Therefore, God could have created everyone just … I mean, why does God allow such suffering? God wants people to follow the example of Jesus and help those who are suffering. Jesus is the son of Joseph, a vulnerable man. God is the author of everything in the created universe. If we have no source of authority to answer questions, then we can just come up with whatever answers we want (see Our judgments of good and evil, natural as well as human, presuppose God as the standard. God permits physical evil to the extent that He does not perform one miracle after another in order to stop suffering, thus causing the ordinary to become extraordinary. In Christ, God himself wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his gaze so that we might see the light within it. The more sin abounds, the more suffering abounds. For years I have wondered why God allows His people to endure tough, and sometimes tragic, times. Undoing the damage of the University ... five minutes at a time. God allows us to participate in his suffering. All good people are appalled by the sufferings of the innocent. When infirmity or other trials strike, it is easy for those affected and those around them to ask the pressing question, "Why?" Why does he allow for retarded kids? There are two categories of suffering: suffering caused by human beings, which we call moral evils, and suffering caused by nature, for instance, earthquakes or cancer. In Job 2:5, Satan asks God for permission to afflict Job to prove that Job will turn his back on God. When we are suffering with a sickness, disease, or injury, we usually focus solely on our own suffering. He is aware of every pain we feel and every tear we shed. Her brother sexually abused her from the time she was small until about a year ago, when the subject was finally brought to light and he was taken to court. Ask God to send you many sufferings.” A psychiatrist would see masochism in such desire for suffering. . Prager University (October 14, 2013). Only “the fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. We believe everyone should have access to this, which is why we offer so many of our resources for free. And if that standard really exists, that means there is a God. We can talk meaningfully about suffering being unnecessary or wrong only if we have an underlying belief that a standard of right and wrong objectively exists. What he looks for now is God’s sustaining presence, not God as the cause of his suffering. For the atheist, on the other hand, no suffering is ever set right. It is the second problem the Bible claims to shed light on—light not obvious, perhaps not even available, to human reason. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. 309, acknowledges this point: Unjust suffering is a problem only because we have a sense of what is just and unjust. Catholics believe that Mary was fully human, she was created without sin, and she chose not to sin. Sadly, humans are often victimized by other imperfect humans. In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you”, said Joseph to his brothers, “who sent me here, but God. What he looks for now is God’s sustaining presence, not God as the cause of his suffering. One of the many things that led me to become Catholic was the Church’s position on suffering. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. God could have prevented all sin and suffering by not creating the universe. When we let our emotions take over, we can come up with all sorts of answers to a question like this. Some say that everything that happens is God’s will. We are the hands and feet of Christ in the world and his words echo true today, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” Learn about the purpose of suffering and the misinterpretations of suffering (God does not will suffering). And he could end all sin and suffering simply by allowing the universe to cease to exist. When natural disasters strike, for instance, they think that these events are God’s way of punishing those who have sinned. Question: "Why does God allow sickness?" – While suffering can be a big divider, it also brings people together and allows them to be of service to one another. To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Suffering and death were not part of God’s original plan for the world. Such a God would not permit unnecessary suffering. See also, "What is God's Answer to Human Suffering?" But you may wonder, ‘If Jehovah is the most powerful person in the universe, why doesn’t he stop those terrible things from happening?’ (2 Kings 12:13, 14)." Thus, they believe that God causes us to suffer. What's wrong with this argument? Free will explains how God could be good and allow moral evil. In the bible, I think he said it to moses when moses denied that he could lead the people out of egypt. Maybe the best example of this was how God took the suffering of Good Friday and brought forth the Resurrection of Easter Sunday. In Scripture, the first problem never arises. Quite the contrary: He willed that Jesus suffer and die for the salvation of the Word. Jesus said that to be His disciple, we must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him. If nature is all there is, how can a sensitive person remain sane in a world in which tsunamis wipe out whole towns, evil men torture and murder innocent victims, and disease attacks people indiscriminately? How does the Catholic Church view the issue of suffering? 1:5 – we may be made worthy of the kingdom of God for which we are suffering. Complete this form to receive the weekly email and create a FREE account, which provides access to member only content. Many reach a conclusion similar to this: If there is a loving, all-powerful God, he would rid the world of evil now. We complain. The Bible clearly teaches that God does not cause us to suffer. This has been well documented they are all the most poorest countries in the world are all ATHEIST. The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, describes numerous occasions when God brought plagues and … Work, because our suffering now becomes opus dei, God's work, construction work on his kingdom.Love, because our suffering now becomes the work of love, the work of … First, let's examine what we mean when we say that God would not permit unjust suffering. Our courses, taught by some of the finest, most original thinkers in the world, are five minutes long, visually stimulating and rich in practical content. Photo Credit: Thinkstock "One of God’s greatest gifts to us is His presence." My private standard means nothing. 2 Tim. But where does this sense come from? What does Christianity teach about evil and suffering? Each of us knows firsthand what it means to suffer as a result of … God does not like pain and suffering, nor did He create the world for it. We see an innocent child suffer, say, from an incurable disease. Job’s wife comes and says, “Curse God and die,” because of the suffering … I’m certainly not questioning my faith enough to ever leave it, but this does bother me a little bit. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Because sin and death are the basis of this ultimate evil, the Son’s mission consists in the conquest of sin and death. There is no hope of divine justice ever setting things right nor is there any hope of love and goodness vanquishing evil. The Jews murmur because they are scandalized by the revelation of a vulnerable God but He is the only God that can save. Understandable. Now that's a question that will get some people riled up. Spiritual Smoothie: Can Suffering Really Have Meaning? But the Church does not say that God doesn’t will that any suffer or die. God said “Who makes a child blind or able to see? Through that participation God allows us to participate in the economy of salvation and the flow of grace to all who suffer. The fact that they do evil does not prove that God is not good. That can turn people off.” But how is your not liking something evidence for God not existing? Please consider supporting RCSpirituality with a donation today. Zundrah June 9, 2009, 1:43pm #1. My 19-year-old friend Pete is already living his new one-legged life with great courage and hope. Most people will readily agree with Aristotle that it is happiness. God permits physical evil to the extent that He does not perform one miracle after another in order to stop suffering, thus causing the ordinary to become extraordinary. “Let the little children come to me … for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (Matthew 19:14). But masochism is a love of suffering for its own sake, while the sufferings sought by the saints are motivated by love, by a desire to join with Christ in the redemptive suffering that brings the graces of conversion to sinners, and perseverance to the weak. Heavy lifting: Weekly Message for 11-24-2020, Real Answers to Real Questions: Weekly Message for 07-14-2020, What’s in Your Barrel? And Nathan said to David: the Lord also hath taken away thy sin. Sickness can be a means of God’s loving discipline. God is not the cause of our suffering and does not delight in our pain. There are two categories of suffering:  suffering caused by human beings, which we call moral evils, and suffering caused by nature, for instance, earthquakes or cancer. Pascal agrees too: “All men seek happiness. by Peter Kreeft. If God does not cause us to suffer, then who or what does? The Lord, the covenant God, is the one who brought these sufferings upon Job. John 3:16). What, in other words, does it mean for suffering to be unnecessary or wrong? How we bear our suffering can make all the difference in the world for how we love life, express faith, and avoid cheapening God. In no way did God cause this to happen. Finally, in the case of Job, both Satan and Job believe that it … But under and alongside this shared conviction of the active sovereignty of God, there is an important subsidiary conviction: Satan causes Job’s sufferings. You might reassure the person that he is not alone, that the problem of suffering and evil has pained people for millennia. Sadly, humans are often victimized by other imperfect humans. So the problem of human evil exists only if God exists. So even though the person of God suffered in a way, that suffering was kept separate from God’s divine nature. This question has caused countless people to evaluate their faith, question their beliefs, and, in some cases, abandon the idea that there is a God at all. – While suffering can be a big divider, it also brings people together and allows them to be of service to one another. Definitive evil is the loss of eternal life, and definitive suffering is damnation (cf. As I would run to my children’s side even at the smallest scrap of the knee, surely our Heavenly Father is with us when our hearts are crushed, and despair has taken over. Prager University is an entirely new concept in education. Our suffering, united with our Lord’s suffering, furthers the work of His redemption. Copyright © 2021 RC Spirituality | All Rights Reserved. Seeing suffering in others, especially the smallest and weakest, should prompt us to action. Why do we pray for what we need if God has already decided whether or not we will be healed? The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. Beginning with suffering. The key is remembering that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Nevertheless, because thou has given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, for this thing, the child that is born to thee shall surely die. Each seeks to enhance the student's understanding and appreciation for the core ideas that support Western Civilization such as freedom, personal responsibility and capitalism. ibid., n. 9). But he did show us that suffering can be embraced and offered back to God the Father as a kind of atonement for sins. It is far from easy to define the cause of suffering or of the evil connected with it. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. Significantly, the suffering of little ones was closely linked to the coming of Our Savior. Suffering is the anvil on which we can be forged into more-compassionate people. . There is no ultimate justice. Illness, says the Catechism in No. We can also help a person to see his suffering through supernatural eyes. Christ does not explain in the abstract the reason for suffering, but before all else He says: "Follow me!" In addition, if there were no God, there would be no absolute standard of good. God must have a reason for allowing evil and suffering but the reason is beyond human understanding. Why would God, who needs no one and is perfectly happy and fulfilled, decide to create angels and men whose freedom to choose will result in his own suffering and death? Many people have claimed that such suffering is a proof that God does not exist. For example, the Bible says that when we go through trials, it would be a mistake to say: “I am being tried by God.” The answer is:  it's not possible. Okay, you don't like it. That’s because these bad things can serve God’s ultimately good ends (CCC 310). God the Father’s sending of his only Son to suffer and die for our redemption shows his deep love for us. But illogical, unless you believe in God. As C.S. Furthermore, God is Love, so I think that the suffering that comes from the free decision to turn away from Him is more plausible than God actively punishing sinners in Hell. Some people say that God allows humans to make decisions for themselves and that suffering is caused by the choices that people make. Yet we constantly observe unjust suffering. But I sincerely thank God for answering my prayers in an unexpected way 40 years ago. MrZetterlund: Pray for me, I believe I’ve been struggling in my faith lately. I the Lord, now go!” So… God is saying that he makes us deformed or not, blind or not, deaf or not e.c.t. Here enters the universal reality of human suffering. He’s not to blame for war, crime, and mistreatment. Certainly not from nature. But St. Augustine’s reasoning seems to be correct: 1. Because of the incarnation, the Son of God suffered on the cross, though in his human nature, not God’s divine nature. The traditional answer is no, because God is immutable and impassible, and to suffer is to change or to be changed. Because suffering is so common and yet so difficult to talk about, Ryan says that it’s easy to rely on platitudes like “It’s all part of God’s plan” or “God never gives you a bigger cross than you can endure.” The problem with these, Ryan says, is “they sound like God is busy doling out crosses in people’s lives. Nov 9, 2013 at Birch Cove Baptist Church Because God has given people free will, they are free to behave against God's will. Answer: Various outbreaks of pandemic diseases, such as the coronavirus, have prompted many to ask why God allows—or even causes—pandemic diseases and whether such illnesses are a sign of the end times. More than that, does God cause the suffering that plagues us? I'm Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, for Prager University. We can offer our prayers and material support. People did all of those things. Does God cause suffering or does He allow it? 1:8 – Paul instructs Timothy to share in suffering for the Gospel. Jesus never promised to rid the world of suffering. 1. Think about it. Evil and suffering could make Christians question God's omnipotence, omnibenevolence, or his omniscience. 2. “Because God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.”, (Nos. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. How is that determined? We all face suffering in some way, shape or form. Jeremiah clearly states that God is causing his suffering. 9 Jehovah never causes suffering. The problem of suffering raises two major problems for apologetics: the existence of God and the nature, or character, of God. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS. “Why does a loving God permit pain?” I can honestly say, for the life of me, I don’t know. Your private standard means nothing. We should never kill or harm an animal without serious reasons, though they are not human. Earthquakes and cancers kill — end of story, literally. Or he could have created everyone into heaven - directly. Moreover, the believer in God has an incomparably easier time than the atheist psychologically, as well as logically, in dealing with the problem of natural suffering. Here at RCSpirtiuality, we develop and produce online Catholic resources to help all of us grow as Complete Christians. In Christ, God himself wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his gaze so that we might see the light within it. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, and shouts in our pain, it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” We feel it is wrong, unfair, and shouldn't happen. "And David said to Nathan: I have sinned against the Lord. C. Conclusion: God is not the cause of suffering; He is the author of good (James 1:13-17). God grants him permission, and establishes rules (2:6). Their argument goes like this:  God is all good and all powerful. C. Conclusion: God is not the cause of suffering; He is the author of good (James 1:13-17). This … Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. Thank you for your answers in advance. If there's no God, there's neither good nor evil;  there's just nature doing what it does. Freud says our two absolute needs are love and work. That alone should remind us (and maybe even those without a strong faith) of God’s love for mankind. Conquering Suffering by Love God sent His only-begotten Son into the world to free the world from definitive evil. Understandable. God does not cause the suffering, but he allows it, but the real source of suffering is sin. Is that how you want to live? 1 Like. What is the greatest good for man? Allowing the consequences of our sins. If you donate just $5.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online could keep thriving for years. Suffering can make us more humane and more sympathetic to others. As for natural suffering: that poses what appears to be a more difficult question. the Lord has taken away” ( Job 1:21 ). Seeing suffering in others, especially, can be heart-wrenching. Understandable. Still, the presence of evil and suffering can baffle us. Our judgments of good and evil, natural as well as human, presuppose God as the standard. How do they justify God’s ongoing love, if he supposedly allows suffering to exist? Joseph and Paul both seem to believe that God is causing their suffering. People put questions to God about its cause and frequently reach the point of denying him when they are unable to discover the reason for it (cf. He is the author of many books (over forty and counting) including: Ask Peter Kreeft: The 100 Most Interesting Questions He's Ever Been Asked, Ancient Philosophers, Medieval Philosophers, Modern Philosophers, Contemporary Philosophers, Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic, Doors in the Walls of the World: Signs of Transcendence in the Human Story, Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic, You Can Understand the Bible, Fundamentals of the Faith, The Journey: A Spiritual Roadmap for Modern Pilgrims, Prayer: The Great Conversation: Straight Answers to Tough Questions About Prayer,  Love Is Stronger Than Death, Philosophy 101 by Socrates: An Introduction to Philosophy Via Plato's Apology, A Pocket Guide to the Meaning of Life, Prayer for Beginners, and Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters. The venerated Holy Innocents of Bethlehem were the first to be slain “on account of Christ.” Still, Our Lord’s love for children is undeniable. . God is the author of everything in the created universe. I am confused about prayer. We don't like it. Satan afflicts him, sparing his life (2:7–8). But he did show us that suffering can be embraced and offered back to God the Father as a kind of atonement for sins. Jesus’ passion and death also gave meaning to suffering. Satan does not get the final call. The bad win, and the good suffer. Still, the presence of evil and suffering can baffle us. Cristian_B January 6, 2010, 3:34pm #2. When this kind of question arises, express sympathy for the sufferer and thank the person for his concern for the one who is in pain. One first needs to frame the enigma correctly and begin to seek its cause. Peter Kreeft in on the Advisory Board of the Catholic Education Resource Center. A silver lining in a dark cloud, if ever there was one. We are told in the Bible that God is loving, compassionate, and merciful; God is perfect; God is so divine and inherently good that … Suffering is a participation in the mystery of Christ and is the way Paul can become like Christ. Although not stated explicitly, God the Father appears to have caused Jesus to suffer. There are no exceptions.” The trouble is that we tend not to get what we want in this life—at least not entirely. The fact that they do evil does not prove that God is not good. A Catholic friend of mine is having some major difficulty. Both are now fulfilled by our greatest fear, suffering. "God and Suffering." Jesus never promised to rid the world of suffering. So we must return to the Bible and see what it says. God’s Character. Help us continue providing authentic Catholic spirituality! My 19-year-old friend Pete is already living his new one-legged life with great courage and hope. With faith, we offer our sufferings up to God and He uses them in a mysterious and powerful way for the redemption of the world through the power of love, the love that is the very inner life of God. Yet it can also be an opportunity for sharing the faith, a moment of grace. The case of suffering children can be particularly heart-wrenching. It's just the opposite. © 1996-2019 Catholic Education Resource Center | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Sitemap, The Journey: A Spiritual Roadmap for Modern Pilgrims, Prayer: The Great Conversation: Straight Answers to Tough Questions About Prayer, Philosophy 101 by Socrates: An Introduction to Philosophy Via Plato's Apology, Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters. Every judgment presupposes a standard, and that's true of our moral judgments, too. The clearest example of this in … John: Perhaps the reality of pain and suffering, more than any other human condition regardless of one’s religion, causes people to lose their hope and trust in God. This is because suffering causes us to turn to God and purifies us from sin. In the process we discover our own capacity for love. When an innocent person is struck by a painful disease, or tortured, or murdered, we naturally feel sadness and helplessness, and often rage. God doesn’t cause suffering, but he does allow it because he gives us free will, and free will leads to a fallen world. Second, it has caused the gift of healing to be suppressed in some circles because those who teach that illness comes from God for His purposes caution their followers not to ask Him for healing. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, Catholic information that their work matters. God is all-loving. suffering to draw us and those we love to Himself. Catholic Online; News; Blog; Free World Class Education FREE Catholic Classes . Peter Kreeft. There's nothing just about nature;  nature is only about survival. The Catholic Church sees human suffering as a chance to follow the example of Christ and believe that it is a part of God’s plan. Why Does God Allow Suffering? For if you do not believe in God, your subjective feelings are the only basis upon which you can object to natural suffering. Mrzetterlund: pray for me, I believe I ’ m certainly not does god cause suffering catholic my faith lately goes! Story, literally goes like this: God is not heresy by Catholic standards, a vulnerable but. In other words, does it mean for suffering, united with our Lord ’ Loving! Follow me! aware of every pain we feel it is unavoidable and as as... Are the only God that can save see our entire life on earth as well as our destiny. 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