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not fair

24-06-2014 - Posted by Andre Piet

images_17 I received the following question to answer:

According to Rom.8:18 ….. the glory will be much greater than the suffering now…… Very beautiful; a wonderful prospect, and I believe that too …… I also believe that God will achieve His goal with everyone …. But how do you, then, cope with the suffering in this world, now? I’m talking, here, about the suffering of others, especially of innocent children…….for example, many are born in a slum settings or something worse…. What opportunities do they have, in this life? Between you and me, I do not find this fair…

This question is not about the wonderful future that is in store for every creature. No, the question is: how can God, Who alone is good, for example, allow innocent children to suffer so very much? Is there not a lot of unfair suffering? Regardless of whether it is suffering caused by people (as with war, crime and terror) or by circumstances beyond man’s control (as with diseases, disabilities and natural disasters). Sooner or later, this question presents  itself to every person. It is the question that underlies the Old Testament Book of Job. And in 2014, this question is still unchanged and pertinent.  That there is a God, every human being knows, who observes the design in creation (Rom.1:20). One can make an effort to deny and rationalize that denial (atheism), but it’s like trying to keep a ball under water. As soon as one stops trying, the ball comes again above water. Meanwhile atheists, who can not live with a God whom they hold responsible for the evil, are more consistent than the average Christian, who is trying to excuse God for the existence of evil. Christian theology speaks of “evil” as a great puzzle and a mystery. They teach that God is the Creator of everything, except of what is evil (but see Isa.45:7). Evil is reckoned by them to be an ‘industrial accident’, unforeseen and in any case, unintended. However, by exonerating God from evil, they degrades Him into a (little) god, as the pagan pantheon acknowledges so many. Someone who lacks absolute control. Thus Christianity makes sure that people do learn about a little god, but not about the GOD. The One who gives to EVERYTHING a place (the Greek word theos is derived from a verb that means “placing” or “setting”). If God is GOD, then He has everything under His control and never does anything go wrong, with Him (Prov.16:4)! To return to the unfair suffering referred to in the above posted question, it is undeniable that there is a great deal of suffering that, in our perception, is unfair, and concerning which no one can understand a sensible meaning. But why check with man’s inability to find the place for suffering? GOD gives everything a place, not we, ourselves. From Scripture we know that God uses contrast to bring us to a true knowledge of Himself. Knowledge of good is not available by itself. From the beginning, it is called the “knowledge of good and evil” (Gen.2:17). By experiencing misery, we learn what mercy is. By sin we learn what grace is. By enmity we learn what reconciliation is. By alienation we learn what love means … and that GOD is LOVE (1John 4:8,16). The reason we are unable to assess whether things are fair or not, is situated in the fact that we have no idea of the overall, final picture. And moreover: GOD’S work is not yet finished. We do not judge a book or a painting that is not complete, do we? “The plan of the eons” that GOD is working out, is still a work “in progress”. Only when the end-result becomes visible (“GOD all in all”; 1Cor.15:28), will it be seen and appreciated that NOTHING has been for NOTHING. It all rhymes at the end!