Many people lose faith in God when they see evil and natural disasters in the World. They feel that, if God is really present or really loves us, He will not allow evil. This feeling becomes even stronger, when they see children and innocent people suffer.** **However, it is not God, but our sins, that produce evils in the world. Sin results from selfishness and selfishness causes hurt to others. Even natural disasters, which some people erroneously refer to as “acts of God”, are result of our sins. Since we have dominion over the World (Genesis 1: 27-28), our acts of selfishness affect the balance in nature. So that when we sin by going against nature, the balance in nature is disturbed to produce natural disasters and diseases. Similarly, our evil acts directly affect others and cause them hurt. The hurt that evil produces affects everyone; including those who live holy lives. God allows evil, because, He has given us free will. He has given us free will so that we can exercise unconditional love. If we did not have free will, we will never be able to love others unconditionally, because, to love is a choice, and every choice needs a free will. God wants us to love (John 13:34), because, he wants us to have His peace and joy (John 15:11) for all eternity. Furthermore, compared to the peace and joy that God gives us in the eternal life our hurts in the present life are nothing.
God heals the broken hearted
We all have to go through pain and suffering, because we live in a world that has sin. God, however, brings us peace and joy by comforting us (Psalm 23, Is 57:18-21; Ps 94:19). He comforts us by being one with us in our pain and suffering. He did this by becoming one of us and freely accepting the worst form of pain and suffering. He gives us hope by overcoming pain, suffering and death through his resurrection. He gives redemptive value to pain and suffering by freeing us from sin by his own pain and suffering. He freed us from sin by completely emptying self on the cross on our behalf (Peter 2:24, 25). This helps us to accept pain and suffering in a quiet and humble manner. Our humility then opens our heart to accept God’s graces. This helps us to use our pain and suffering to overcome sin, build endurance, and become compassionate and forgiving people. God thus helps us by changing us from within. This enables us to find peace and joy by living His life.
The best insight into the story of Adam and Eve that I got this year is that their sin was in acting like gods, that is, deciding what is right and wrong themselves, and not following God’s command.
I think that is what people mean when they said that original sin was the sin of pride. I don’t equate those two ideas. I needed the further insight from my reading this year.
I think God allows evil because He allows free will, which means deciding to sin, rather than not.
And, sin, as we see over and over, even in our daily lives, results in bad consequences. As the Bible says, God punishes down to the third and fourth generation. What does that mean? Well, in my life, I am suffering because of my grandfather’s alcoholism and the chaos that that introduced in my family’s life – if I had to cite an example.
Thanks for your post, I think about this question a lot. Though I have heard a lot of this before and I’m not entirely convinced.
Would it have been impossible for God to take away some of the consequences of our fall, though? Couldn’t he have said “OK, you’re imperfect now because you ate the apple and sinned against me, but I’ll still let the world stay un-fallen and there not be volcanoes and tsunamis etc.”?
We are told to value human life by God’s own Church. So why is it that God himself sometimes doesn’t appear to be protecting human lives? When someone is sick, and you pray for them to get better, but they don’t get better…
There is evil that is naturally weaved into human life that served the good. An example is desribed in Genesis.
*and God said " it is not good that the man is alone" *
This task , of revealing good and evil, Adam and Eve took from God when they ate from the tree of good and evil
But, before that;
Adam suffered loneliness. Adam’s experience of being human lacked good. God revealed it because Adam didn’t know evil. So God revealed good and evil to the innocent heart before the fall. The innocent heart wasn’t victimized by suffering. Adam didn’t know evil untill God revealed it and when that happened God always told us what we needed to do. For Adam it was to know that the rememdy of his loneliness was not in the world. The remedy is found within Adam. The rememdy is to know the other 'I" within , the woman God took out of him. This represented a time of preperation and growth for Adam. If we do grow from perfection to perfection there must be a time when the fomer perfection is not good because it’s time for God to raise us to the next. A death/birth experience. Ungodly evil is the death/ death experience it has become after the fall.
God intended man to have experiences that ’ are not good’. This is inherent because Adam, existed in a state of ‘becoming’. Those times herald the next life and the work God directs us to do ushers in the next.
Loneliness imo permeates every human suffering and is the original evil and permeates every sin , after the fall, that has wounded and distorted the human soul.
our acts of selfishness affect the balance in nature. So that when we sin by going against nature,
B]I take all sin to be an offense against God; we do not worship nature.
the balance in nature is disturbed to produce natural disasters and diseases. Similarly, our evil acts directly affect others and cause them hurt. The hurt that evil produces affects everyone; including those who live holy lives.
God allows evil, because, He has given us free will. He has given us free will so that we can exercise unconditional love. If we did not have free will, we will never be able to love others unconditionally, because, to love is a choice, and every choice needs a free will. God wants us to love (John 13:34), because, he wants us to have His peace and joy (John 15:11) for all eternity. Furthermore, compared to the peace and joy that God gives us in the eternal life our hurts in the present life are nothing. [/FONT]
God heals the broken hearted
We all have to go through pain and suffering,
[FONT=“Arial”]B]The Christian life is a life of suffering, because we must overcome our sinful nature, denying even our very selves.
because we live in a world that has sin. God, however, brings us peace and joy by comforting us (Psalm 23, Is 57:18-21; Ps 94:19). He comforts us by being one with us in our pain and suffering. He did this by becoming one of us and freely accepting the worst form of pain and suffering. He gives us hope by overcoming pain, suffering and death through his resurrection. He gives redemptive value to pain and suffering by freeing us from sin by his own pain and suffering. He freed us from sin by completely emptying self on the cross on our behalf (Peter 2:24, 25). This helps us to accept pain and suffering in a quiet and humble manner. Our humility then opens our heart to accept God’s graces. This helps us to use our pain and suffering to overcome sin, build endurance, and become compassionate and forgiving people. God thus helps us by changing us from within. This enables us to find peace and joy by living His life. [/FONT]
I have inserted comments; sorry, I’m not that good with fonts, etc.
The saints have been the most loving people on Earth, and they know God best. They have said that He is holding back and has been treating the world with incredible mercy, while it deserves total destruction.
Our Lady of Fatima said the same, that God was holding back punishment but would have to unleash it if people did not repent.
Saint Faustina gave some very disturbing prophecies, saying that the Just Judge would come soon and punish the world, but we all have the chance to embrace God’s mercy now.
When you look at the world and see all the idolatry, the immorality, greed and violence (esp. in the modern abortion genocides), and yet see that we’re still here, living, breathing and sinning, and that this has been the case for decades, it’s obvious how incredible God’s mercy on the world is. We don’t understand the full gravity of our sins, but our Western world is not wiped out now for the monstrous brutality and wickedness it is exerting on the unborn. The world’s sins against the Gospel, its sacrilege and blasphemy, are also extreme. The world deserves destruction; the saints and apparitions, and common sense if we understand how incredibly grave sin is, makes this clear. However, God is holding back because of the prayers of the faithful through which His love and mercy is unleashed on mankind. His love and mercy keep us still alive. He is holding back a TON of consequences of the Fall.
It would be incredibly presumptuous to assume that He isn’t holding back at all.
There are many reasons why God might choose not to answer a prayer. There could be an absence of faith or humility in the soul that’s asking, or it could be that He has a lesson to teach the family through the time of suffering, for the purification of their souls. St. Paul makes clear in the Epistles that God disciplines those He loves, and that this discipline involves suffering. Paul writes that just as a father that never disciplined his children would be recognized in our world as an unloving father, in the same way, if God never disciplined His followers’ souls, He would not be a loving Father. He disciplines those He loves for their own good, so that they can grow closer to Him in their souls. This unity with God is the whole purpose of life on Earth, and when God allows suffering, if a soul will accept the suffering in Christ, God will use it as a short-cut deep into His heart.
This purification of souls is one reason why God might allow a soul to suffer. There can be other reasons. God’s mind is far greater than ours, which is dead obvious, but it can require humility of us to accept the consequences of that fact. The logical consequence is that we won’t always understand God’s actions. But what we can do is humbly submit to them, which is virtue.
St. Paul writes that God uses all circumstances for the good of those He loves. This calls us to humbly and thankfully accept all that happens to us in our lives out of love for our Maker.
I’m not an abortionist and neither are you (I hope). Why should you and I get wiped out for the sins that others have committed? To paraphrase, “If there were ten righteous men in the city, I would not destroy it for the sake of the ten”.
There’s also the story of creation, “God looked at all he had created and saw that it was good”. After the fall it became imperfect, but still remained good ‘on the inside’. Even you or I don’t destroy things we have created just because they are imperfect.
I guess my difficulty is more about why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Look at the book of Job, here is someone who feared God and never did anything wrong in his life. Why did God allow the devil to kill his children? Out of all people, he did not deserve anything bad to happen to him.
The CCC doesn’t even answer the problem of evil. It’s really vague, got phrases like “there is not one of the Christological elements which is not in some way an answer to evil” or whatever.
This issue is one of the few things the atheists can explain better than we can. To them, ‘evil’ just happens the same as anything else does. I don’t think we’ll have an answer to the problem of evil until the last day. Religious people have just got to put up with it.
For the redemption of the others, and the purification of our own souls. It’s about the abandonment of the flesh . . . I’ll describe further later on.
Sin is more than imperfection and punishment is more than destruction. Earthly punishment is about purification, about giving the disobedient a big “wake up” call so that they won’t choose eternal damnation. Earthly punishment is like a father spanking his child so that the child will stop doing bad, because otherwise, of the child’s own free will, the child would end up becoming an egotistical lout. Eternal punishment is human choice, because God won’t force anyone to choose everlasting life. As people will often tell you, “The Gates of Hell are locked from the inside, not the outside.”
Why even talk about Job, what about Jesus??? Jesus was more undeserving of punishment than anyone ever has been or could be. However, He chose it for the salvation of humanity. Many saints in the last 2,000 years also chose martyrdom or to become “victim souls” for the sake of the world, to bring others to God. These, too, were the purest people the world has ever seen, and yet they chose suffering because they saw its great value in creating redemption.
In the Garden of Eden, mankind sinned by putting their desires above God’s desires. They put the flesh and its cravings above God and the cravings of the spirit. Consequently, it is necessary for humans to abandon the flesh to have God again. It was their elevating the self that caused them to Fall in the first place, so it is in diminishing the self through Christ that they can be restored.
Self-abandonment is painful, whether it is something God permits Satan to inflict on us for our spiritual benefit or whether it’s something we are so holy that we choose for ourselves. Job benefitted a lot, spiritually, and the suffering his family experienced may have brought greater unity with God to their souls too.
I’ve also heard a really neat description of this book of the Bible that Job was essentially being put on trial before the Court of Heaven on behalf of Israel, that the merits of the Law and Spirit of God present in the people were being put to the question. Because Job was the most righteous man in Israel at the time, if he failed, all Israel was condemned. Satan is the “great accuser of humanity,” according to Scripture. He put all Israel on trial with Job as its representative, and through Job, Israel was vindicated. This was a foreshadowing of Christ’s greater work on behalf of the world.
Therefore Job’s ability to endure temptation and agony had an amazing spiritual benefit for God’s entire Kingdom on Earth.
However, we can’t always see these kinds of answers to our questions this side of death. At the Last Judgment, the justice of God will be made plain to all.
Some people, when they face abandonment of the flesh or the self through suffering, fail the test, but that doesn’t mean the suffering couldn’t have done them good if they’d let it. The truth is that everyone must pick up their cross. That’s what Jesus said. Picking up the cross is abandonment of the self, the flesh, one’s own desires and ambitions so that all things are subject to Christ. We accept all sufferings as crosses in our lives and accept them for Christ, thus putting ourselves second to His will. Each time we do this, we revoke the sin of the Garden of Eden. We do the opposite of what Eve did, and because of our participation with Christ’s final sacrifice on our behalf, these sufferings of His Body (us, the Church) can produce the life of God within our souls.
Suffering has merit! Suffering is even a blessing, if we dare to look at it that way! It is not in and of itself good, but through God it has power to create great good, and that is why He allows it on Earth. His goal is to cause souls to abandon themselves (which hurts, and is where the suffering is all at) so that Christ can reign of them (which is purest joy, and which we experience some here on Earth when suffering in Christ but will experience far more after death). Crosses are the extreme vehicle of grace, and the Cross of Christ is the supreme witness of its value.
My aunt lost her husband due to a massive heart attack when he was 42 and her children were 7 and 9. 7 years later her daughter passed away from cancer after suffering terribly for almost 2 years. She was 15 years old. My aunt’s son and her 2 grandchildren live far away and cannot visit very often. She is almost 90 years old and is still the most gracious person I know. I have never heard her complain about the obvious losses in her life. She is an absolute joy to be around and still offers far more to others than she receives. Some time ago, I asked her how she remained so positive and happy throughout her life. She went on to explain that she believes with all her heart that her daughter and husband are with God at all times. There is no better place for them to be. They are fortunate to have left this life early. It is only a matter of time before their family is together for all of eternity. I believe God answers all of our prayers. Perhaps we don’t always understand the decision He makes for us.
First, my belief is that God created everything good and does not want evil to befall on anyone. Yet, we know that because of human will, we are given the freedom to do the things we want and many of the misfortunes in our lives our caused by it. It is not that God allows evil but God allows us to exercise our freedom which sometimes lead to evil consequences. I think it is unfair to put the blame on God when most of the times, we are the cause of evil in this world.