One of the most asked questions is why does God allows suffering? The answer is straight forward enough, but it’s what Al Gore would call “an inconvenient truth.”
God created a perfect world, free of conflict, disease and worry. Animals walked about freely without fear of man. Tigers did not attack and kill their prey, Adam did not hunt for food. It was a utopia. But a perfect world wasn’t enough for Adam and Eve. That’s where all the trouble began.
Nothing was withheld from them
God gave them dominion over everything, withholding nothing. They were free to do what they wanted, but that didn’t satisfy them. It all came apart in Genesis, just three chapters into the Bible.
Satan, taking the form of a serpent, deceived Eve and talked her into believing a lie. Call it the first recorded incidence of “misinformation.” Rather than trusting and believing God, they chose to buy into the lie. Why? Pride.
Every tree in the garden was available to them except one. God told them not to eat the fruit of that tree. Eve explained this to the serpent. But the serpent jumped on her description of God’s directive, saying “Did he really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?”
Satan followed quickly with the poisonous deception, Eve said they were allowed to eat from all of the other trees, just not the tree that is in the middle of the garden. This is true, that’s what God told them, but she added something. “And you must not touch it or you will die.” God didn’t say that.
The serpent/Satan had her. “Surely you will not die,” he said. He then told her that God didn’t want them to eat of that tree for fear that they would become like God, your eyes will be opened and you will know good from evil. That was also a lie. Satan’s plan was to separate man from God. He did it by appealing to their ego, their pride. He wanted them to turn from God and believe him. It still goes on today. Nothing has changed.
Satan knows God
Satan knows exactly who God is. He was once the angel Lucifer and was the most glorious of all angels. But he decided that he wanted to be the one worshiped. He was jealous of God’s glory and he wanted to sit on the throne.
God expelled his prized angel out of heaven and cast him to the earth. Lucifer became Satan, or the devil. A third of the heavenly hosts sided with him and were likewise kicked out. They are Satan’s demons.
Why do we rebel from God?
If people, like Lucifer, know who God is, why do they rebel? Because they want to be the center of their world. They don’t want to worship God, or be obedient to His will. Also, they want to make the decisions and not have interference on their lives.
The only reason they can do this is why? Because God created them with a free will. That might be described as a small slice of autonomy, the right of self direction. But that comes with a price.
God created man as an object of His love. So that we can make a free will decision to follow God and love Him back. God lets them and us make choices, always willing to restore the relationship. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, the world was now fallen. Death, destruction, disease and misery entered into it and evil grew.
Man collectively causes his own suffering
Man causes his own misery. By turning away from God, man changes a perfect world into a slime pit. Death and dying. Sickness and suffering. Murder and cruelty. Man’s creation, all orchestrated by Satan to take as many humans into hell as he possibly can.
In Genesis 3, the stage was set. Of course, it is common for people to blame God for all the evil they themselves cause. Free will, the right to make choices, also means the right to make the wrong choice. We just don’t want to accept the responsibility. Nothing really has changed from the beginning.
The Bible is the story of God’s love for His creation
The Bible is the story of man’s relationship to God and of God’s love. The atrocities of the Old Testament are all about man’s choices. But all of the ugliness, the evil and the wretchedness all pale in comparison to the glory of God.
Man needs to accept his own wickedness in order to see the beauty and perfection of God. Man did make an attempt by creating religion. God knew this wouldn’t work. He knew that a personal relationship was the only want to reconcile man to Himself.
God’s sends Jesus as the remedy
Then, in an act of amazing grace, He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to make the restitution. To escape Satan’s grip, man needs only to put his trust and faith in Jesus, to accept the gift of salvation. Jesus, God’s only son, His perfect first born, paid the price by dying on the cross. Man could not achieve this on his own, only God could overcome evil, death and suffering.