A Spirituality blog from our Community

Suffering and Evil

We approached the question of suffering through where we felt we could not see God.

We brainstormed using the following exercise:  “Imagine you are Richard Dawkins’ researcher and are set the task of disproving belief in God by thinking of as many ways things about the world that seem to speak against the existence of God.”

Our suggestions were then fell under two categories:

Natural Evil

  • The destructive nature of Earth: earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, universal chaos

  • Disease / death / pain

  • The law of the jungle / survival of the fittest

  • Suffering of the innocent

Human Evil

  • Injustice, bad ethics

  • Selfishness

  • Arrogance

  • Apathy

  • Bigotry

  • Hypocrisy

  • Broken relationships

  • Disagreements among groups

  • Murder

  • Rape

  • War

  • Infanticide

  • Terrorism

  • Genocide

  • Fundamentalism

> Behind both of them -we argued- there was a radical freedom:

Freedom in the cosmos as an ongoing process of creation through evolution, planet formation/growth etc.

Freedom in humans as part of our ability to be choice-making creatures.

Might God be partly be responsible for ‘making’ this kind of world?

If so what do you think about that?


These issues were discussed further in our workshop on the book of Job.

See the next part of Theology and Doughnuts.


Comments on: "Suffering and Evil" (1)

  1. As a Calvinist, the answer is simple. There is only one innocent, undeserving sufferer who ever lived, and his suffering was voluntary and for our salvation.

    Humans beings are radically depraved from conception to death. Natural evils are a testimony to human wickedness. They are there to warn us, to point us to our need for salvation – human sin is an unimaginably bigger deal than suffering – to think otherwise would be self-centred. It would suggest that we have no regard for the majesty of God.

    A better question might be: “Why isn’t our suffering greater, seeing as all of us deserve so much worse?” The answer would be that God, in his grace, governs the universe and shows incredible kindness towards human beings despite our radical depravity.

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