The Dilemma of Suffering – Bothwell

Archangel Michael casts out the arrogant angel...

Archangel Michael casts out the arrogant angels. Illustration by Gustave Doré, 1866. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thoughts on a familiar topic are shared by Roger Bothwell, a writer and professor, who I often quote from. You might say I enjoy reading his devotionals. But suffering is something we all know a little about. It can touch us in all kinds of ways, but probably the reason most familiar is after the loss of someone we hold dear. Please read on for his thoughts on the subject.

The problem of suffering has been a philosophical issue since men began to think.  If God doesn’t cause suffering it is obvious that He allows it; otherwise, an omnipotent God would stop it.  If I had a definitive answer to this dilemma I would be ranked with the intellectuals of history.   However, I do believe the issue should be addressed in the context of God and Lucifer contending for the moral high ground in this great struggle between good and evil that began when Lucifer declared war in heaven.  See Revelation 12:7

God in His loving infinite wisdom had established a utopian existence for His created.  It was the best ever imagined existence.  Anything else would be something lesser.  Lucifer’s contention that he had a superior system had to play itself out for all to see the natural fruit of his rebellion.  Here is (for me – with my greatly limited knowledge) the key to the suffering issue:

Should God intervene to the extent of stopping all suffering, the universe would never fully see the natural results of sin and sin could never be ended.  Lucifer would take credit for the suffering-free world and nothing would be resolved.  God, much to His personal pain, suffers with us as this horrible drama unfolds.

 The continuing issue is how much is enough?  Surely after the cross, after the holocaust, after a host of wars and genocides intelligent beings should get the message.  Lucifer runs an evil empire.  Jesus promised He will come again and will bring this to an end. So what is He waiting for?  Enough is enough!  We don’t know.  We are not privy to all the universal issues at stake.  One thing we do know is when everything has been made perfectly clear God will stop this mess.  He will not wait one extra second.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them[a] in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Revelation 12:7-12

And the promise . . .

For as the new heavens and the new earth which I make shall remain before Me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.  Isaiah 66:22


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