Joined: 3 Jun 2007
the below is a continuation from Claire's diary,
i knew my response would be too long for a response there and since its topical to the
club I am making it here.
your grandmother's alzheimers is a horrible condition and while personal to you, really
her state isn't any different than many other people's states in life, really we could
point to myriads of cases, cancer victims, others in a state of disease or with mental or
medical conditions that are suffering. nothing really makes her case any more or less
significant that all of the billions of people who have lived in a bad circumstance,
suffered in some way, or died throughout human history...so what youre really pointing out
with this one case is actualy the age old question that is always asked (known in
theological terms as the "question of Evil") which to put it in another way is:
"Why does God Permit Suffering?" (or Why does he not do something about "Evil" - u can
make that into all sorts of questions depending on what the "evil" is.)
(forgive me but I may insert some scriptural citations here as "source" of the belief of
my statements because my "believing" side is founded upon holding the Bible as a sacred
text and inspired as the Word of God- so that I wont annoy you I will just cite them
usually and not put the full scripture.)
First, God isn't the cause or source of suffering or evil. He created humans to be perfect
and all his ways are just and perfect. (Gen. 1:27; Deut. 32:4)
The source of almost all wickedness and suffering in the world is either human ourselves
or in some cases wicked spirits (the devil and demons) (excluding the activities or
causalities of "nature") (Rev. 12:12; Acts 10:38; Eccl. 9:11).
Humans have spurned the righteous ways that God has counseled or that his son encouraged
and thus we reap the consequences of these actions. (Gal. 6:7; Prov. 1:30-33)
Because our parents (Adam & Eve) chose a course of independence from God, as he told them
it would be, they lost their state of perfection and were corrupted both phyically and
mentally and instead of living forever as He intended for them, they began to die due to
their imperfection. That imperfection (which "sin" means to "miss the mark" of perfection)
was inherited to all of humanity as Adam and Eve's offspring like a copy with a flaw,
being regenerated over and over and everyone is born with that imperfection. So that is
why our bodies do not operate perfectly and function forever like they could be capable of
doing. Instead we age, we are subject to disease and malfunction and ultimately death.
(Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:1-6; Rom. 5:12)
We are flawed. But to use a simple illustration, imagine anything that is made by someone.
A vase, a photograph, a car, a computer program, whatever. Now imagine that it has an
imperfection, an error, a flaw. Does the fact that it has this flaw mean that it didnt
have a Designer? Or that there wasn't a Creator of it?
No. So the fact, we are imperfect or flawed and thus undergo these states of suffering.
That itself doesn't mean that there is no Creator.
Now moving to your question you raise which is, ok if there is a Creator, God, why doesnt
He do something about the suffering? Or why does he permit it?
The Bible book of Job tells us of the account of the righteous man Job and in it an
amazing thing happens. The angels are among the presence of God and in walks the (fallen)
angel Satan (who had not yet been permanently cast out from God's spiritual realm (aka
"Heaven") and no doubt knowing why he is there, God brings up Job and they have a little
convo. The gist of the convo is that Satan charges that the only reason Job worships God
and lives righteously is because of the good things in life and because he is in good
health. God thus permits Satan to test this claim and the account goes on to tell how Job
undergoes many trials and tests and calamities including being stricken with boils and
such and including having his family killed and losing all of his material possessions.
And yet to the end Job remains faithful to God and doesn't curse God or foolishly accuse
God as being the source of his suffering and thus continues righteous.
Now this test case of Job, very much parallels Satan's original lie to Adam and Eve, when
as a ventriliquist might use a puppet, he made it appear that a snake talked with Eve
while she was in the garden and deceived her with lies, telling her that she wouldnt die
if she disobeyed God and that she had the right to be like God, "knowing what is Good and
Bad" or in other words being able to be morally independent from God. (But note that Eve
was deceived, it was Adam's deliberate sin of eating the forbidden fruit also that is the
cause of the fall of mankind and the start of imperfection among humanity.)
You see, what is going on in life today is actually a combination of both situations. It
is a question which one angel, who has raised the question of whether humanity
can guide itself without God and whether humanity only would worship and follow God due to
the good things in life; Or is it possible that humans do not need God and would not
worship and love God if they had to suffer (like Job).
Now, this is a question which has been raised by a single angel (Satan), but if God did
not answer this question, by allowing the trial to take place, then any one of the other
innumerable angels could also raise this question.
It is basically a legal precedent that is being set. Once the question is answered then no
other angel could ever be justified in challenging God's sovereignty or raising this
But in order for it to be answered, Humanity has to have time to test whether or not we
can live without God, whether or not we can love God, yes believe in God, even in the face
of wickedness and suffering.
It is true, that for us, it seems like a lot of time is going by but remember that for
God, time isn't the same for Him. Time, a physical property of our physical universe
doesn't apply to him. For him, the human time that is going by isn't even a blink of an
instant to God.
And more importantly God has promised two things. He has promised to bring this trial to
an end. It will be concluded. And secondly, he has made the provision, through the ransom
sacrifice of his son, Jesus, to serve as a propitiatory (or covering) sacrifice to repay
the "sin" that we have inherited. Christ's blood is so valuable that it not only pays or
cancels out the sin of just one man Adam, it actually cancels out the sin of everyone, who
has ever lived. (John 3:16; Mark 10:45; Rom 5:12; 1 John 2:2)
So yes, your grandmother is suffering, just as humans have suffered for our entire history
in one way or another. But this suffering of humanity is really only temporary and will
eventually be ended. And God gives assurances to each and every one of us that in the end,
if we accept the grace and take advantage of the offer, then each and every one of us will
be made whole, perfect, happy and healthy.
Let me conclude with a simple illustration that sort of summarizes it all.
What would you say if your grandmother's doctor said that your grandmother has a terrible
cancerous tumor that will kill her. He can have a surgeon operate but due to the way it
is, no anasthesia can be given and it will cause her tremendous pain, the operation. In
other words, she would have to suffer through the ordeal the entire time, but in the end
it would be a success and she would afterwards be healthy and happy and saved and not
Would you say, gosh, that doctor is evil or that doctor doesnt exist because she must
suffer? Of course not.
True, God is not limited like a human doctor and He does have the power to end all of
human suffering at any instant and He will end it someday. It isnt a question of His
capability or his existence, it is a question of His reasons WHY?
As I've discussed the reasons why he is permitting suffering to continue for a time is
because his universal soveignty has been challenged by Satan, who was just an ordinary
free thinking created spiritual son of god (an angel) who chose this path of opposition to
God. It is a time of testing, a trial that is going on, and there are innumerable
spiritual spectators (angels) and now even humans who are onlookers to this trial, anyone
of whom could raise the same question.
Until it is resolved, that is, it is determined that yes, Humans just cant seem to get it
right, we can't govern ourselves, we cant live without God in harmony and peace, we can't
choose our own moral independence without God, we can't be "wise" we are not as sapien as
we think we are, then the suffering will continue. It is something that we must endure
like Job. We must not curse God, we must not fail in believing in him. We must get through
this trial and if we are smart we will accept his provision of salvation, we will take
advantage of what Jesus has offered to us, the redeeming value of his sacrifice for us. So
that when it is time that this grand universal test is over, we will be spared through
God's grace and found worthy of salvation.