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Question

 

Gramps,

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Not just by the hands of others but also in nature like people starving to death or killed and suffering some other ways by the hands of nature not because of the agency of other people.

cleardot.gifBrittney

 

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Answer

 

Brittney,

A famous rabbi once said, “In order to prove the existence of God, the believer must answer the question ‘why do bad things happen to good people’. The unbeliever must answer everything else.” He was speaking perhaps in hyperbole, but he makes a good point. Before we go any further Brittney I want to tell you this question has been baffling believers since the dawn of time. Virtually all believers in God will admit to doubting His existence-after all, when you see a child with cancer or hear about a horrible crime being committed, how could you not?  Like you mentioned, even nature seems to be cruel at times. We read about hurricanes killing people in Florida. Tsunamis in Japan where thousands of people pass away. The world, at times, can be a very cruel place.

You differentiate between acts committed “by the hands of other people” and “acts of nature”. You are very wise Brittney. Evil committed by fellow humans is tragic, but it’s easier to comprehend than suffering brought on by nature. Simply put, some people will always choose to commit evil acts rather than good ones. Someone who loses their temper and punches another person in the nose is committing an evil act-they could have chosen to control themselves and not inflict harm on another person. It doesn’t have to be physical pain. We’ve both head stories about people acting inappropriate with their sexual choices and causing great pain to their spouses, families and children. When presented with a good and bad choice, we need to accept that some people will choose the wrong one. Innocent people will always suffer at the hands of people who make poor choices.

Speaking of innocent people, let’s remember that technically speaking, no one is innocent. We are all sinners and we all fall short of the law of God. Every single human of a certain age no matter if you believe in God or not, still falls short of His moral law. That doesn’t mean that all people always make bad choices of course. Most humans make a mixture of good and bad choices. Rare is the person who only makes good or bad choices all the time.

We live in a fallen world. If humankind never originally rebelled, nature would be very different. There would be no natural disasters. The lion would lay down with the lamb. Animals wouldn’t attack one another and humans would not consume them-there would be no suffering, and that includes no suffering inflicted on animals. One can only imagine what paradise in the Celestial Kingdom will look like Brittney, but we know that there will be no suffering of any kind.  All of our questions about this world will be answered.

Logically Brittney, I hope this answer helps out to some degree. Emotionally though, I know how hard it is. We see the effects of famine, war, hurricanes, earthquakes-and our heart breaks. Your compassion towards the suffering of people is incredibly admirable, and I thank you for inspiring me. Don’t ever lose that Brittney. You are in my prayers.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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