If God is all loving, why is there so much suffering and evil in the world?
One part of the answer
Romans 5:3-5 (New International Version)
3Not only so, but we[a] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Evil is not willed by God but is allowed by God to bring about a greater good. It all goes back to the Original Sin of Adam and Eve that is passed down. As human beings we have free will. God respects our free will, even when we choose against Him (and evil and pain result).
If God is all loving, how much suffering and evil should there be in the world? Do you have a number?
Try this exercise. Describe what the world would be like if you were the all loving God. Pretend you are God and create the perfect world for us.
Because mankind is not.
Because our God loves us so much he gave us free will so that we can decide if we want to follow him and how much… Some of our suffering is self induced. When we do things harmful to ourselves we suffer… we have a choice, but then, so does everyone else. When we suffer because of others actions… we can turn this over to God and be assured that God will make good our suffering… When we suffer because of natural causes (tornadoes, disease, anything not man made) you can also be assured that God’s plan may not be evident, but it is for our benefit.
Its easy, at least that is how I look at it.
To be truly loving of another means that you let them make their own mind up and sometimes you have to let them suffer the consequences of those choices they make.
To do this God gave us free will to chose Him or not.
To not give us free will would not have been very loving.
Another recommended book is Why Does God Permit Evil by Dom Bruno Webb.
yes, but sometimes they never recover. God can draw greater goods. But one CERTAIN greater good, that we can definitely participate in, is to offer up our sufferings, whether as victims of moral or physical evil, in order to merit graces for the sinners.
Suffering is now a vehicle that enables creatures to love others and God in a manner that is GREATER than if the world had never fallen.
For an innocent creature to suffer moral evil and offer it for the sanctification of the sinner, and to obtain their conversion, glorifies God more than if we had never fallen.
It is more profound, more beautiful.
Hence, God has allowed suffering so as to enable us to love Him and creatures to a greater degree than if man had never sinned.
to expand, if it helps, Catholic42,
I wrote this article on suffering on my website:
it would perhaps summarize what you might in the books.
Bart Ehrman recently published a book in which he said that God had no explanation for suffering. Bart’s an agnostic, and the entire book is yet one more in his long list of bestselling anti-God screeds.
I don’t buy his arguments. In the first place, heaven is the answer to all the suffering that ever existed on earth. Wouldn’t you opt for a lifetime of suffering if you could be guaranteed billions and billions of years of perfect joy afterwards?
And without God there is no answer to suffering at all. The child who died an agonizing death from a fire has greatly suffered. Once the child is dead, only heaven is the answer to her suffering.
And here’s what someone else had to say about suffering:
To Suppose that He would admit to his close friendship pleasure-loving people who want to be free from all trials is ridiculous.
--------------Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection
God bless, Annem
Satan rebelled and so do a lot of people.
Again with the backwards questions!
The question which begs to be answered is: if there is no God, from whence comes the love and joy we experience in this world?
My take on this is that suffering of the body is not bad at all. It only seems that its bad.
We are eternal beings, not the short life we live here on earth. The suffering here on earth can even be good, as it may make us more virtuous if we have the right perspective and can be optimistic.
The only soul we can care for is our own; it is our choices and how we treat our soul that matter above all. To help others is to help ourselves.
So again, we are eternal beings, that is why the bad of this world is not bad when compared to the eternal scope of the soul.
We really don’t experience true love for another until we are willing to sacrifice something for someone else. Thus, “There can be no greater love than to give your life for a friend.” If we love only for how good it makes us feel, that’s a selfish kind of love.
As parents watch their children at the milestones of their lives, it is sometimes difficult to see them fall or fail – when they learn to walk, to ride a bike, to read, to apologize to a friend. But it’s only through the difficulty that they learn. We could step in and just carry them everywhere their whole lives, but what would that benefit them?
So we have much to learn in this life, to hopefully prepare us for eternal life. Some lessons are hard, but like any loving parent, God allows them for a greater good.
If we offer our pains and sufferings to God, we are imitating Jesus and joining Him in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. There is no greater love.
He gave us free will and we have abused it.
It’s a paradox.
How can the passion and death of Jesus be the worst AND the greatest event in history?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
Every sin has consequences. For instance, if someone tells a lie about another, the person lied about is confronted with a problem in his life that he has to deal with. If someone robs another, the victim now has a problem to deal with. In other words it’s not usually the sinner who faces the consequences, but the one sinned against. This is what evil is, and it is not God who causes it; people cause it. We are all guilty, in different degrees, of harming others, but are also victims of other people’s sins.
So what Jesus did is take on the consequences of sins, in his own person, suffered it all, not just for a few people but everybody who has ever lived and did wrong things. But, mysteriously, He still allows us some suffering ourselves, and what the Saints understood is that this is so we can unite more intimately with Jesus, we can in a way help save people, by offering up what our sufferings are, in union with His. It’s not easy because it hurts and not what we enjoy, but what we know and often experience is the good that comes of it.
Soon it will be Easter, our reminder that the cross is not the end of the story. May we hope for more light on this subject on that glorious day.
If God is not all loving, how come there isn’t much more suffering and evil in the world?
– Mark L. Chance.
It would be so easy for us if God just took away free will and we could never sin, never harm, had no choice but to serve Him. But it would also be so much uglier, so much plainer because we have no choice but to love God. God wants us to choose to Love Him.