Last week I talked about the most common theodicy that says, “We suffer because we chose sin.” While there may be some truth to this, the fact is suffering and death existed on the scene before man.
But with this, I hear another common line, which basically goes,
“Suffering is a necessary means to draw us to God.”
In other words, God does us a favor by allowing miscarriages because then we cry out to God. And God does us a favor when we lay our bed crying as a kid because our life is living hell because that draws us to God at a young age. And God does us a favor by allowing diseases because then we want God and want spiritual wellness. And then we really own our faith.
Here’s some sound smart phrases from James and Romans.
We know that suffering produces perseverance.
Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
Because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything
These verses say that suffering has the ability to grow us. (Which we all know that sometimes, yes, we don’t learn crap from suffering, but sometimes we do experience good on the other end. Sometimes ashes stay ashes, but sometimes ashes turn to a crown.) But somehow these verses have gone from “oh, God turns all evil into good sometines” to “evil is necessary.”
Necessary in order to seek God?!! Sometimes I get these vibs from Christians: without suffering ever, ever, ever (aka, if there was no suffering), then we’d all be atheists and no one would want Jesus. So, therefore, God made suffering, so that we want him.
For Pete’s sake, what the heck are the animals learning from suffering?
Look, if we must have suffering so we want God, why the mess do the animals have to suffer too? The animals eat each other, for Pete’s sake. They have no doctors. Yet at the end of the day, it’s just bleak no lessons for them. At the end of the day, mama has to pick back up (without a period just to shut herself off from society) and protect her other babies who were not eaten. There was no “God” lesson for her to learn. Just…it sucks.
So that’s why I say, for God-so-loved-that-he-gave-suffering is a silly argument.
Incidently this is also my beef against the global flood. Supposedly man screwed up the world, and God took out his wrath not only on the people, but also all the animals at the same time. Elephants drowned in the flood? Good gosh, it seems like an over dramatic way to get man’s attention.
Now some people do think the animals are learning hard knocks of life and growing closer to the divine. These people believe in reincarnation. So if you are going to use the line, “evil is necessary because we wouldn’t trust God otherwise,” then gosh, please do me a favor and say, “somehow the animals have a future life of greater awareness.” (Of course, I’d much prefer to be a bird. Just sayin’)
Please do give your thoughts on this. There’s other arguments I haven’t brought up.