11:24-32; 12:7-10; Eph. “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, proven character; and . The tough question today is: why does a loving God allow innocent suffering? The academic question of how to reconcile faith in God with the prevalence of suffering is very different than the life of faith itself, where we trust God's heart, even if we cannot understand why things happen the way they do. 12:6). (4) We may suffer persecution because of our faith--especially when we take a stand on biblical issues, i.e., suffering for righteousness sake (2 Tim. “Testing” in this same verse is dokimion which has a similar idea. “It may be cancer or a sore throat. Evans and R. Zachary Manis. But easy, formulaic answers to questions of suffering are invariably reductionistic---and they make bad theology, too. The question we must each face is not, “if” we are going to have trials in life, but how will we respond to them. Also see "Musings about Suffering," "Paradox and Presence," "The Devil's Logic," "A Dangerous Schooling," and "The Power of Hope," on the Hebrew for Christians web site.Addendum:  Please note I am not pretending to have "the answer" as to why we suffer presented here, but I simply wanted to provoke us to think a bit more about this vital subject. Among those of us who trust God and the words of our Lord Yeshua the Savior, however, we are faced with paradox, with mystery, and therefore we must learn to accept that we "see through a glass darkly" (1 Cor. 1:6-7). It is true, however, that rarely does suffering not reveal areas of need, weaknesses, and wrong attitudes that need to be removed like dross in the gold refining process (cf. (1) We suffer because we live in a fallen world where sin reigns in the hearts of men. 6:10f; Ex. was a 1966 graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and a former pastor of 28 years. Start studying Theology Interview questions. 1. 5:3-4). Lewis; "Walking with God through Pain and Suffering," by Timothy Keller; "God, Freedom, and Evil" by Alvin Plantiga; "Pathways in Theodicy: An Introduction to the Problem of Evil" by Mark Scott; "The Many Faces of Evil" by John Feinberg; and "Philosophy of Religion" by C.S. And there is, I think, in a theology of suffering the reality that in the universe there will always be suffering. Ryan's writings on Aquinas here come with a particular point of view in mind. Suffering prepares us for more glory. And that act is for our sakes. To manifest the character of Christ in the midst of suffering as a testimony to win others to Christ (2 Cor. “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him” (Phil. Nevertheless, and this is the problem given in the Book of Job, it is very often the righteous that suffer, while the wicked prosper, and it this breakdown of the principle of "karma" that is most problematic...In the end the question of why creatures suffer may be an unanswerable question, at least at the present time, because we are not omniscient and cannot ascertain the deepest reaches of God's redemptive purposes. Welcome to Reformed Answers! All suffering is not, for instance, a product of our own foolishness, self-induced misery, or sin. If you can't find what you need, submit a new question and we'll put together an answer just for you. 1 Pet. 17:8f). Nevertheless we can make a distinction between evil and suffering, and though we agree that God does not will us evil, he may indeed will that we suffer, if that suffering "upbuilds the soul" or transforms our character to reveal the truth of Christ. 1:3-4). Suffering is merely an illusion in this view. Some people attempt to make suffering "outside" of God's will by denying his omnipotence -- by claiming that God literally cannot overcome evil because he has given moral agents their own sovereign will to choose...  God can't remove evil the way he can't make a square circle or cause 2+2 to equal 5. Suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. Our highest activity must be response, not initiative. Fr. The Chassidic masters must have read Kierkegaard, who called suffering the process of being "educated for eternity." The appearance of reckless animal cruelty poses questions for humanity to be sure; but it also, questions the goodness of God. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 2 (Gal. Ein od milvado (אֵין עוֹד מִלְבַדּו): "there is no power apart from Him" (Deut. Search our database or browse our topically indexed answers to real questions people have sent us. Suffering is designed to cause us to walk by God’s ability, power and provision rather than by our own (2 Cor. On the one hand we unreservedly believe that God is the sole Authority of reality, the Master of the universe who decrees and ordains all things perfectly. “To this [suffering] your were called...” (1 Pet. 1 Peter 4:19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. For once, English theology can claim to have pioneered a major theological development: from about 1890 onwards, a steady stream of English theologians, whose theological approaches differ considerably in other respects, have agreed in advocating, with more or less emphasis, a doctrine of divine suffering. The Chasidic School has said, "Man descends in order to ascend," meaning that the battle with yetzer hara (the "lower nature") is meant to strengthen us and develop qualities that we could otherwise not know. The results God seeks to accomplish with the trials of life requires time and thus also, endurance. God knows the truth conditions of all possible worlds, just as God knows the outcome of all actualized possibilities in the actual world. We may know some of the theological reasons for suffering from Scripture, yet when it hits, there is still a certain mystery. Job's three friends had taken the position that the severity of Job's suffering must be the sign of some grievous sin in his life. The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil and suffering with an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God. Sixthly, eternal suffering must be a part of a theology of suffering: that suffering is a part of the universe forever. Is He both able and willing? 8:28). Some people regard life in this world as a cosmic battlefield and blame the devil for all the suffering and evil we experience. Most times, suffering is a result of sin in a more general sense. 119: Learning and turning (vs. 71, cf. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jam. Suffering provides opportunity for God’s glory, our transformation, testimony, and ministry, etc. 2:14-16). This is one of those big questions which have plagued humanity for centuries. In the design of God, it is also something to make us think. 13:12). 1 Pet. The academic question of how to reconcile faith in God with the prevalence of suffering is very different than the life of faith itself, where we trust God's heart, even if we cannot understand why things happen the way they do. Helpful answers to such questions are not, alas, as common as we might think. Gustavo Gutierrez asks, “Are suffering human beings able to enter into an authentic relationship with God and find a correct way of speaking about God?” This is the core question of this course. (3) We suffer to keep down pride (2 Cor. STUDY. - The Problem of Pain, C.S. 1:3-5). It refers to a test designed to prove or approve. In the process of producing Christian character and enhancing our testimony to others, suffering often opens up doors for ministry we could never have imagined. 1:4). 3:12). Some non-believers adopt a docetic view of suffering, which denies the reality of pain altogether. Wherever there is suffering, there is a battle — a battle for your soul. We will give attention to both the spirituality for a theology of suffering and to the methods for framing a theology of suffering. SELECT QUESTIONS ON THE THEOLOGY OF GOD THE REDEEMER (1995) PRELIMINARY NOTE . While it does offer a biblical theology of suffering, it also has a great deal of … 2. 17:17-24; John 11:1-45). All questions and answers are taken from The Theology Program courses. To experience the love of God in a true, and not an illusory form, is therefore to experience it as our surrender to His demand, our conformity to His desire: to experience it in the opposite way is, as it were, a solecism against the grammar of being." ni? Suffering came into the world at the same time as sin: Through Adam and Eve, and through their sin, pain, suffering, and death were brought into God's good and perfect creation. Is He able, but not willing? To manifest the power of God to others (2 Cor. God "purges" the vine branches; he cuts back and reshapes our growth and direction (John 15:1-8). Psalm 147:5; Isa. To submit a question about the Bible, Christian theology, or Church History, complete and submit the following form. Lewis. A question we should ask: Am I taking care of my body–which was bought at a price–by taking medication or by not taking it? Part of the difference between a "theology of rebellion" and a "theology of hope" is that rebellion is a mode of the intellectual (i.e., a deification of logic, a demand for temporal and this-worldly justice, and so on), whereas hope is a mode of personal trust (i.e., a "letting go" of the demand for answers in order to surrender to love). God’s word clearly shows that suffering is a normal part of the Christian life, especially suffering for Christ. Theology Interview questions. This requires faith in the eternal verities of God. But to know it as a love in which we were primarily the wooers and God the wooed, in which we sought and He was found, in which His conformity to our needs, not ours to His, came first, would be to know it in a form false to the very nature of things. It is one you will want to ponder and pray through, not only for your own life but also for those to and with whom you will give pastoral care. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically. The theodicy question – the question about evil, suffering and guilt in God’s good creation – cannot avoid the question of God itself. To address this question, we must first consider the cause of suffering. It is never easy. (* Indicates a required field.) Trials simply give us the capacity to cooperate with the process (Jam. 11:33). 40:28; Psalm 145:3; Rom. When possible, suffering is to be avoided. If He who in Himself can lack nothing chooses to need us, it is because we need to be needed. 4:4-7), 3. ), Determine Solutions (How does God want me to handle this?). 6:7-9). Suffering provides key opportunities to manifest and magnify the power of God through His servants in order to verify and confirm the messenger and his message. There is no personal higher power. Related Topics: Suffering, Trials, Persecution, Character Study, J. Hampton Keathley III, Th.M. The "free will defense of God" is popular because it permits us to feel outrage over suffering and evil without blaming God. It should be clear that these other approaches are contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture, since God is the God of Truth (אֵל אֱמֶת) who indeed knows the beginning from the end, and indeed God's understanding and power are infinite (Psalm 147:5; Isa. 1.29). It provides opportunities to reveal our credentials as ambassadors of Christ (1 Kings. 4:35,9). "How long, O LORD? The Apostle was undoubtedly continuing to rejoice in the Lord, but if he had been complaining, sulking, and bitter, his witness would have been zero. Non-Christians have offered several answers to this question, and it is helpful to examine some of them since these replies can influence us. (1) We suffer as a testimony, as a witness (2 Tim 2:8-10; 2 Cor. Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider--God has made the one as well as the other so that man may not discover anything that will be after him. 12:5f; 1 Pet. This has both a negative and a positive aspect: (7) We suffer to manifest the evil nature of evil men and the righteousness of the justice of God when it falls in judgment (1 Thess. “Trials” in James 1:2 is the Greek peirasmos and refers to that which examines, tests, and proves the character or integrity of something. Log in Sign up. Whence then is evil?" I’ve been studying theology and philosophy for over half my life, so I’ve encountered many, many different answers to that question. (2) We suffer because of our own foolishness. Blind fate: Che sera sera; what will be will be. Has Christian theology avoided asking questions about suffering that appears to come from God? His promises are secure because God is in control, and God's Name YHVH (יהוה) means that he is the Faithful One who reigns over all states of being and time, in every realm of existence. It’s going to be a battle all the way. In addition to human physical suffering, there is animal suffering, animal suffering brought about by human cruelty – a point eloquently (and perhaps, surprisingly) made in C. S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain. 12:7). If we are going to endure suffering and the trials of life, however, we must also understand and believe in the other purposes and reasons for suffering as they are related to the chief purpose. The empirical philosopher David Hume succinctly put the problem this way: "Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? As a process, it takes time. The book is well documented and offers a Scripture index. There is just blind fate. 1:4). ... wrote for those suffering to show it was the same as jesus suffering. .” (Rom. 1:19f). 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