The Problem of Human Suffering
The Christian tradition is haunted by a significant mark: Suffering. The question that arises from this suffering is if God is the omnipitous being that Christians believe Him to be, why would He let His people, whom he loves, suffer great pains and horrible deaths? According to premises derived from theologians and followers of the Bible, God is "all loving". If that is true, then God would not want His people to suffer, but by just looking around us we see that suffering, in fact, is happening. If there is suffering going on that God does not want, then He would be able to stop that suffering since He also believed to be "all powerful", yet suffering still goes on. Why? Hopefully by the end of this paper I will be able to answer that for myself.
Suffering needs little support for its existence, for things such as the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel's book, Night, documents the suffering of the Jewish people and his own personal suffering during the Holocaust. This massive amount of suffering is very hard to justify. How could God let this genocide take place?
To answer that question we must further examine the original premises that we based the first conclusion upon: God is all-powerful and God is all-loving. To say that either one of these postulates are true would disrupt the foundation of the Christian beliefs. So we must dig deeper and look at the thought that "God does not want suffering". Since suffering indeed happens, and God being the all-powerful individual and could stop suffering from happening if He wanted, then God must want suffering to happen for a reason. That's strange, since we are saying God is also all-loving. God must need suffering to happen for a reason, but at the same time not necessarily want it to happen. What reason could God have for letting people whom He loves die horrible and painful deaths? Not only do these deaths effect the person, but also all the people who have been touched by that person because they suffer as well.
To say that God may not have control over who suffers and who does not makes Him seem like he's not all-powerful, so God must play a part in this suffering. There are two reasons one can formulate that might give justification to this terrible suffering. One might be that we suffer as a test to prove our faith in God can survive no matter the circumstances. We see this test arise in the book of Job. Job is a man whom has done no wrong, has a great family, and a strong belief in God. According to the Bible, God puts the fate of Job's in Satan's hands. Satan reaps everything from Job except for his life. Job never questioned the existence of God or His almighty power, but Job did question God's silence throughout his turmoil. When God finally answered, Job was rewarded for not loosing faith and "…spoken of Me what is right"(Job 42:8). Job suffered a great deal and still did not loose his faith in God, and in the end God gave Job...