Where is God when it Hurts?
In his Gold Medallion Award-winning book, Where is God When it Hurts, Philip Yancey brings forth the very realistic questions and dilemmas about human pain and suffering in this world. If there is a benevolent, loving God, why is then there such a substance called pain in this world? Do they have any specific meaning for human lives? Does God decree and orchestrate every heartbreaking and sobering tragedy in order to convey his divine message to people? Or is God unwilling and unable to cope with the ongoing havoc and chaos caused by evil in this world?
Despite nobody wants pain, there is pain. Are hands of God not long and strong enough to pull his people from the pit of pain? Where was God when six million Jews, God’s chosen people were dumped in the burning oven? Why did God not intervene when those children who did not know right from wrong were thrown into the oven and the surrounding atmosphere was full of human burning smell? Was he watching from the distance? Do these wicked acts of human beings, in fact, not make God the author of evil?
These are the questions that linger in every human mind which is trying to find the unfulfilling answer to these questions. Yancey looks at three distinctive areas of life where pain has affected – physical, emotional, and spiritual. By employing decent numbers of examples from the Bible and his own experiences in life, he helps us to look into this kind of scandalous topic like undeserved pain and suffering and why we suffer. Continue reading Where is God when it Hurts?
Evaluation: “The Problem of Pain” by CS Lewis & “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Rabbi Harold Kushner
The preliminary observation on CS Lewis’ work does not pose one definite position on the problem of pain. He is careful enough not to draw a conclusion based on one proposition. He does not claim that suffering is directly connected, as a judgment from God, to one’s sin. Nor does he assert that God uses pain as a means to bring people to him.
Lewis introduces Divine Goodness before he enters the topic of pain and makes some comments to disclose the possible range of meanings of the word ‘goodness’. He does not simply jump into the conclusion by affirming that righteous suffers. He examines the divine nature of God and his entities. He builds his own world through analogs and set forth how a created being is different than Creator. Continue reading The Problem of Theodicy (III): Evaluation
Summary on ‘Why do the Righteous Suffer?’ in the ‘When Bad Things Happen to Good People’ by Harold Kushner:
Harold Kushner begins this particular chapter with a question: Why do bad things happen to good people? He argues that the pain and suffering caused by the untimely demise of the loved ones inevitably brings doubts about the goodness, kindness, and even more in the existence of God. But people throughout the history have been trying to justify the world’s suffering by holding themselves responsible for the punishment of their sins.
By doing so, people maintain the attributes of God as benevolent, omnipotence, and who is also in control. People are advised to avoid sin and be good. “It is tempting at one level to believe that bad things happen to people (especially other people), because God is a righteous judge who gives them what they deserve. By believing that, we keep the world orderly and understandable.” Nevertheless, their lives are already hurt by tragedy and no religious and pious explanation could comfort them. Continue reading The Problem of Theodicy (II): Rabbi Harold Kushner
Summary on ‘Divine Omnipotence and Divine Goodness’ in ‘the Problem of Pain’ by CS Lewis:
Clive Staples Lewis makes the main point for the Divine Omnipotence and Divine Goodness by addressing the atheistic objection that is solely centered on the noteworthy ineffectuality of the universe. The problem of pain in the simplest form is, “If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.” He proposes that the answer to the problem of pain depends on our understanding of the terms ‘good,’ ‘almighty’ and ‘happy.’
He examines what it really means to say that God is omnipotent. Omnipotence means “all-powerful to do everything.” However, the very nature of God is inherent to his character. So, he cannot revoke his own laws and act self-contradictory. For this reason, God cannot be both righteous and unrighteous (non-contradictory law) at the very same time.
There is a freedom of choice for human beings – a single naked choice, as Lewis says either to love God more than self or love self more than God. This choice certainly has a probability to pave the way to evil. God could have straightened the results of this abuse of free will every time by modifying the effect of the cause; but he did not, because it would violate whole natural order. Continue reading The Problem of Theodicy (I): C.S. Lewis