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Do you think God causes suffering?

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

  1. renniks

    renniks Well-Known Member

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    I think God uses the suffering that comes from living in a broken world rather than causing it. He works all things for good to those that love him, even suffering.
     
  2. Hammster

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

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    “Does God cause suffering?” That’s the very title of the thread.
     
  3. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes . . . we can read this in 2 Corinthians 7-10. But how to understand this comes with growing in Jesus. You learn what you do, now, but then grow to get better understanding, with experience.

    All right . . . so you are learning.

    And I think you can be limiting things by asking if it is one "or" the other. I don't think God is allowing "or" causing suffering, but there is more to it than one way or another.

    I believe God is in all-control. So, He is not only "allowing" anything. But He manages things in relation with His overall purpose > Romans 8:29.

    But, also, God is not causing people to do the evil of this world > James 1:13.

    So, it is possible that you are giving us a choice between two untrue possibilities.

    A thing I have learned is God uses suffering for His purpose. He did not "allow" it, nor did He "cause" it, but He turns it for His good purpose . . . like how He planned and has used the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross for so much good. The crucifixion of Christ was not caused by God, nor just allowed, but prophesy shows it was foreseen, and planned, and now is used for God's good.

    And what is going on, with each suffering person, is unique; each human is unique; so why each one suffers is unique . . . known to God.

    In general, one person might sin so the person gets resulting suffering. The person's own sin brought that. But God could be managing if and how the person suffers, since God is in overall control. And the suffering might be somehow for the person's own good . . . so, perhaps, the person does not stay healthy enough to harm others and oneself much worse than is caused by the suffering.

    "God resists the proud"
    , we have in James 4:6 and also in 1 Peter 5:5. So, it is possible that suffering is included in God resisting someone for the person's own good, and for the good of others . . . so the person in pride does not do much worse.

    But another person could be obeying God and loving any and all people, and someone hates the person for this and hurts the person. But God uses that for His good. And the suffering person, then, uses the situation for blessing and helping other people. Because God is all-loving, having an all-loving result for ones who suffer for Christ.

    You can read and feed on how this worked for Joseph > Genesis 37-50. This is a unique example of how God used suffering to bring His all-loving result > thirteen chapters of God's word are used for bringing this out; so I recommend you explore this.

    But the one who benefited the most was Joseph, since he was the one faithful to God . . . I consider. Others still had their own character limiting how they were able to benefit . . . for example, how those brothers, even after being helped by Joseph, still were afraid of him. And God's word does say >

    "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment." (in 1 John 4:18)

    So - - even while they were benefiting from how Joseph helped to save their lives, still they were missing out on how they could have benefited from loving.

    So, yes, there are plenty of suffering people who are not benefiting from their situations they way they could. Ones have brought things on themselves, or they are in association with godless people who neglect and harm them. And if they are not with God, they miss out on how they could benefit - - for themselves, plus be all-loving to bless others. And the net result . . . in my opinion . . . then, is they don't benefit much, except for how the suffering might keep them from getting into much worse . . . which they themselves could do, and/or what others might do to them.

    But if we do things with God in His grace, then during suffering we are benefiting from His grace. But also while we might not suffer . . . in grace we are benefiting. And, either way, we submit to how our Father rules us in His peace (Colossians 3:15). And in this peace we enjoy loving with His creativity for how to love each and every person. This works with or without suffering . . . however God pleases :)
     
  4. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's not exactly what that verse says.

    It says ... "When we are weak, then He is strong."

    The verse is saying, that as we face our difficulties ... and even come to the end of our ropes, ... God can make a difference for us.

    The purpose of men's and women's live ... is not to suffer.

    Our purpose is to be united in love, faith, fellowship, and purpose with God. In other words, to become a part of God's family ... or God's team.

    Guess what ??? God suffers. He suffers rejection and rebellion by a large portion of His creation whom He desires to love ... AND He chose to suffer MORE to rescue us from our predicament. He is like a loving parent who runs into a burning building to rescue the very disobedient children who set the house on fire.

    To do good ... or to maintain the good ... in a world where people can choose to be evil ... means that you may ... or will suffer in the process. God didn't create the world with suffering ... humanity brought suffering upon itself by choosing to live in a way that wasn't good.

    God is so good, OTOH, that He's chosen to suffer WITH US, rather than to abandon us. If we are indeed united with Him, ... we will suffer as He does.

    Isaiah 53

    3 He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

    4 Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
     
  5. Jaxxi

    Jaxxi Well-Known Member

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    Right, not " Why did Jesus suffer?"
     
  6. Hammster

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

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    Who do you think caused His suffering?
     
  7. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    I believe we cause our own "suffering." But suffering is not suffering....it is us getting what we desire. I will give you the desires of your heart......what ever they may be. This is bad news to those who believe that if something is "not the His will," they will not get it even after asking.

    If you think negative you will receive negativity......therefore, whatsoever things are just , of good report, if there be an virtue.. etc......think on these these....

    But trials worketh patience..... we learn from our mistakes.....and grow from our suffering. And he that endureth until the end....the same shall be save and live in heavenly places.......Now.
     
  8. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello again Saisigh, I thought I should answer your direct question a little more, well, directly (than I did in my last post).

    My direct answer is "yes", God both allows AND causes suffering, depending on what He knows needs to be accomplished.

    As I said earlier, God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, which means that He either 1. causes it to happen or 2. allows it to happen or 3. stops it from happening. If He stopped everything that was outside of His will from happening (which He could certainly do .. like sinning, for instance), then our wills would not be free (in any sense of that word).

    --David

     
  9. saisigh

    saisigh New Member

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    So how do you intertwine and a loving fatherly God with a God who likes to cause you pain and suffering.
     
  10. Strong in Him

    Strong in Him I can do all things through Christ Supporter

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    There are two types of suffering.
    There is suffering because of illness, pain, bereavement etc - these are not good. Pain, sickness and death came into the world when sin came in and, although God is with us IN our pain and understands it, he didn't cause it. Jesus healed sickness and raised the dead; he wouldn't have done that if pain and illness was the only way the person could learn about, and glorify, God.
    Then there is suffering for the Gospel - enduring pain that other people inflict on us because we stand up for Jesus/refuse to compromise our beliefs. This IS good, although it wouldn't feel good to those going through it. It shows loyalty to the Gospel. The devil is trying to oppose the Gospel and turn people away from God - if he can used persecution and pain to do that, he will.

    Yes, suffer for God's name - not suffer as in headaches etc.

    IMO, that is misguided.
    It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us and transforms us into Jesus' likeness, 2 Corinthians 3:18. Someone could literally beat themselves to make them give up e.g cigarettes, and yet still not be surrendered to Christ and declare him to be Lord.

    The context of that verse is that Paul had a thorn in his flesh, (whatever that was). He did not rejoice in it, but asked God, 3 x, to take it away. God replied that his grace was enough for Paul and that his power could be seen more clearly in human weakness.
    This is quite true - if there is a task that we can do by ourselves, in our own strength, then we won't turn to and trust God. But if the task is difficult, or what we are facing is tough, then we pray and trust that God will help us. Look at David; how long would he have lasted if he'd said "I'm strong enough to fight Goliath on my own"? But he said "you come against me with sword and spear, I come against you in the name of the living God."

    What was his point; that God likes/inflicts suffering? If so, that was wrong. And if the verse that he partially quoted, out of context, was meant to prove that; it doesn't.
     
  11. Strong in Him

    Strong in Him I can do all things through Christ Supporter

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    Jesus died for sinners. He did not require people to first believe in him.

    Why should God care about people who don't acknowledge him? Because he made them. The Gospel writer said once that Jesus had compassion on the crowd because they were like sheep without a shepherd. HE is the Good Shepherd, who gave his life to reconcile people to God.
     
  12. Strong in Him

    Strong in Him I can do all things through Christ Supporter

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    He doesn't like to cause us pain and suffering.
    Sometimes he may use sickness or a tragedy to get our attention; that doesn't mean that he deliberately inflicted it for that reason.

    C.S Lewis says that God whispers to us in our pleasures but shouts in our pain - it is his megaphone to arouse a deaf world.
     
  13. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello @saisigh, the Bible never tells us (or insinuates) that God "likes" to see His children suffer (nor is such a thing true of Him in regards to those who are not/never will be His children). In fact, the Bible tells us that the very opposite is true of Him, yes .. e.g. Ezekiel 33:11?

    He never allows us to suffer just for the sake of suffering (that would be sadistic). Rather, He uses suffering for a number of different and very important purposes* in our lives, ~ALL~ of them for our good :amen: .. Romans 8:28.

    *(I've already documented many of the reasons that God allows His children to suffer on this side of the grave in my earlier posts in this thread. I'm not sure what more I can say about it?)​

    Eternity, for all of God's saints, will be lived out ~apart~ from suffering of any kind (whether in Heaven or on the New Earth .. e.g. Revelation 21:1-4), and that will still be the case for us even after trillions upon trillions of years have gone by.

    However, during our short stay here (a period of time that, for most, will not last 100 years), this will not be the case (though God may choose to bless us with times of joy and happiness apart from suffering, from time to time anyway :)).

    BTW, joy and happiness can still be ours as Christians, even in the midst of suffering. As the hymn says,

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus
    Look full in His wonderful face
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
    In the light of His glory and grace

    God bless you!

    --David

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  14. EpicScore

    EpicScore Member

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    While the Bible does teach that God is in control over both the good and bad things in our lives (Isaiah 45:7, Matthew 5:45), I don't believe that it is right to conclude that Christianity glorifies suffering.

    When God created the heaven and Earth, He declared that everything was good (Genesis 1); God brought order over chaos and He is the source of all blessings. However, sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and all the benefits we were meant to enjoy in fellowship with Him. A lot of pain and suffering we experience arise from people acting in deviance from the moral/righteous character of God, and nature likewise raging out of order due to the loss of our God-given glory (Romans 3:23) and authority we were meant to have over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:28-30).

    Ever since the fall, the whole creation has been "groaning together in pains of childbirth," (Romans 8:22) and I think this is meant to demonstrate the following:

    1) Sin has disastrous consequences, not only to ourselves, but also to those around us, including our environment.
    2) God, and God alone, has the power to overcome, redeem and eventually overturn those disastrous consequences of sin.

    In fact, one of the hope we have as Christians is the promise of the new heaven and the new earth, where "There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain". (Revelation 21:4).

    The reason why the Bible sometimes speak quite positively about suffering is not to advocate a "gospel of suffering", but to give a reassurance that even our worst experience can be turned to good (Genesis 50:20), and our sufferings are not meaningless or in vain.

    The Bible acknowledges that objective pain and suffering exists (unlike some philosophies that teaches that pain is simply a state of mind), and that it indicates the bad state of the world and the human heart. On the other hand, it is not nihilistic, and assures us that nothing is beyond the reach of God's redemption.

    Or, as Tim Keller once preached: "Our bad things turn out for good. Our good things can never be lost. And the best things are yet to come."
     
  15. saisigh

    saisigh New Member

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    Yes but if God is causing the suffering wouldn't it be his will and thus pleasing him? He wouldn't do something out of his will right? Just trying to understand.
     
  16. saisigh

    saisigh New Member

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    Yes but if God is causing the suffering wouldn't it be his will and thus pleasing him? He wouldn't do something out of his will right? Just trying to understand.
     
  17. Strong in Him

    Strong in Him I can do all things through Christ Supporter

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    He doesn't cause suffering.

    We may suffer through illness, bereavement, pain, an accident - or the sins of others, like drink drivers, or criminals. God didn't, and doesn't, cause that.
    Sickness, pain and death came into the world when sin came in - when Adam and Eve broke God's command. God didn't plan, or want, them to sin; but even then, at the beginning, he knew that they would, and had already decided on a rescue plan.

    God is love, 1 John 4:8. Paul tells us that love is patient, kind, not rude, does not delight in evil etc, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
    God is also perfect, Matthew 5:48, and he is light with no darkness in him at all 1 John 1:5. James also says that every good and perfect gift comes from God, James 1:17 - and suffering is not good or perfect.
    So God doesn't cause babies and children to be killed, or die from illnesses.
    He may sometimes allow it to happen - for whatever reason. Nothing takes him by surprise; the devil can't do anything without his knowledge and he is never so busy with another problem that the devil can sneak something past him when he's not looking. The NT says that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love him. God can turn anything to good and bring hope/peace/good things out of the worst circumstances.
     
  18. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    It is God's will that you have the desires of your heart......and that you be able to choose freely what those desires are. Both blessings and curses are laid out before you.....and he teaches you how to and choose the blessings and asked you to do so.....but doesnt force you to do it.

    "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"
     
  19. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
     
  20. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hi Saisigh, our heavenly Father was "pleased" to send His only, begotten Son here to suffer and die on the Cross ~for us~/~on our behalf~. It was His "will" to do so and it "pleased" Him to do so because it provided the means of our salvation, ~NOT~ because He was pleased to see His Son suffer :preach: (do you understand the difference?).

    God does not derive some sort of sick "pleasure" from the suffering that besets us at times (suffering that He allows us to endure). Rather, He is pleased by the good things that He knows our suffering will bring about in our lives :)

    This is true of earthly parents as well in regards to disciplining our children. We love our children and want the very best for them, so it "pleases" us to spank (or discipline our children in others ways) whenever necessary, for their safety and betterment, etc., to help them learn to deal with life in a reasonable way and to grow up to be responsible adults ... NOT because we enjoy punishing them and derive some sort of pleasure from seeing them suffer (WE DON'T)!!

    You said that you are a fairly new Christian. If you don't mind me asking, what was the main reason(s) that you decided to become one (also, what kind of things were you hoping to receive from God by becoming a Christian)? Perhaps if I understood these things I would be better able to get to the heart of what's bothering you and answer your questions in a way that makes more sense to you :oldthumbsup:

    Thanks :)

    God bless you!

    --David
    .
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
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