The problem in its basic form is:
1. God is Good.
2. God is Great.
3. Evil Exists.
If God is good, why does He allow the suffering of the innocent in this world?
If God is great why does He not prevent evil?
Our first discussion was defining the terms evil and suffering.
Evil is anything that opposes God, it is a force or principality; it is the absence of good. Types of evil are: gratuitous evil, horrendous evils, moral evil, and natural evil.
Suffering is the outcome or result of evil. It includes human and animal pain, disease, suffering, and death, especially deaths that are violent, extremely painful or premature. It includes natural disasters, and emotional suffering of all kinds.
The study became less academic and more real when assigned a made up situation of a couple coming to us for counseling over the loss of their niece in the Sandy Hook shootings. They are struggling to understand why God allowed this, why some children lived and their neice did not.
Though this was a pretend situation it was raw and many of us have been in similar curcumstances where people are struggling to find answers. Our small group of four varied in belief; one seeing God responsible for all things including the shooting of children, others of us saw the death as the result of sin in the world and free-will that choose evil.
All of us agreed that we would hold our theological convictions from the couple and share that bad things happen to good people, even children – and we would share tears with them in their great loss. We do not have clear answers for the “Why?” questions.
God is a God who will heal the deepest grief and loss. God the Father, gave His only Son to our world and His Son was brutally treated and murdered on a cross. God understands pain and loss.
But He was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.