Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Senseless" Suffering

Starvation goes unchecked throughout the world. Natural disasters oocur, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes. War goes unchecked in many places. Genocide and ethnic cleansing; The Shoah (Holocaust), Darfur, Rwanda. Senseless killings are occuring on the border with Mexico. People all over the world, those who believe in God and those who don't, are undergoing some form of suffering. I don't have all the answers, but this is my best attempt to answer it.

How can a loving, sovereign, and omnipotent God allow these things to occur? If God loved us, wouldn't He reach down and put an end to our suffering? This is at least one of the things that drove Bart Ehrman from his faith in God. These are truly troubling issues, and there is no simple answer to these questions. On the surface, and from our limited human perspective it may indeed seem hateful of God to allow the multitude of horrors that have plagued humanity. I do not think God is malevolent for allowing these things, but in fact I think if you look at the larger picture, we can see how God can allow us (believers and non believers) to undergo short term suffering in our fleshly bodies so that we may ultimately escape eternal suffering in hell.

First and foremost we have to realize that our human perspective is limited. Not only is it limited, but we are at a huge disadvantage in terms of spiritual things. We have to acknowledge also, that God is beyond what we can sense and tangibly measure. That is, when looking into the Bible, and things of God, we have to ackowledge that God is supernatural, beyond us and probably beyond anything than we can imagine. But, God, in His goodness has made Himself known to us, through His word the Bible, and His Son Jesus. Bart Ehrman seems to have come to the conclusion that the the Bible and things of God have to be explainable in purely limited human terms. He seems to have completely disgarded the spiritual reality of the world. In other words, we can't understand from our human viewpoint why a loving, all powerful God would allow suffering. But if this would have been considered in the context of a spiritual war, a "cosmic soap opera" as some atheists disrespectfully call it, suffering makes a whole lot more sense. And I would submit that it is by the grace of God, and His intervention that the suffering and condition of the world is not worse. Suffering is just part of the cosmic war.

I think if you look at Noah's world and you see that things were incredibly bad because people were exceedingly bad. If you factor in the book of Enoch, things look even worse. In short, Noah's world, to me, seems to be what the world would be like if God were to allow the devil free reign to do as he pleased. Revelation also shows that when God allows the devil full reign again, it only takes Satan less than 7 years to get to a point where almost all flesh is destroyed. To sum up, God keeps Satan in check, and keeps us from undergoing the absolute worst suffering.

To get a better view of the spiritual war, take a look at this This is not to be given greater weight than scripture, but it does, to me, provide a somewhat logical view of why God would allow suffering. The summary is this. Satan rebelled, and thinks he can ultimately outsmart and defeat God. God could have destroyed Satan that instant, but instead chose to be demonstrate mercy and allow Satan's rebellion to reach its full and complete potential. He created man as a last chance offer to allow Satan to repent, but Satan chose to continue rebelling. God allowed Satan's rebellion to impact humanity. The reasons God did this, according to Luginbill, seem to be to show all creation that He is ultimately merciful and worthy of being God. Perhaps by showing us how bad it could be by allowing Satan's full evil to run its course. Perhaps for reasons I cannot explain or properly convey. My understanding is limited, but in the end God knew it all beforehand, and is allowing His freewill-driven creation to rebell or repent to ultimately show that He is good. Given the fact that God provided a way for us fallen humans to be restored to realtionship with Him through Christ proves to me His goodness. We get an escape from eternal suffering, but have to endure short term suffering here.

We either choose to join Him, through Christ, or we remain aligned with Satan willingly by rejecting God and His peace offering of salvation.

Some scripture that gives further evidence as to why God would allow suffering. Romans 1:21 - Romans 2. In short, we humans rejected the truth about God or made up our own ideas of what God was like, so He let us pursue those foolish desires. These foolish ideas often involve people pursuing their own desires at the expense of others. This happens today. We have our own ideas of what God is like today, and do not seek the truth of His word so He lets us live in our foolishness. But for any who repent there is a chance He will help us in our suffering and use our suffering to help us grow for our eternal good. Romans 8:17 - 18; 8:35 - 37.

So how can genocide and the rest be explained? Why does God allow people to starve, or allow millions to die for no apparent reason?

My thoughts are that some of these genocides are moves by Satan to try and destroy either humanity, or a select group of people for unknown reasons. The Holocaust I can sort of explain from what I've learned listening to Russ Dizdar, and thinking about the Satanic rebellion. The purpose was multifold. 1) If Satan could eliminate all of the Jews before the fulfillment of Bible prophecy occurred, He could prove God to be a liar. That failed, and actually helped fulfill prophecy (I believe) by allowing Israel to return to her homeland from the diaspora. That does not mean Jews had to die to allow Israel to be restored, but God used that evil time to allow the Jews to return home. 2) Some say it was a Luciferian blood sacrifice to open spiritual doors and allow demonic power to grow. I don't know how I feel about that, but I couldn't rule it out. Especially given the fact that UFOs were just starting to appear in the form of foo fighters, and later Roswell. That's another topic for another day. The Nazis were THE ultimate Occult government, and so may have tried to appease their gods (Satan really) to allow them to grow stronger. Even if the sacrifice theory is true, Satan's purpose was undoubtedly to destroy God's people. 3) Some may say it was God punishing Israel and the Jews for past disobedience. I don't know that I support this theory, and I am not qualified to form an opinion on this. I think that it's a bit harsh, and probably short sighted to say that's the only reason. For more perspectives, Jewish perspectives see Do your own research and pray it out with God.

What about other genocides? The Rape of Nanking? Darfur? others? My thoughts are again, that Satan's armies gained control of certain governments here and there, and used those governmental powers to cause mass slaughter. They hate humanity, and any chance to engage in mass slaughter of humans, Satan and the demons will take. It happened in the Mayan culture when the Mayans became consumed with mass sacrifices. It continues today in genocide and probably in the form of abortion, which I think is another way "They" want to eliminate target groups of people. Perhaps abortion is a topic for another day, but it probably is a form of genocide presented as a "choice."

Though genocide and the Nazi Holocaust can be explained as the fault of demons or Satan, that perhaps gives Satan too much credit, and removes the blame from the human perpetrators. While it is nice to have an invisile scapegoat to blame every evil thing on, Satan doesn't deserve all of the credit. I would be very comfortable in saying that while the Holocaust had very occult origins, and no doubt could have been a plot on Satan’s part to make God into a liar. But I don't think that can be the sole cause. Without willing human participants the devil’s plans wouldn’t have gone far. And if these genocides didn't fit into or fulfill some part of God’s ultimate plan, it wouldn’t have been allowed in the first place.

My guess is that allowing such evil to occur justifies that God is good and shows that Satan is evil. Perhaps God allowed (allows) Satan greater reign to show that Satan is not fit to rule. Perhaps when Satan is allowed greater latitude and control, all he can do is foment genocide and famine. This is my thought based on what I understand from the Satanic Rebellion and Dr. Heiser's Divine Council. The only Biblical way I can justify this, is again to refer to Revelation when Satan is allowed pretty much full control the world literally goes to hell. Perhaps the suffering we seee on smaller scales is just a foretaste of what is to come.

From a different view, genocide seems to have its roots in the teaching of evolution and eugenics, which are Satanic in origin due to their rejection of God, and the deifying of self and humanity to an extant. Each time one “race” decrees another inferior, they usually try to justify it with scientific reasoning. After all, if it can be proven scientifically, it has to be right. (that's sarcasm folks) Eugenics basically offers a great way for evil people to justify dehumanizing a group of people they have never liked. In Rwanda the Tutsis were viewed as superior to the Hutus by the Belgians, based on eugenic reasons and the result is that Tutsis dehumanized the Hutus. In Nanking, the Japanese thought themselves superior to the Chinese.

Whenever one group of people finds a way to justify themselves as superior to another group, especially if they can justify it with junk science, they will automatically dehumanize another “inferior” group. All of the perpetrators of genocide that I have investigated have for one reason or another been able to label one group as inferior.

Any time a society rejects God, and deifies a leader or science instead, they will eventually find a way to discriminate against a selected group. The book of Romans (from earlier) comes into play again, in that we are turned over to our lusts. Every time we reject God and pursue our own ideas of utopia, and an ideal for a standard human it ends in death. Suffering is the end result of rejecting God's standard of humanity, that is we are ALL created in God's image and not one race is better than another. All are equal in God's eyes.

“Senseless” suffering happens in the world, and it’s not because God doesn’t love us or He refuses to get involved. It seems to me, it’s because God removes His involvement and puts us at the mercy of our own lusts. Or when God lifts His protection and allows Satan to destroy. So, suffering happens because people abuse each other and allows Satan to destroy. Whether this is because of our own motivation, or inspired by the devil, the end result is the same. In the end, those who perpetrate the abuse still have to answer to God.

This weeks post is very difficult for me to write, and I hope that my poor attempt can still shed some light, and perhaps show that God is not malevolent or aloof. I feel as though I can write a book about it, and it would never be long enough, or sufficient enough to explain to those who doubt God’s power and goodness. What I threw out here are my ideas based on my own understanding, the writings of other Christians, and what I can remember from the Bible. I hope that i have at least been able to make some sense out of senseless suffering.

Next week, I will jump into the rest of Ehrman's attacks on Biblical reasons for suffering, and after that, there has been a request to address either Chi, or these absurd magnetic rings that allegedly grant eternal life. Sadly, I almost bought the rings myself.


  1. In Dr. Ehrman's book, God's Problem, he says that he waited until he was more mature to write. However, I think it is one of his most simplistic and unfulfilling works. This one proved to me that he does not have a grasp of the weighter things in life.

    On the "solution" side, though I don't believe there is an ultimate intellectual solution to the issue of human suffering, I like what Tim Keller finds in his, The Reason for God. He discovers with Job that God revealing Himself to those he choses to reveal himself "is enough." That that revelation is satisfying beyond all of the why questions, so that an answer to the why is no longer necessary once we see God. It very well may be that that is the way God intends it--suffering is simply a motivator to ask why so that we ultimately see God as the satisfaction of our wondering and wandering.

  2. I have a question. Why does suffering exist at all?
    Lets not play the free will game because heaven, by most theist definition of heaven anyway, claims to have free will while allowing only good.

    You say a lot about us not able to understand because we are puny humans who just aren't tapped into the spiritual realm. Why should I, as a puny human, even entertain the idea of spirit or the spiritual realm or even God since it is so... unintelligible/unresolvable?

    Also, on God allowing the Devil to reign to show mercy.... huh? To show mercy to the devil while showing near indifference to the humans the devil is supposedly deceiving/destroying?

    The rest of the post seems to be ranting on about the Devil's evilness and God's goodness. How do you know? Could God not be evil and the Devil good? What if the Bible was written by the and evil God who is trying to bring you away from the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving Devil?

    I think you are completely missing the idea of most PoE arguments and substituting your own idea of it in its place...

  3. Que?,

    Hi, Thanks for the comment, it gave me alot to think, adn write about. I hope you don't think im picking on you, but i tried my best to answer your questions.

    Stick around, I hope to see you more often. Thanks for staying respectful!

  4. Papa,

    I'll check your blog out, you seem pretty with it, thanks for dropping by. I hope I can keep everyone's interest.