Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Essay by Kendab April 2004

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There is no easy answer to this question, because only some of the material we need to answer the question is available to us, but what we do know we will try to share. Only God Himself has the wisdom and understanding to know the whole answer, and He has never attempted to explain it all to us - perhaps because no human could ever fully grasp the enormous amount of information that would involve.

But the charge is often made that God is cruel, or vindictive, because He "allows bad things to happen." Some of these bad things include deaths, diseases, deformities and accidents.

Before we look at these charges, here are three little stories :

1. A child runs away from its parents and out on to the road. The mother runs after the child, grabs it by the arm, smacks, and angrily tells the child not to go that way.

All the child knows is that its personal freedom has been violated, and that its bottom hurts. It begins to cry, while its mother tries to explain about cars, and injury, accidents and death, but the road was clear at the time, so the child thinks its parent is being cruel and vindictive.

2. A child climbs on to its father's bike and pushes away from the wall. The bike wobbles all over the drive and gathers speed, then it crashes into the letterbox and the child is hurt. It angrily kicks the bike and walks back to the house, crying. It thinks the bike is cruel and vindictive.

3. A child sneaks disobediently upstairs and defiantly turns the bath taps on. A flannel blocks the plug so the bath begins to fill. The child goes away, forgetting to turn the taps off . . . an...