Monday, 25 October 2010

The temporary nature of suffering

At the heart of the issue of suffering (this is part 4 of the discussion I think) is the question of if there was a God of love why would he not do away with all suffering and make a world where there is none of the suffering which seems to plague our world? Although the Bible gives us numerous reasons why God currently allows suffering in this world, the Bible’s answer to this question is that ultimately this is exactly what God is going to do. The Bible clearly states that one day Jesus will return to judge this world finally. On that day this world will be destroyed and God will create a new world. The Bible describes this new creation as a place with no tears, no death, no mourning and no more pain. So the very thing people think that God should do is, absolutely, his intention. If the question is why a God of love would not create a new world in which there was no more suffering then the answer is that he is going to.

So why not now? Why does God not just get on and create this new world? The Bible’s answer to this begins with the assertion that not all people will be a part of this new creation. In order to be part of God’s perfect new world people must be made righteous. As none of us have lived righteous lives we cannot rely on this and so we must be made righteous by faith. Therefore it is only those who have believed in Jesus and accepted the forgiveness he offers who will be part of this new creation and escape the full judgment they deserve. Therefore God does not bring in this new creation immediately so as to give as many people as possible the opportunity to find the righteousness offered through faith in Jesus and, therefore, be spared their just punishment and, instead, become part of his new creation without pain or suffering. It is perfectly logical for God to create a world with no more suffering. However, it is equally logical for a God of love to delay this, even if that means the continuation of suffering on earth if, by doing so, he can give more people time to find the righteousness he offers and be able to become a part of his new creation without any pain or suffering.

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