Why Does a Good God Allow Pain and Suffering?

Jon Tyson asks why God allows pain and suffering and what that means for our freedom.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. What would the world be like if God eliminated all pain and suffering?
  2. If you believe there is a God, do you think he cares about humans?

What would it really look like if God stopped evil from happening on a practical level? I think through my own sin, when I, I think in my own mind, some of the things I want to do but don't do, what if God knew my thoughts and stopped them, you know? How many thoughts would I have? Uh, what if God zapped me with a bolt of electricity every time I actually went to commit a sin? I mean, the universe would just be paralyzed. Uh, I probably wouldn't be able to leave my apartment in the morning. Most people wouldn't be able to live, and so I think that because God values freedom, he enables there to be some of the consequences of that which is our actions, uh, hurting other people and leading to brokenness in the world. If there really is a God, we have to begin to look at things from his perspective. We have to ask the question, "Does God value a response from human beings? Is, are we just on auto-pilot where we're living out a completely predetermined script and that God's orchestrated and involved in every detail? Or is there something that God actually wants, which is a free response from our hearts?" As C.S. Lewis once famously said, "If a state of war in the universe, uh, is a price worth paying for human response, then it must be worth it." I think Jesus answers the longings of our heart and invites us not into a thought experiment, but a relationship where he promises to be with us rather than fix everything or answer everything. And at the end of the day, I think it's that relational component that we actually ache for.