Suffering

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Michael Wrenn, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    I heard that when Steve Jobs was young, he asked his pastor if God saw the suffering, starving children of Africa. His pastor said yes, and Steve left the church and did not return.

    An Episcopal priest friend of mine once told me that of all non-believers he had encountered -- not just non-Christians, but atheists and agnostics -- the number one reason for their unbelief was suffering. If there is a God, and He is all-powerful, good, and merciful, why doesn't He do something about suffering, especially suffering of the innocent.

    If someone raised this question and concern with you, how would you answer?

    I know we live in a fallen world, but that doesn't seem to be a sufficient answer or explanation -- if God has the characteristics which we attribute to Him.
     
  2. mandym

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    Trying to find an explanation that satisfies the lost on this matter is a futile endeavor. Spiritual matters and the mind of God is foolishness to the lost. Those who reject Him do so not because of the suffering in the world or any other excuse they come up with.

    People do not come to God because of mental reasoning. Their hearts are convicted and the gospel is received (however the mechanics of that may be). People sin and reject God because that is their heart. No more, no less.

    If we are to win them to the Lord it is best not to allow false arguments and unnecessary distractions. Without being rude or condescending we need to patiently direct them to the heart of the gospel.
     
    #2 mandym, Jan 14, 2012
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  3. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    That is not true; it is a much-oversimplified answer. People had better have a real and reasonable answer that they can present to those who wonder about this issue instead of just brushing it off with such as the above. Believe me, it doesn't satisfy those who are asking the questions. It doesn't, as the Quakers say, "speak to their condition."
     
  4. DHK

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    God is a God of love.
    The reason people like atheists reject God is because of a rebellious heart.

    Juliian Huxley, when speaking of evolution, said this:
    "Do I believe it (evolution) to be credible? No, I don't believe evolution to be credible. I believe in evolution not because it is credible, but because belief in God is far too incredible.

    Huxley, the great promoter of Darwin's theories, remained an atheist because he knew the consequences. If he admitted that Christianity was true, he was honest enough in his heart that he knew he would have to make Christ as his Lord, and he would have to submit to Him as His servant. He was unwilling to do that.
    It was a matter of rebellion.
     
  5. mandym

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    It is very much true as scripture is clear on this:


    Joh 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
    Joh 3:20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
    Joh 3:21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."

    And I never said anything about brushing anything or anyone off. In fact I made just the opposite clear in my original post.
     
  6. The Biblicist

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    God is a God of JUSTICE and the death of infants demonstrate clearly that all mankind sinned when Adam sinned because the whole UNDIVIDED human nature existed and acted in one man's offence and thus "many be dead.... many were made sinners."

    Suffering is first JUST in regard to sin. This is a truth that most reject and will not accept because it places the guilt on man rather than on God. It is more convenient and feels better to put the monkey on God's back and so that is what sinners do.

    Second, in regard to His People God works all things for their ultimate good even though they do not look or feel good. Here is where the case of Job comes in. Job knew he had been born a sinner by nature (Job. 14:1,4) and did not disagree when others made that point (Job. 15:14; 25:3) but he knew he had not presumptuously sinned and therefore could not justify in his own mind why God was allowing these things. However, he came to find out that God had a good purpose for allowing these things which for a while was known only to God. Job sinned in questioning God's wisdom in allowing such things and Job repented of that sin at the close of the book.
     
  7. Michael Wrenn

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    So, no good answers yet. I know what the priest was talking about.

    So again, if someone came up to you and asked, "Why does God watch children in Africa starve and suffer an agonizing death and not do anything about it." How would you answer?

    Sorry, but if Christians want to reach people like Steve Jobs and others, they'd better have some convincing answers.

    The best things I've read on these issues are by Philip Yancey. C.S. Lewis is also good.
     
  8. Christos doulos

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    My friend. I believe part of God's wrath is to allow suffering, but He shows His kindness in allowing suffering also. If God didn't allow suffering we couldn't know what mercy and grace were. Those blessings would be taken away from us.
     
  9. billwald

    billwald
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    Bottom line, God gets a free pass.
     
  10. DHK

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    God made you; he is your creator. Shall the thing made say to the Maker, Why has thou made me thus?
     
  11. Scarlett O.

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    How much of his multi-billions did Steve Jobs spend on buying food for starving children in Africa?

    If he would purposefully and angrily turn his back on God for not feeding the children of Africa and then he dies a multi-billionaire who was known for - at least PUBLICLY - declining charities (we don't know what he did privately), then ..... well, there's a word for that ....

    .... and it starts with an "h".
     
  12. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Could the answer lie in the notion that some on this list believe, in that some are regenerated and therefore can see, and others have not been regenerated and as such the possibility of them seeing is and will always be out of the question to start with? So in reality, maybe God is to blame for the thoughts of Steve Jobs (IF what has been said is really true) and others like him because having not been elected and with no possibility of being regenerated they could not see the truth no matter what you told them. Besides, are you suggesting that one God foreknew to be lost, might have seen the light and been saved if you would have been able to give them answers for their questions? Just wondering how you might respond to my remarks.
     
  13. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    I respond, with no personal disrespect meant to you, that I despise the 5 points of Calvinism and the penal substitution theory of the atonement just as much as I do many things in Roman Catholicism. And I'd have to put Dispensationalism up there, too. I believe these have done untold harm to people inside and outside the church.

    One of my good friends is a Primitive Baptist, but we strongly disagree on Calvinism. I think it is a gross distortion of the character of God and nature of humanity.
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    Are you interested in Biblical answers or "good" answers? Why should we be concerned with having a "good" answer for the African any more than the American affluent mother who lost her child to a rare genetic muscular disease? Does social strata and geographical difference make any difference to death of any child anywhere?

    What difference does it make when and how an infant or toddler dies? Why do babies die period? Isn't it God who appoints the time of death (Heb. 9:27)? Does God provide in the Scriptures more than one reason for death? Certainly, one may argue there is more than one reason why God appoints a specific time for death but one cannot deny there is but one Biblical reason for death (Rom. 5:12).

    Why did God order the Israelites to exterminate infants of the Canaanites? One may argue (as I do) that God is merciful in killing infants, because death denies them the opportunity to mature where they can willfully refuse him and willfully accumulate individual sins to be accountable at the day of judgement, if you believe dying infants are safe from eternal wrath before the age of accountability.
     
    #14 The Biblicist, Jan 15, 2012
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  15. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP:I personally would take issue with the notions I raised in my own post. From your response I would say that you have good reason then why to seek a response for such questions as you ask. You know intuitively that the answers one might give may well direct such an individual to the truth.:thumbs:

    I would try to direct individuals asking such questions as you present involving suffering in the following manner. First do you believe there is a God, and do you believe the Bible is Gods revelation to man? If you cannot get past those with the response as positive affirmations, I would stop there and address those issues for obvious reasons. If there is no God, or if God has not revealed Himself to man via Scriptures, nothing one could say in reality could have any impact.

    If they acknowledge there is a God, and that Scriptures are indeed Gods revelation of truth to man, there is a platform of truth to proceed. I would point out that we are not infinite as God is, and that regardless of what we do know there will always be questions. Therefore I would give close attention NOT to the many questions, but rather to the clear answers given in Scripture concerning God. God says He is Love. If I believe Scriptures are true, I accept that fact first and foremost. I work from things I know of certainty, and when questions arise I cannot still understand, I do NOT change my beliefs concerning those things I know absolutely, but rather allow questions to remain unsolved until such a time God might reveal to me an answer.


    I believe it was Algernon Sydney that stated something like this. True fortitude of knowledge consist in not allowing the things we do not know to confuse the things we know with certainty.

    I well may not have the answers for all of ones questions especially in this world, but I do have some unshakable truth to offer that we can place our trust in while we wait for answers to the many perplexing questions we all have. God is love! God cares for us in our present state, and He is doing all He can wisely do for each one of us. We are also co-workers together with God. God also is working in and through us and supports our efforts to do good to the suffering of others, and praises us, and will reward us, as we act as His hands and feet in this present world.

    In short, direct the conversation to things we can be assured of, and do not allow questions to deter us from our love for God or to question His character due to our limited finite understanding.

    This well may not be the answer or even direction you desire to hear, but I am only trying to give you from my heart my finite response to the tough questions of suffering you ask. Allow others to see God through the prism of our faith and trust in Him!
     
    #15 Heavenly Pilgrim, Jan 15, 2012
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  16. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Job neither said or implied any such thing. He was not speaking of being a sinner from birth as you wrongly read into the text, but rather was simply pointing out that a frail dying human can produce nothing other than a frail dying human. His emphasis was on the physical malady of the physical flesh and in no wise was addressing his remarks to any such notion or concept of being a 'sinner by nature' as Biblicist, wrongfully and without just cause, reads into the text.

    You having a presupposition of original sin does not imply all others have such a presupposition. The Jews never believed for a minute that all are born sinners. The notion of original sin, or being born with a 'sinful nature' as you suggest, had absolutely no place in Jewish theology whatsoever.

    Before anyone suggests for a minute that I am trying to derail this thread, for I am NOT, be reminded that when some, as Biblicist has done by his post, decide to inject their false presuppositions into a thread, others are certainly open to challenge such false injections in a debate.
     
  17. The Biblicist

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    The death of infants is the issue. Job completely confirms that infants are sinners by nature when born and you can rant and rave all you like but it does nto change the text or context from what it clearly and explicitly teaches. However, we already have a thread dealing with this so lets take it over there.
     
  18. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: The text says no such thing Biblicist. He is addressing the physical depravity of man, and NOT confirming as you imply that infants are born sinners.

    Now, if you want to take this elsewhere, fine with me, but if you continue to post false notions here, I will debate them here, .....and over on the other thread as well. :thumbs:
     
  19. billwald

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    >God made you; he is your creator. Shall the thing made say to the Maker, Why has thou made me thus?

    Yes, because God made us as self-aware critters. We take better care of our pets than God seems to take care of his humans. Of course, maybe everyone gets their pie in the sky, by and by.

    It occurred to me that Jesus could have prevented thousands of Christians from killing other Christians if he had said, "This bread represents my body" instead of "This is my body."
     
  20. DHK

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    The blood of the killing of the innocent will always be on their hands, and someday they will stand before God and receive their just reward.

    We were made by God, have been unfaithful to him; deserve nothing from him, and yet he sacrificially loved us. That is grace. He doesn't have to; isn't obligated to us in any way, but loves us any way. That is love and grace. We have nothing to complain about.
     

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