Table of Contents
- Free Will and the Genetic Nature of Sin
- A World Without Suffering Is A World Without Free Will
Religion in relation to the world tends to raise many questions especially in its controversial teachings of how the world works in contrast with the existence of science. In Christianity, we have something resembling that of an omnipotent and benevolent deity that the bible teaches is gracious, righteous and full of compassion. But if such a powerful compassionate being exists, then why does he allow evil and suffering to exist in the world he so loves? Majority opinion seems to be that through this question, we can infer that God simply does not exist. Logically speaking, there wouldn't be a reason for God to not eliminate all the evil, suffering, and sins in this world so that everyone could live a utopian life comparable to that of Adam and Eve. People think that because of this, god just doesn't exist if he really does loves us as much as the bible claims. But this status quo thinking doesn't account for what the bible has to say nor the sole cause of sin mentioned in it. Though a majority opinion, the lack of concrete trustworthy evidence and sources means we should not consider this as an answer to why god allows evil and suffering to exist.
Free Will and the Genetic Nature of Sin
One arguable alternative to the question suggests that God allowed evil and suffering to exist because man had initially disobeyed God and brought sin upon themselves. In the opening chapters of the bible, God had warned Adam and Eve that "from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [they] shall not eat, for in the day that [they] eat from it [they] will surely die' (New International Version, Genesis 2:17). I chose this source because it gives context for the alternative. God had given them a choice, but from the freewill given to them, Adam and Eve chose the path that employed the consequences of sin. Sin brought evil, disease, and death and thus all the suffering and bad things we see in life today. From this, I realized that God had simply given man freewill to make decisions and it had been man themselves that had allowed sin to exist. In this way of thinking, it also easily suggests a contrary viewpoint that is equally as hard to answer as our original question. Why should the lives of billions and future generations be affected by the sin and suffering they did not commit or deserve? Why was it that all humans were removed access from the tree of life because of decisions they never made? The bible source fell short in answering these questions so I took a new direction in research. In Milton's Paradise Lost, Adam asks an extremely similar question and immediately answers "But from me what can proceed, but all corrupt, both Mind and Will depraved?" (Milton 825). What makes this quote so important is that it says sin is basically a genetic inherent disease that all of man will come to inherent and follows the presumption that God let sin exist so that all of man and future generations would inherent this but also the free will he had initially given to Adam and Eve.
A World Without Suffering Is A World Without Free Will
From the new direction of the previous alternative, it connects directly with my second alternative to the question stating that God allowed evil, suffering and sin to allow free will to continue to exist and to allow man to experience true relationships with him. In an interview with Pastor Randall Johnson, he talked about how God gave Adam and Eve the option of disobeying him in order to build relationship because he loved them and wanted love in return. Without the free will, there could be no true love and no genuine relationship formed. If he had simply just removed suffering and sin, he would be removing our free will and making humans unnecessary. I chose to interview him because of his status as pastor and of the perspective and knowledge he had that would differ from the majority or non-Christians. This source was dependable because it made sense logically as well as was concise, easy to understand and directly answered my question. Though for this alternative, it uses biblical references and knowledge to answer the question which is quite the drawback in that most of the answers have been based off biblical knowledge. In an article from The Atlantic, Chris Brodenner lists and discuses the perspectives of many different people on the topic of why an all loving, powerful god would allow suffering. In one of the perspectives discussed, it rhetorically asks "what humanity would be if God didn't allow suffering" (Bodenner). It then discusses that the only answer is that humanity would be less free, he explains that "to prevent suffering, God would have to remove our ability to make evil choices" (Bodenner). And furthermore, he would have to remove our free will to make any choices at all. It concludes that a world without sin and suffering would be a world where humanity has no free will, it would not be a utopia but more of a totalitarianism. I chose to use this source because it provided insight on different perspectives and one of the perspectives supported this possible answer. At this point, I am not sure what the correct answer is to the question, all of these sources fall short of expectation in providing a single absolute answer and leads me to wonder if I should look for more alternatives.
To conclude, the question of why god allows suffering and sin in this world to exist could possibly not have a definite answer. All alternatives seem like that of good theories but cannot be proven with the lack of solid evidence and the answer to this question also seem to be extremely controversial even among Christians themselves.