
entered into the world. C) Not every instance of suffering is directly related to
a particular sin committed by the sufferer . 1) The soldier who was killed
in the war did not start the war. 2) Nor was the blind man "born blind because his
parents sinned." (John 9:2). D) Nevertheless, "sin was in the world"
and therefore, " death reigned ... even over them that had not sinned after the likeness
of Adam's transgression" (Romans 5:13, 14). E) The truth is that "all have sinned"
(Romans 3:23) and therefore all have earned the "wages" of sin"
which "is death" (Romans 6:23) even though it is seldom possible to assign
a particular death to a particular sin. Because of the universal reign of sin and
death , "Man born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble." (Job 14:1).
In summary: there would be a real problem here, if this situation were to
continue forever. God is allowing sin and suffering to exist for a season but eventually
will settle all accounts and banish these intruders once and for all. "For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal
weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17). The Apostle Paul cried out " Who will rescue
me from this body of death ? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"