Because sin and death are the basis of this ultimate evil, the Son’s mission consists in the conquest of sin and death. That’s because these bad things can serve God’s ultimately good ends (CCC 310). If you donate just $5.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online could keep thriving for years. He does not take our hurt lightly. God causes suffering in the world. As I would run to my children’s side even at the smallest scrap of the knee, surely our Heavenly Father is with us when our hearts are crushed, and despair has taken over. He’s not to blame for war, crime, and mistreatment. He is the author of many books (over forty and counting) including: Ask Peter Kreeft: The 100 Most Interesting Questions He's Ever Been Asked, Ancient Philosophers, Medieval Philosophers, Modern Philosophers, Contemporary Philosophers, Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic, Doors in the Walls of the World: Signs of Transcendence in the Human Story, Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic, You Can Understand the Bible, Fundamentals of the Faith, The Journey: A Spiritual Roadmap for Modern Pilgrims, Prayer: The Great Conversation: Straight Answers to Tough Questions About Prayer,  Love Is Stronger Than Death, Philosophy 101 by Socrates: An Introduction to Philosophy Via Plato's Apology, A Pocket Guide to the Meaning of Life, Prayer for Beginners, and Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters. It is far from easy to define the cause of suffering or of the evil connected with it. Spiritual Smoothie: Can Suffering Really Have Meaning? Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering! Evil and suffering could make Christians question God's omnipotence, omnibenevolence, or his omniscience. But St. Augustine’s reasoning seems to be correct: 1. If nature is all there is, how can a sensitive person remain sane in a world in which tsunamis wipe out whole towns, evil men torture and murder innocent victims, and disease attacks people indiscriminately? But how is your not liking something evidence for God not existing? One first needs to frame the enigma correctly and begin to seek its cause. Heavy lifting: Weekly Message for 11-24-2020, Real Answers to Real Questions: Weekly Message for 07-14-2020, What’s in Your Barrel? When an innocent person is struck by a painful disease, or tortured, or murdered, we naturally feel sadness and helplessness, and often rage. 2 Thess. In the process we discover our own capacity for love. If nature is all there is, there is absolutely no need to explain why one person suffers and another doesn't. Is that how you want to live? Because suffering is so common and yet so difficult to talk about, Ryan says that it’s easy to rely on platitudes like “It’s all part of God’s plan” or “God never gives you a bigger cross than you can endure.” The problem with these, Ryan says, is “they sound like God is busy doling out crosses in people’s lives. We can offer our prayers and material support. For he fashioned all things that they might have being” -Wisdom 1:13-14. He is aware of every pain we feel and every tear we shed. Jeremiah clearly states that God is causing his suffering. How we bear our suffering can make all the difference in the world for how we love life, express faith, and avoid cheapening God. Most people will readily agree with Aristotle that it is happiness. My 19-year-old friend Pete is already living his new one-legged life with great courage and hope. St. Augustine said that God “would not allow any evil in his works, unless in his omnipotence and goodness, as the Supreme Good, he is able to bring forth good out of evil” (“On Faith, Hope, and Love,” iii, 11). What he looks for now is God’s sustaining presence, not God as the cause of his suffering. Our suffering, united with our Lord’s suffering, furthers the work of His redemption. After all, he is the just Judge, not a tormentor. What is the greatest good for man? As C.S. Job’s wife comes and says, “Curse God and die,” because of the suffering … Our judgments of good and evil, natural as well as human, presuppose God as the standard. Share your review! Some people say that God allows humans to make decisions for themselves and that suffering is caused by the choices that people make. Questions about suffering often point to fears lurking in the human heart: Does God really care about us? Suffering is the anvil on which we can be forged into more-compassionate people. This … We can talk meaningfully about suffering being unnecessary or wrong only if we have an underlying belief that a standard of right and wrong objectively exists. God allows us to participate in his suffering. You might reassure the person that he is not alone, that the problem of suffering and evil has pained people for millennia. So we must return to the Bible and see what it says. ( Ecclesiastes 8:9 ) Additionally, we may face calamities because of “unexpected events” —that is, because of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sickness can be a means of God’s loving discipline. Yet it can also be an opportunity for sharing the faith, a moment of grace. 1:8 – Paul instructs Timothy to share in suffering for the Gospel. Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College. The bad win, and the good suffer. Free will explains how God could be good and allow moral evil. Allowing the consequences of our sins. Moreover, the believer in God has an incomparably easier time than the atheist psychologically, as well as logically, in dealing with the problem of natural suffering. The Jews murmur because they are scandalized by the revelation of a vulnerable God but He is the only God that can save. 1. ibid., n. 9). Against what standard? God may now suffer in union with all who suffer—and those who espouse a suffering God boast this to be of singular value—but in so suffering, humankind, and even God Himself, are deprived of any hope of ever being freed from evil and so the suffering that it causes. In addition, if there were no God, there would be no absolute standard of good. Joseph and Paul both seem to believe that God is causing their suffering. Pascal agrees too: “All men seek happiness. How do they justify God’s ongoing love, if he supposedly allows suffering to exist? Why does he allow for Africa to starve to death? I hope that this speculation of mine is not heresy by Catholic standards. C. Conclusion: God is not the cause of suffering; He is the author of good (James 1:13-17). In Job 2:5, Satan asks God for permission to afflict Job to prove that Job will turn his back on God. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, Catholic information that their work matters. “Because God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. The Catholic Church sees human suffering as a chance to follow the example of Christ and believe that it is a part of God’s plan. That can turn people off.” Why would God, who needs no one and is perfectly happy and fulfilled, decide to create angels and men whose freedom to choose will result in his own suffering and death? Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, and shouts in our pain, it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” It Reminds Us of the Reality of Sin. God is all-loving. . I the Lord, now go!” So… God is saying that he makes us deformed or not, blind or not, deaf or not e.c.t. For he fashioned all things that they might have being” -Wisdom 1:13-14. More than that, does God cause the suffering that plagues us? The venerated Holy Innocents of Bethlehem were the first to be slain “on account of Christ.” Still, Our Lord’s love for children is undeniable. God wants people to follow the example of Jesus and help those who are suffering. Why does God allow suffering? Nov 9, 2013 at Birch Cove Baptist Church Because God has given people free will, they are free to behave against God's will. 2. © 1996-2019 Catholic Education Resource Center | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Sitemap, The Journey: A Spiritual Roadmap for Modern Pilgrims, Prayer: The Great Conversation: Straight Answers to Tough Questions About Prayer, Philosophy 101 by Socrates: An Introduction to Philosophy Via Plato's Apology, Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters. Get inspiration in your inbox by subscribing to our free email newsletter. Our courses, taught by some of the finest, most original thinkers in the world, are five minutes long, visually stimulating and rich in practical content. 310-314 of the Catechism might be helpful reading, too.). Copyright © 2021 RC Spirituality | All Rights Reserved. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. Catholics believe that Mary was fully human, she was created without sin, and she chose not to sin. Job shows that he knows this is true when he says, “. The traditional answer is no, because God is immutable and impassible, and to suffer is to change or to be changed. 14:1). Zundrah June 9, 2009, 1:43pm #1. Every judgment presupposes a standard, and that's true of our moral judgments, too. Conquering Suffering by Love God sent His only-begotten Son into the world to free the world from definitive evil. Work, because our suffering now becomes opus dei, God's work, construction work on his kingdom.Love, because our suffering now becomes the work of love, the work of … There is no hope of divine justice ever setting things right nor is there any hope of love and goodness vanquishing evil. Prager University is an entirely new concept in education. – While suffering can be a big divider, it also brings people together and allows them to be of service to one another. Sadly, humans are often victimized by other imperfect humans. Beginning with suffering. But under and alongside this shared conviction of the active sovereignty of God, there is an important subsidiary conviction: Satan causes Job’s sufferings. Does God Cause Our Illnesses And Suffering? But the girl was shattered and is very angry with God, whom she blames for “letting this happen to her”. Therefore, God could have created everyone just … 9 Jehovah never causes suffering. MrZetterlund: Pray for me, I believe I’ve been struggling in my faith lately. The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, describes numerous occasions when God brought plagues and … Finally, in the case of Job, both Satan and Job believe that it … Both are now fulfilled by our greatest fear, suffering. By using this website you are agreeing to our privacy policy. Think about it. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. But the Church does not say that God doesn’t will that any suffer or die. Understandable. We should never kill or harm an animal without serious reasons, though they are not human. This question has caused countless people to evaluate their faith, question their beliefs, and, in some cases, abandon the idea that there is a God at all. If God were not vulnerable, he would be Baal, he would be a slave master, a divinity that owns slaves but does not listen. Suffering as an offering of self in the imitation of Jesus. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. God’s Character. Certainly not from nature. 2. Support Prager University with a donation here. And does suffering have any meaning? Still, the presence of evil and suffering can baffle us. Jesus’ passion and death also gave meaning to suffering. Please consider supporting RCSpirituality with a donation today. When this kind of question arises, express sympathy for the sufferer and thank the person for his concern for the one who is in pain. The key is remembering that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). First, let's examine what we mean when we say that God would not permit unjust suffering. Maybe the best example of this was how God took the suffering of Good Friday and brought forth the Resurrection of Easter Sunday. 2 Tim. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Does God cause suffering or does He allow it? This is because suffering causes us to turn to God and purifies us from sin. There are two categories of suffering: suffering caused by human beings, which we call moral evils, and suffering caused by nature, for instance, earthquakes or cancer. 1 Like. Because God has given people free will, they are free to behave against God's will. Photo Credit: Thinkstock "One of God’s greatest gifts to us is His presence." If Catholic Online has given you $5.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Complete this form to receive the weekly email and create a FREE account, which provides access to member only content. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. Jesus is the son of Joseph, a vulnerable man. Jesus never promised to rid the world of suffering. C. Conclusion: God is not the cause of suffering; He is the author of good (James 1:13-17). Cristian_B January 6, 2010, 3:34pm #2. Seeing suffering in others, especially, can be heart-wrenching. This means that while we are free to do good, we also have the ability to do evil. Question: "What does the Bible say about pandemic diseases/sicknesses?" Satan does not get the final call. God could have prevented all sin and suffering by not creating the universe. Although not stated explicitly, God the Father appears to have caused Jesus to suffer. Why does he allow for retarded kids? People did all of those things. God is all-knowing. Apologetics. Our judgments of good and evil, natural as well as human, presuppose God as the standard. If we have no source of authority to answer questions, then we can just come up with whatever answers we want (see In Christ, God himself wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his gaze so that we might see the light within it. I'm Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, for Prager University. That alone should remind us (and maybe even those without a strong faith) of God’s love for mankind. The answer is:  it's not possible. Seeing suffering in others, especially the smallest and weakest, should prompt us to action. We complain. John 3:16). It is difficult for us to comprehend why God would work in this manner. Come! – While suffering can be a big divider, it also brings people together and allows them to be of service to one another. 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