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Do you think God causes suffering?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by saisigh, May 4, 2021.

  1. saisigh

    saisigh New Member

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    I'm going to repost an OP from a reddit thread

    Suffering is seen as a good thing in Christianity. For the most part your average Christian will claim that suffering is simply God attempting to make you better like and train you. In fact it’s even promised in the Bible that followers will suffer. Suffering is glorified in the Bible.

    It appears that God even causes it

    “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

    "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,"

    "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps."

    "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good."

    Christians have been for years preforming self inflicting pain to sanctify themselves and it’s not uncommon for this to be practiced still.

    Suffering is glorifying God to some Christians

    There is even a verse saying God’s power is complete when humans are weak."

    I'm a semi new Christian and I think he made pretty convincing points.
     
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  2. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to CF...

    Can I suggest a different take on this...

    Before the fall there was no suffering. What God made was good.

    Enter pride among the angels and the fall of Lucifer.

    This put the universe into corruption and at that instant the plan to redeem mankind was launched.

    God never breaks covenant, so Satans corrupt dominion had to be played out in time.

    We are then born into a waiting room and we all have to share in the grieving creation until He comes again.

    But the beauty of the Cross is that we get to share in His sufferings.

    His sufferings are for healing.

    Through us, His plan of redemption is being played out.

    So God never authored sufferring and will restore all who love Him to Himself even more gloriously than before the fall - no more pain, no more frustration, cant wait...
     
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  3. Jaxxi

    Jaxxi Well-Known Member

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    No Satan causes suffering and God allows it because people are turning away from him and doing sexually perverse things and stacking their sins to high heaven and acting like they dont have a care in the world. They dont give God credit for anything and are becoming more and more godless as a society. Why should He care about a generation that doesn't give Him a second thought?
     
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  4. FutureAndAHope

    FutureAndAHope Just me Supporter

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    Suffering in the bible has to be balanced against blessing. Take David in the bible, no one would deny that David was a believer, yet his suffering , before he was king, was only mild emotional discomfort. Joseph was another example of a man of God who suffered, he was promised by God that he would rule, yet he was sold as a slave, and sent to prision, yet he came out to rulership. Yet, some believers and prophets were stoned, or sawn in two, crucified, before their triumphant entry to heaven.

    Not every believer will suffer greatly, but we will all encounter some form of discomfort in life. I suffered greatly in my emotions shortly after I was saved, I don't know if more suffering is ahead on the road, in my heart I don't like the idea of suffering, but "if" it happens I hope I endure it without complaint.

    Paul said he had learned to be content no matter what his state.

    We should not feel as believers that suffering is all God has for us, it is a part of things, His blessing is as much if not more prominent.
     
  5. disciple Clint

    disciple Clint Well-Known Member

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    God knows that in a fallen world believers are going to suffer persecution, He encourages us to accept those sufferings as Jesus accepted His suffering.
     
  6. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello @saisigh, first off, since I see that you are brand new around here, WELCOME TO CF :wave:

    As for your post, your Reddit post says a number of things that are true about Biblical teaching, but his/her comments lead me to believe that he/she has little to no understanding of why God allows us to suffer.

    I'll start out by debunking the comment about Christians inflicting suffering/harm upon themselves. While it has been true (and still is, at times) that Christians have inflicted pain and suffering upon themselves as a means of sanctifying themselves, this is hardly normative or common, and it never has been (unless you include "fasting", but fasting could hardly be called a Christian-only discipline).

    The Bible has a LOT to say in regard to this topic, and here is a very small part of it (with a few Christian quotes about it to consider as well). Let me/us know what you think (I believe the opening verse is perhaps the most well-known, as it has been a GREAT comfort and encouragement to many who have suffered over the millennia since it was written :)).

    Romans 8
    28 We know that God causes ~all~ things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

    2 Timothy 3
    12 All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

    Hebrews 12
    5 Have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
    “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
    NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
    6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
    AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
    7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
    8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
    9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
    10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
    11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

    There is perhaps nothing more important to our walk and to our growth in sanctification/Christlikeness than these two words, "Trust God". It's easy to trust Him during the good times, but not so easy during the bad, whenever we are suffering, yes? So suffering can help us know where we are in our walks, how much we have truly come to trust Him, as well help us to continually grow in our trust of Him and of His word.

    And if you want to know if you are living as God intends/abiding in Him and in His will for you, persecution ~or the lack thereof~ is a sign that can help us know that (2 Timothy 3:12).

    Here are some quick thoughts on this to consider from a number of different Christians + one short article. Hopefully they will prove to be as helpful/thought-provoking to you as they have been to me :oldthumbsup:



    Spurgeon - Ive learned to kiss the waves...............png
    Romans 8:28


    Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering... The love of God did not protect His own Son... He will not necessarily protect us -
    not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and
    chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.


    ~Missionary Elisabeth Elliot~


    [​IMG]


    Why is discipline important? Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire.
    Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful) puts us in
    control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and
    permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.


    ~Pastor John F. MacArthur~

    Finally, here is a short teaching (part one of six), that should help you understand why God allows us to suffer in this life. As God tells us in the Bible, His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts .. Isaiah 55:8-9, as He is able to see what is 'truly' best for us as our loving Abba/heavenly Father (all we need do is trust Him/trust that He always has our best in mind as He continues His mighty work in us to sanctify us from here to Glory :amen:)


    MEDITATION ON THE FUTURE LIFE
    (By our tribulations God weans us from excessive love of this present life)​

    1. The vanity of this life
    Whatever kind of tribulation presses upon us, we must ever look to this end: to accustom ourselves to contempt for the present life and to be aroused thereby to meditate upon the future life. For since God knows best how much we are inclined by nature to a brutish love of this world, he uses the fittest means possible to draw us back and to shake off our sluggishness, lest we cleave too tenaciously to that love.

    There is not one of us, indeed, who does not wish to seem throughout his life to aspire and strive after heavenly immortality. For it is a shame for us to be no better than brute beasts, whose condition would be no whit inferior to our own if there were not left to us hope of eternity after death. But if you examine the plans, the efforts, the deeds, of anyone, there you will find nothing else but earth.

    Now our blockishness arises from the fact that our minds, stunned by the empty dazzlement of riches, power, and honors, become so deadened that they can see no farther. The heart also, occupied with avarice, ambition, and lust, is so weighed down that it cannot rise up higher. In fine, the whole soul, enmeshed in the allurements of the flesh, seeks its happiness on earth.

    To counter this evil the Lord instructs his followers in the vanity of the present life by continual proof of its miseries
    . Therefore, that they may not promise themselves a deep and secure peace in it, God permits them often to be troubled and plagued either with wars or tumults, or robberies, or other injuries. That they may not pant with too great eagerness after fleeting and transient riches, or repose in those which they possess, he sometimes by exile, sometimes by barrenness of the earth, sometimes by fire, sometimes by other means, reduces them to poverty, or at least confines them to a moderate station. That they may not too complacently take delight in the goods of marriage, he either causes them to be troubled by the depravity of their wives or humbles them by evil offspring, or afflicts them with bereavement. But if, in all these matters, he is more indulgent toward them, yet, that they may not either be puffed up with vainglory or exult in self-assurance, he sets before their eyes, through diseases and perils, how unstable and fleeting are all the goods that are subject to mortality.

    Then only do we rightly advance by the discipline of the Cross, when we learn that this life, judged in itself, is troubled, turbulent, unhappy in countless ways, and in no respect clearly happy; that all those things which are judged to be its goods are uncertain, fleeting, vain, and vitiated by many intermingled evils. From this, at the same time, we conclude that in this life we are to seek and hope for nothing but struggle; when we think of our crown, we are to raise our eyes to heaven. For this we must believe: that the mind is never seriously aroused to desire and ponder the life to come unless it be previously imbued with contempt for the present life. ~Calvin, J. (2011). Institutes of the Christian Religion

    (Some of what is said above is better understood and less depressing when read in the context of the following 5 parts. If you'd like to read more, just let me know and I'll post another section)

    God bless you!

    --David
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
  7. tdidymas

    tdidymas Newbie

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    Firstly, I don't agree with the idea that people self-inflict pain to sanctify themselves. Perhaps it was merely a statement of fact, and they weren't agreeing with it? But the part of the Bible that indicates God inflicts suffering on people is just that - God inflicts it, not people doing it to themselves. People may be self-inflicting pain, but that is unbiblical and unnatural.

    In Heb. 12 (and other places), it says that God scourges His children, to make them share in His holiness (which happens only when we trust God in it). That could be done in various ways, and all ways cause some kind of suffering or hardship. Such as economic disaster, war, persecution, pestilence, poverty, sickness, relational breakups, etc. God can use the wicked people to do such things to us in order to test our faith and build in us a character of faithfulness to God's order. The Bible is full of historical accounts of this happening. For example, Job, Joseph, Jonah, Israel in the book of Judges, and many others.
     
  8. saisigh

    saisigh New Member

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    wait so do you believe God allows suffering or causes it?
     
  9. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    Suffering in the world is caused by:

    - The devil
    - Greed / materialism
    - Belief in false religions, false teachings
    - Too few Christians doing the work of God
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
  10. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello again Saisigh, I believe that He typically "allows" suffering to happen, no doubt by simply withdrawing His hand of protection from us to one degree or another. There is already so much suffering in the world that I'm sure He is simply able to use it/allow it to happen much of the time (rather than being the proximate/direct cause of it all).

    In the end however, it really amounts to the same thing (especially in our case because we are His/His adopted children .. e.g. Ephesians 1:4-6). IOW, God acts on our behalf/does what He knows is best for us/what He knows He must to sanctify us and grow us up in His Son/in Christlikeness, and to see us safely through this life to be with Him in Glory .. e.g. Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 7:25.

    God causes ~all~ things, BOTH good and bad things, to work together for our good in the end :amen:

    It should also be noted that the Lord tells us plainly/takes responsibility for everything (as He ordains whatsoever comes to pass), including certain, physical (never moral) evils or calamities (storms/sickness, etc. .. never sin) to see that His will is accomplished in our lives (and so that we can come to know that His promises to us are not only true, but can be completely counted on .. e.g. Isaiah 46:9-10; Romans 4:20-21; Hebrews 11:1,6).

    God bless you :)

    --David

    Isaiah 45
    6 "I am the LORD, and there is no other,
    7 The One forming light and creating darkness,
    Causing well-being and creating calamity;
    I am the LORD who does all these things."

    .
    Isaiah 46
    9 “I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is no one like Me,
    10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
    And from ancient times things which have not been done,
    Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
    And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’"

    .
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
  11. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    Sin is the cause of suffering.

    Due to the nature of this world, suffering is inevitable.

    When we trust God in the midst of our suffering, He can work and shine through us.

    When this represents God as praiseworthy this gives Him glory.
     
  12. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Even "good" people suffer. Remember Job ???

    Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
     
  13. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Saul chased David and sought to kill him for years ...
     
  14. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Suffering is a part of any redemption.

    The good either suffer with the evil ... or suffer as they strive to redeem the world from the evil. Consider WW2.

    And while we consider God's allowance of some suffering on our parts, ... don't forget just how much suffering humanity is capable and willing to inflict upon itself ...

    Matthew 24

    7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

    8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

    9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

    10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

    11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

    12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

    13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

    14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

    15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)

    16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

    17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

    18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

    19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

    20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

    21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

    22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
     
  15. FutureAndAHope

    FutureAndAHope Just me Supporter

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    Yes, but it is hardly suffering like Paul or the other saints who were martyred. The point of the illustration is to show not all believers will undergo great trouble in their lives.

    As an example, my mother lived with my sister, who is end times focused, they put fear into my mother that some great suffering was to happen, and I probably contributed at one point. My mother often spoke with doubts as to what kind of suffering she would have to endure. The truth of the matter, she died peacefully in her sleep and died with no further suffering than she had endured in her early life.

    Christians, me included, can live with a fear-based suffering complex. Often, like my mother, these fears are not founded in God's will, not founded in reality.

    That is the point I am making.
     
  16. Hammster

    Hammster Can you describe the ruckus? Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Is that why Jesus suffered?
     
  17. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    Father forgive them, they know not what they do.
     
  18. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I certainly understand your point, and agree, to a large extent.

    I was just responding to say that David went through some stuff (including being hunted for years ... which kept him from being able to settle down in Israel until Saul was dead). I would rank that with Paul's troubles. But he did die peacefully ...
     
  19. Jaxxi

    Jaxxi Well-Known Member

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    I know that. I wasn't saying that they don't but they suffer for a different reason.
     
  20. Jaxxi

    Jaxxi Well-Known Member

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    Jesus is not part of this godless generation. Jesus suffered to keep you from going to hell, as well as me and anyone else who wants to accept it and repent. I do not compare what Jesus did to average people. No one can fill His shoes. The question wasn't about Jesus.
     
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