Why Doesn't God End Suffering? - Part 2
In part 1, we ended with the idea that God doesn’t always get what He wants. God’s will is not always done. At this point in our search for a good answer to this question, we will interject the word freedom, as in free will.
Continuing on with some more snippets from Herb Montgomery's book, Finding the Father:
We may scratch our head and say to ourselves, "Why would God make such a world in which His creation can thwart His own activity and desires? Why would God make a world with this level of freedom?" Or as some have asked: "Why would God make a world that could say no to Him?"
It all comes back to the beginning—our picture of God. If we begin with the assumption that God is a being whose chief attribute is control, then it is puzzling why He would make a world in which He chooses to let others control events. But if we start with the premise that God's chief attribute is love, then some things begin to make sense.
Let's say that I scheduled and controlled my wife's life down to each and every moment of the day. I determined when she woke up each morning and what she would wear. … Her entire day was scheduled and controlled, including bathroom breaks. Would you say that I was the most loving husband ever to walk the planet? Of course not. You would say that I was a control freak! We look at people who exert that much meticulous control as being emotionally and psychologically unhealthy. And yet we continually attribute this characteristic of meticulously controlling everything to God.
Now, if we start from the premise that God's chief attribute is not control but love, we begin to see a whole different picture. … God, being a God of love, created us for love. Yet for love to be experienced, the objects of that love must be given freedom!
This brings us to the most important question we can ask. There are many things happening that God doesn't want to happen, and yet He does not prevent them from taking place. Why? Remember, we assume that if God wanted to prevent something, He could. After all, God can do anything. …
Can God make you love Him? I'm not asking will He make you love Him. I'm sure we would all agree that He won't make us love Him. But if He wanted to, could He make you love Him? …
Now let's return to our four assumptions. Things are taking place that God wishes would not take place. Then why does He not prevent them? We assume that since He isn't preventing them, He must be wanting them to happen! But He doesn't want them to happen! Could it be that it's not because He chooses not to prevent them, but rather because He can't?
Let me be clear that nothing limits God, or else He would cease to be God. But in choosing to grant us freedom, God has chosen to limit Himself in what He can and cannot do. … Any time God can prevent child molestation and rape, He does! And if He doesn't prevent it, it is not because He wants it to happen (even for a good reason), but that a contradiction between control and free will ties His hands.
I remember a person who was very upset that God could claim to be love and not prevent child molestation. I said, "Why stop there? God should prevent all rapes as well."
She said, "Yes!"
"And," I said, "God should prevent all murders and robberies as well!"
She replied, "Yes, yes!"
Then came the stinger. I said, "God should just prevent all sin!"
Then she understood. There is a delicate balance between control and freedom. Everything that transpires on this planet falls somewhere on a sliding scale between absolute freedom and ultimate control. One day God is going to show us why certain events took place in our lives that He could not prevent.
A lot to think about. If God loves me, then He must grant me freedom to choose rightly or wrongly. When I choose wrongly, it's possible (maybe likely) that I will cause pain and suffering to myself and to others. And as a wise parent will, God will at times allow me to suffer the consequences if it's essential to my learning a critical lesson. Then again, as a loving, wise parent, He will protect me from needless suffering, as long as He can do so without violating someone's free choice.
Here's a question to think about. Does prayer or petitioning God have any effect on whether He can or will protect me from suffering? You might click on the question Does God talk to people? for help with this.
This question of human pain and suffering has another related topic--God's wrath. Does God actually cause some pain and suffering as punishment or for some other reason? To pursue this further, the next question to select from the Questions Cloud would be Does God Get Angry?