Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Suffering - God's Gift to Mankind

One of the most common arguments against the existence of God is that an all powerful and good God would not allow so much evil and suffering to exist. But think what it would be like if no one ever had to suffer. If everything we ever needed was immediately available to us such that we could get whatever we wanted as easily as picking fruit from a tree, then we would be virtually self-sufficient. We would not need anyone else, including God, for anything. In such a world people would soon come to think of themselves as like God or as equal to God.

 Now consider the fact that for there to be many different individuals, each one has to be different in some way from everyone else. Hence, there would have to be different degrees of intelligence, beauty, or strength for there to be different individuals. In such a world, some might think of themselves as better than everyone else. This might lead to them wanting everyone else to honor or even worship them. The most powerful of them might even try to force others to worship them. Some might resist and join with others to fight against those who would try to dominate them. Soon this perfect world with no suffering would become a world of constant conflict or even outright warfare as competing parties sought to impose their will on others.

 I submit to you my conclusion that a perfect world with no suffering is an illusion that cannot possibly exist in reality. Suffering teaches us the truth about who we are. Suffering teaches us that we need God and we need one another both for our existence and our happiness. Suffering is not a good in itself, but it is necessary for us to learn how to love God and our neighbor. Without suffering love is just a word for an emotion that we may or may not feel. It is suffering that forces to love others in deed and in truth. Suffering forces us to make sacrifices for the good of others with the full knowledge that others have made sacrifices for us. Suffering builds relationships that can last into eternity. Apart from suffering there would only exist isolated individuals who would have no opportunity to fully share in the lives of others.

 Suffering is a great gift even if we find it difficult to accept.