Monday, October 22, 2007

Human suffering and the afterlife

Posted by Teresa at 8:40 PM
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and
through whom everything exists, should make the author of their
salvation
perfect through suffering.
Hebrews 2:10

I've always been tried to reconcile the existence of God and human suffering.
If God is good then why do people suffer so much? Theologians and philosophers
have grappled with since the beginning of time. I've been thinking a lot
about this. Maybe suffering is proof of an afterlife. Let me explain. Perhaps all
the wars, poverty, sickness in this world that have existed since the beginning
of time is evidence that this Earthly world is not the best there is? There is
something more for us. Something without all the hate and pain of this world.

I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't strive with all our human abilities
for peace, reducing poverty, and find cures for diseases. But maybe
the imperfections of this world and humans are evidence that only God
is perfect. I try not to use the word "perfect" to describe anything in the
superficial. If your looking to find complete perfection in things of the
world you will continually be disappointed.

I don't think we will ever completely understand why so many bad and evil
things happen. It seems so unfair. However, all the pain and tears humans
endure is not without meaning. Suffering is not purposeless. We are not
purposeless.

3 comments:

Peter King on 10:40 PM, October 22, 2007 said...

Its nice to see someone thinking for a change. I guess the only way one can make sense of God's supposed qualities of Omnipotent, Merciful and Just is by assuming we can't see the whole picture. However the more I look at the horrors people have inflicted on one-another through the ages the more I can't help thinking that you can't really make up that suffering by being nice afterwards. So I have come to the simple conclusion that God does not conform to human notions of good. That is not to say we shouldn't be good (for our own sakes). Just that we aren't in a position to judge God. cheers

Joshua P. Allem on 1:44 AM, October 23, 2007 said...

Excellent article, Terry Ann. This has been a tough one for me as well. The only things that have ever brought me comfort in the knowledge of today's horrors is reminding myself that we're currently in the middle of a supernatural war. Things aren't the way they're supposed to be down here. Everything is out of place. Jesus is on His Father's throne in Heaven instead of being on His own thrown in Jerusalem. (The thrown that was promised to Him thru the prophets of the Old Testament.) The Devil is running loose instead of being in chains. (Which is where he will be one day.) And the Church is yet to be with her groom. Suffering as you said is an obvious sign that all things are out of place at present. It's hard to imagine this, but God suffers too. He must if He is perfect in His love while being perfect in His knowledge of our situation. As for completely understanding, it helped me to know that some of the wisest men and women of the Bible also wrote of their confusion about this same thing. People often talk about Job, but I turn to Ecclesiastes. There's a book written by someone who actually wrote sarcasticly about the way God's set things up down here. Psalms is also full of despairing prayers. All of this together reminds me that as you said in your article, what we call life doesn't really begin until we get outta here!

Jason on 2:12 AM, October 23, 2007 said...

Suffering, I think, is one of the signs that an afterlife exists.

It it possible to be completely satisfied on Earth? I think not. This tells me we we're made for another place and time. We're like embryos, biding our time until we can become fully human.

It would be a strange world if humans got hunger pangs, but no food existed.

 

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