The first issue I want to address is evil and suffering in the world and why it is present. This is a heavy loaded question that I divided into smaller questions to help you process your thoughts.
Where do our morals come from?
Everyone has their own views of right and wrong and what is morally correct. You can’t tell an atheist that they don’t have morals because everyone is instilled with their view of what is good or evil because we are human and have a conscience. The main difference from an non-religious person to a religious person (not just Christianity itself) is that non-religious people cannot justify their morality. For example sake, Christians turn to the Bible, Muslims turn to the Quran, etc. Religious people have a holy book they can turn to for answers. It does not mean non-religious people are not moral, it just means that their view is based on their own opinions. Therefore, based on their point of view, you question why does their opinion matter more than someone else’s opinion? What makes your opinion right and not Hitler’s opinions wrong? You may say, “It’s because killing and mass murdering millions of people is wrong”. Yet, we ask how do you know that killing is wrong? Where did you get that idea of killing being evil or wrong? I’ll conclude by saying there must be good and evil to know what is moral and immoral. There must also be a someone or a something that determines that moral law. As a Christian, my morals come from the God of the Bible. Therefore, I will continue the next set of questions using God.
Does God exist if evil is in the world?
There are people that say that God cannot exist if there is evil in the world because God is supposed to be all-loving, all-powerful and all-knowing. This statement state that God should be able to know when we are suffering and love us enough to get rid of our suffering before or during the pain. People conclude that there is suffering in the world because God doesn’t care about us and lets us suffer (not loving) or God does care but can’t stop our suffering (not powerful) or God cannot see infinitely and isn’t able to save us from present or future suffering (not all-knowing). People think that since God is not taking us out of our suffering, he doesn’t exist because he is obligated to take us out of our suffering. However, God is all-loving, all-powerful and all-knowing but humans are not. God can see everything. Humans cannot. God can take us into places of suffering and death yet God also knows our present and future. If we trust in Him, he will guide us through our trials and our trials will be easier knowing that we can depend on Him. For Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He wants us to cast all our cares on him and He’ll take care of us.
What is free will?
God created humans with free will. He did not program us with a set of morals we had to follow. Therefore, humans would not have the freedom to think on their own. (God did not want us to just follow Him blindly, He wanted us to follow him wholeheartedly.) Due to our freedom to explore what is right and wrong ourselves, people had a mixed sense of moral and immoral beliefs. Consequently, some cultures may justify killing and rape as morally acceptable. Thus, many “good” people fall victim to human act of violence.
Why would God let good people suffer?
I put “good” in quotation marks because based on the Bible, we are all sinners striving to be like Jesus/God. Therefore, no one is actually “good” or perfect. Jesus was the only one perfect because He was God. No one but Jesus is exempted from sin because no one has followed The Law truly. Therefore, if we are all sinners, what gives us the right to not suffer? Shouldn’t we all be punished for our sins? Why has God not killed us all right now? Shouldn’t we all deserve to die? The answer is no. God loved us so much to save us from our sins if we accept that Jesus died for our sins and rose again. He sent Jesus to die for our sins. God does care about us and our suffering or else he wouldn’t have sent us a saviour, Jesus, to rescue us.
But why aren’t Christians exempted from suffering?
As Christians, we are still sinners and are imperfect beings but we have accepted God’s gift of salvation for us. We are not exempted from suffering because we live in a world that is still broken and full of sickness and violence. However, Christians approach suffering with hope and trust that our Heavenly father will get us through our trials. Submit to God yourself, pray and ask God for everything and you will receive. For Matthew 7:7-8 state, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” In addition, Isaiah 65:24 state, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” God is listening to your prayers and knows your every thought: good, bad, happy or sad. Trust God and He will bring you out of your suffering and bless you.
I hope this helps you! If you have any comments/suggestions, please write it in the comments section. I’m not the best writer so take it easy on me.
Part 2 will come soon.