The Case Against God
Romans 8:22 The whole creation has been groaning together…
There are days when this blog writes itself and then there are days when I just want to hide from the blog. This is one of those days. I fear that I will not do justice to the topic of suffering or to God. I am afraid that in writing of pain, I will make a mockery of the very real misery that some of you are living through. I never want to be one of those people who tells you that your pain will be lessened if only you can discover the meaning behind it.
Still though, when I see suffering and pain, I must ask, Why? If I were an atheist, I think the problem of pain would be my primary argument against God. If God exists and is all-powerful, why does He allow such awful things to happen? Make no mistake, the world is broken, full of monsters and horror. Why? What purpose can it serve for a child to be raped and murdered? Why are ISIS and cancer allowed to exist?
Paul must have had similar thoughts. In today’s passage, he described the world as existing in a state of bondage and corruption. He insisted that It will not always be this way. Apparently, our current suffering will pale in comparison to the glory that will be revealed someday. The world is in a painful state of becoming something so fantastic that our current misery will one day be seen in its proper perspective. Still, it requires tremendous faith to accept that all wrongs will be righted eventually. That still does not explain the Why.
Why does pain exist? When I demand that God answer for suffering, I am usually asking about pain caused by others or pain with no obvious cause. When I demand why, I am rarely asking why God has allowed me to hurt others.
The question though, in its most personal and honest form, is, Why does God allow me, the individual, to inflict pain on those around me? If I am not honest enough to admit that I am at fault for some of the pain in the world, then I am probably not ready for the answer. Innocence is a lie upon which my conscience sooths itself. If I demand that God answer for the pain of others, then I must answer for my own hurtful behavior. God, being God, never owes me an answer, but if I am not willing to admit my own participation in the problem of pain, then I am not capable of understanding the explanation.
The fact that we can hurt those around us does not prove God’s existence, but it does give us some understanding of why He allows pain. God allows pain and God allows us to hurt others because He allows free will. God has allowed mankind the choice to pursue him or to pursue self. In our pursuit of self, God has allowed us to fall and break. In the destructive pursuit of ourselves then, we have all participated in the breaking of the world.
Why then, did God allow free will? If pain is the price to pay for free-will, then I do not want it! Why did God give us this burden? The answer, is love. It was out of God’s love that He gave us free will. God loves us and longs to be loved back. For love to be real, there must be a choice. It is not real love if He forces us to follow him. For love to exist, free will must exist. Without free will, there is no choice, love, beauty or wonder in the world. It is only because of his gift, that we may love God as we were meant to love him.