posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 12:05 PM
Sxull, I completely understand your cynicism about a God who would allow horror to occur, not only in ancient times, but into the present. This
question is one of the leading concerns of people who cannot believe in the God of the Bible. Again, a plethora of books have been written on the
subject. My favorite is C.S. Lewis' "The Problem of Pain". He was an atheist whose main objection to Christianity was the suffering in the world.
He eventually converted. That doesn't mean he (or any other "believer") can explain suffering. We just accept it because that's the way the
world is. Creation and people are imperfect, so evil is going to manifest itself, but ultimately God is in control of everything. Yes, that takes a
measure of faith. But any world view you live under (and you DO have one) requires faith - either faith in God or gods, nature, society, a political
system, yourself, etc. So the God of the Bible cannot be rejected simply because you must exercise faith. You are already doing that.
All that said, most Biblical theologians believe God allows (or causes) suffering for three reasons: either as judgement (punishment), to bring an
unbeliever into belief, or to mature the character of a believer. Most of the Old Testament examples you cite were cases of judgement. In all, God
had repeatedly warned the subject peoples or individuals to turn to Him through His prophets. (In the case of Pharaoh, the prophet was Moses, etc.)
Now, if God is God, that is, all-knowing, eternal, all-present and out of time, and all-powerful, He knows what He is doing. We, in our finite, small
minds, cannot even begin to comprehend His reasons. If we could, we would all be god. The God has all authority and He is the perfect judge. So we
just have to believe He is acting in love even when it appears not to be so. Don't you do that as a parent? Don't we do that as a society with our
policemen? Police are trained not to use force unless absolutely necessary. God does the same. Don't you have "long-suffering" with your
children because you love them, but then they finally step over the line, and they just have to be punished, also because you love them? Aren't they
"innocent"? Why not just let them do as they wish? Because order must be maintained in the home and society, so someone has to be in authority.
God set up our institutions (family, government) so that would be the case. And at the top, over all else, is He. He IS long-suffering, He IS
loving, He IS merciful. If He weren't, we'd all already be toast.
If suffering is not judgement, then it is to bring people to God or to refine those who are already His. In the first case, you can't fault God for
that, because He wishes that all would believe in Him. He gives us every chance He can. Just like children, some people only respond to extreme
measures - death, divorce, financial ruin, sickness. And just because someone is already a believer in the God of the Bible doesn't mean they are
immune to suffering or tragedy. We all know that, in spite of what some people teach. God wants to "perfect" His people, so He gives us situations
to refine how we react. If you pray for patience, God isn't going to take away all your little irritating little things. He's going to give you
more. By practicing the right response, eventually you will be more patient.
Sxull, I recommend you read the Bible, starting with the gospel of John. Also read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, that same converted atheist.
In it he explains how he LOGICALLY came to believe in the God of the Bible. Very interesting. Lastly, I would ask that you pray something like this:
"God, I don't know if you are real or what you are or who you are. But if you are real, please reveal that to me. I sincerely want to know the
truth." Don't bow your head or close your eyes. Look up and stare Him in the face. He promises in His Word that He will answer that prayer.
Very Sincerely Yours