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The best explanation I've yet read about why God allows suffering and

horrible things to happen to good people . . . .
Many Christian authors, in response to this divine silence, have encouraged
us to find peace with what C.S. Lewis famously called, in his work of the same
name, “the problem of pain.” Lewis encourages us to trust, when we can’t
find the eyes of God, “that love may cause pain to its object, only on the
supposition that the object needs alteration to become fully lovable.”
Tragedies of this nature are simply the result of those in a sinful world being
“conformed to the image of His Son,” to use Saint Paul’s language from
Romans 8, Lewis states.
http://thefederalist.com/2015/08/28/how-to-find-answers-for-the-virginiashooting/
My response to any atheist who asks why a good God would allow so many
people to suffer such horrible endings is this: God must allow evil to exist in
order to bring about a greater good because of Original Sin. The only way
God could help us overcome that and reach Heaven one day is if He allows us
to use our free will, which means some of us will use it to harm and even kill
others.
Why would God allow His own Son to die on the Cross? For the exact same
reason. To bring about our salvation and to defeat evil, Jesus had to allow evil
to have a temporary victory, which was the fruit of the Original Sin and
Satan's successful attempt to get man to disobey God. If God's own Son, who
was perfect and innocent, had to die such a gruesome death, we can be sure
we're gonna experience our own suffering in this life, some more than others.

post replyThe best explanation I've yet read about why God allows suffering
and horrible things to happen to good people
from wedgeomatic via /r/Catholicism/ sent 7 hours ago
I don't think the "Problem of Evil" is a real problem at all.
1.) The reason why evil exists is clearly laid out in Scripture. We even put it at
the beginning, just so no one would miss it. The issue is further clarified in
the Book of Job. I'd ask anyone suggesting that the "Problem" does exist to
first offer an account of why the traditional account is unsatisfactory.
2.) The standard PoE typically goes something like this:
An omnibenevolent, omnipotent God would not allow evil to exist
Evil exists
Thus, there is no omnibenevolent, omnipotent God
I have no idea why on Earth we should accept the first premise of that
argument. It doesn't strike me as at all reconcilable with the understanding of
God or Goodness that is most common in Christianity (and even pre-Christian
philosophy), and which is dogmatically expressed in Catholicism. I'd ask the
advocate of the PoE to first explain why the traditional account is insufficient

and why their alternative account of God and the Good is correct.
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cantenucci04[S] 1 point a minute ago
But isn't the point that there is indeed and always will be a problem of Evil as
long as man is on this Earth because we live in a fallen world? As long as
Satan has power, which God has allowed him to have to some degree, He'll
continue to wreak havoc on the lives of humans who either don't believe he
exists or don't believe he has any influence on our lives. That's what C.S.
Lewis's Screwtape Letters was all about.
Also, as long as there are bad people in the world there will be a problem of
evil because bad people do evil things and oftentimes there's nothing we can
do to stop them unfortunately. We can't take away their free will and neither
can God, because that would make us slaves to Him and He made sure that
will never be the case.
We know why evil exists, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem. As the
Virginia shooting shows us, it's clearly a problem. Maybe you're referring to
the atheist argument against the existence of evil, which is entirely different
from what the author of the article was talking about.
Of course I agree that we shouldn't accept the argument you laid out, but
again, that doesn't mean that evil isn't a problem, it just means that the
atheist argument against it's existence has no basis in logic or reality.
If evil weren't a problem there'd be no struggle for our salvation and Jesus
wouldn't have had to die on the Cross for our sins. We know that in the end
God wins and Satan loses, the Bible makes that clear. But that doesn't mean
we get a free pass to Heaven. We still have to overcome our own evil
tendencies and the lies of the Evil One himself. In the Garden of Eden there
was no problem of evil until Satan showed up and tricked Adam into
committing the Original Sin. Ever since then we've had a problem of evil, and
will until Jesus returns.
post replyThe best explanation I've yet read about why God allows suffering
and horrible things to happen to good people
from discussion_account01 via /r/Catholicism/ sent 9 hours ago
I don't know. To me, your response just sounds like a re-hash of the same
argument that I've already heard. By and large, of course. the first paragraph
of it does bring something new to the problem of evil debate which I haven't
heard.
Let's take a look at the purpose of Original Sin. This response seems to
contend that Original Sin exists to purify us and make us worthy of heaven.
An obstacle to overcome. However, when God first created man, we WERE
worthy of heaven. There was never a need to purify us. It's only after the
apple incident that we had to worry about Original Sin.
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cantenucci04[S] 1 point just now
Original Sin wasn't a response to our need for purification. Rather, it's

because of Original Sin that we need the purification.
Suffering as a result of that Sin, which is either allowed or ordained by God
(He has two wills, permitting and ordaining), is what purifies us and makes us
worthy of Heaven, but ONLY if we accept it and use it to bring ourselves
closer to God.
It seems that you answered your own question though. It's only because of
Original Sin that we need purifying, before that, there was no need for it.
That's also when evil entered the equation and thus, why we need the proper
perspective about the problem of evil, which is what the article I linked to
provides.

post replyThe best explanation I've yet read about why God allows suffering
and horrible things to happen to good people
from mattempirelic via /r/Catholicism/ sent 12 hours ago
Not a Christian, and not looking to mock or argue. I just want to ask a
question. It is shown that when times were bad, God has had no problem with
just wiping the slate clean, whether it was Sodom and Gomorrah, or with the
great flood. Things now are as bleak as ever, and people are worse than they
ever could be. It is a sin to worship false gods, but we live in a world today
with many different religions and beliefs and so many other evils in the world.
Why does God choose to not start new again and choose someone worthy to
repopulate and spread His word?
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cantenucci04[S] 1 point just now
The questions you ask are good ones and legit. Indeed, I would argue that in
our modern world more people worship false gods than ever before in history,
with the rise of technology and materialism.
That's why in the Bible Jesus says to be vigilant: "You also must be ready, for
the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Lk 12:40)."
When that day comes, all the people who are worshiping false gods will be
punished for their idolatry. This is what the Bible says about that
time . . . .https://ahessblog.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/10-things-jesus-reallysaid-about-his-return/
You mentioned the flood, and it's true that God chose to wipe out most of the
Earth's population at that time, but after the flood He said, "The LORD
smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the
ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human
heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures,
as I have done."
As a Catholic, I believe that God will start new again, when Jesus returns to
the Earth at His second coming. This is all described in detail in the Book of
Revelations, it's very illuminating and I urge you to read it if you haven't
before.
But until that time, it's up to my fellow Christians and I to spread His Word
and try to save as many souls as possible.

post replyThe best response you'll see to the Virginia shooting, and an answer
to why God allows good people to suffer and even die unjustly
from bigcombination via /r/Catholic/ sent 15 hours ago
Maybe I'm misunderstanding this, but that seems more like an explanation of
how than why. I don't understand why a
omnipotent/omniscient/omnibenevolent God would operate this way. It seems
to me (and I could certainly be wrong) that this conception of God's plan
seems to imply that He either isn't omnipotent or isn't omnibenevolent.
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cantenucci04[S] 1 point just now
I think in many cases the how is self-evident in terms of how God allows
people to suffer. The article explains the why behind suffering, which atheism
has no answer for.
God would operate this way because He gave us free will. He could've
decided not to give us free will, but then we would be forced to love and
worship Him, and that's slavery, not true love.
God knew long before He created us that in order for us to truly love Him and
have a relationship with Him, we would need to be free to decide whether or
not that's what we truly wanted and were willing to sacrifice everything for.
That's what faith is all about and why God constantly tests our faith through
suffering. If God revealed everything to us, then there'd be no need for faith
and therefore no need to test that faith through suffering. But we need faith
because that's how we build trust in God and dont' take Him for granted,
which is our human nature.
The fact that we have free will means bad people will always do bad things to
good people, which makes the world a messy place to live in. But that's what
we created with our Original Sin. That was our choice, not God's. God created
the Garden of Eden and a perfect world for us, He never intended for it to be
this way, but He had no choice but to allow us to mess it all up, out of love for
us He had to sit back and watch it all unfold because He couldn't force us to
obey Him.
We chose to disobey, which is what Adam did when he listened to Satan in
the Garden, and the consequences of that decision have rippled down
throughout the ages. But make no mistake, God is omnipotent and all-good,
that has to be true in order for Him to have created the entire universe and to
create Heaven so that we could share in His joy and bliss for all eternity if we
choose to follow Him and His teachings.
He didn't have to create us, He was just fine before we ever existed because
He always existed. But He chose to create us out of love, because He knew
we would want to exist. That's just one explanation, I'm sure there are more,
which are only known to God, that's part of the mystery of life and something
we'll only know if we get to Heaven someday.

comment replyThe best response you'll see to the Virginia shooting, and an
answer to why God allows good people to suffer and even die unjustly
from bigcombination via /r/Catholic/ sent 3 hours ago
show parent
Atheism isn't supposed to have an answer for why we suffer, it's not a belief
system. I don't know why we suffer.
I don't think your answer clears up my confusion about the Christian claim
either though. I can't reconcile omnibenevolence with the creation of souls
which God (omnipotent) knows will be damned for eternity. Bestowing free
will to souls, so that some might burn forever (as God must know they will) ,
seems crueler even than enslavement to God or non-existence, IMO. The idea
of God creating a soul with the foreknowledge that that particular soul will
eventually make choices which lead it to eternal punishment is hard for me to
wrap my mind around.
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cantenucci04[S] 1 point a minute ago
To the contrary, atheism is indeed a belief system. It's a belief that God
doesn't exist, just like Christianity is a belief that God does exist. Neither have
proof one way or the other, which means both rely on faith for their beliefs.
The only difference is atheists refuse to admit that they rely on faith as much
as Christians do, just faith in something other than God.
Let me try to clear up the point about God being all-knowing and all-good.
Here's how you reconcile the fact that God creates souls who He knows in
advance will end up in Hell for all eternity:
He gives each one of us a choice about what we want in this life, we can
either choose Him, in which case we'll be rewarded for all eternity with
Heaven, or we can choose to live for ourselves and not recognize His infinite
justice and mercy, never repenting of our sins, and never acknowledging
God's supremacy over the universe and of our lives. In the Bible Jesus says
this is the one unforgivable sin, the sin against the Holy Spirit. God forgives
all other sins, even the worst ones like murder and rape, if the sinner repents
and changes his or her ways. But God can't forgive the sinner who refuses to
repent because that would be going against that person's free will, and that's
something God would never do. He loves us too much to take that away,
knowing that that would be akin to slavery.
God doesn't send anyone to Hell. Every soul that is in Hell now or will be
there in the future is there by his or her own choosing. God created Hell
because there had to be a place to go for all the people who He knew would
reject Him, just as Satan and 1/3 of the angels had. They chose themselves
over God, therefore they could no longer occupy Heaven since Heaven was
only meant for those who would worship God, not themselves.
Hell is the absence of God, and it's freely chosen. That's why Satan said "I will
not obey". He knew exactly what he was doing and what the consequences of
that choice would be. We have that same choice in this life, and God helps us
make that choice by giving each of us a conscience that helps us know wrong
from right. We can either strengthen that conscience by the actions we take
and the people we surround ourselves with, or we can allow it to decay to the
point where we're morally numb. But that again is a choice we make.

God doesn't want any soul to end up in Hell, but He can't force us to love
Him, therefore He can't force any of us to come to Heaven after we die, we
make that choice by how we live our lives and by whether or not we ignore
God's voice in our lives from childhood to death.
God created each one of us and actually sent His Son to die on the Cross so
we could have a chance at eternal life with Him in Heaven. He left the rest up
to us. That's the opposite of cruel. A cruel God would either force us to
worship Him like a king or send some of us to Hell because we offended Him
with our sins, and refuses to forgive us for that offence.
But that's not the God I worship. The God I worship will forgive any sin except
the sin of complete rejection of Him and His mercy and justice, and putting
oneself above God.
He gives us the freedom to choose between Heaven and Hell, all we have to
do to avoid Hell is try our best to follow His teachings according to the
amount of knowledge we've been given, and be the best person we can be.
As Jesus said, "to whom little is given, less is expected, but to whom much is
given, much is expected."
I agree that it's hard to wrap one's mind around God knowing a soul will end
up in Hell but still creating that person, but that's because of our limited
brains. God doesn't think the way we do cause He isn't limited by senses and
finite things as we are. That's why there are so many mysteries in the
universe and always will be. We'll never understand the mind of God until we
get to Heaven.

comment replyThe best response you'll see to the Virginia shooting, and an
answer to why God allows good people to suffer and even die unjustly
from bigcombination via /r/Catholic/ sent 14 hours ago
show parent
"He can't force any of us to come to Heaven after we die"
Then he isn't omnipotent is he? Or, if he just doesn't want to, doesn't he lack
omnibenevolence?
How is it more good to doom a soul which has freely chosen wrong to hell
than to forgive it? Why doesn't God's forgiveness extend to souls damned by
their freely made choices?
About atheism being s belief system, it's definitely not. It's simply the
rejection of the claim that God(s) exist, period. There's a bunch of belief
systems that are atheistic, but atheism itself is not a system of beliefs.
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cantenucci04[S] 1 point just now
You misunderstood me. What I meant when I said He can't force anyone to
come to Heaven is that He's already decided not to do that because He
honors our free wills, so He can't go against His own will. It's not because He
doesn't have the power to force us to come to Heaven. He could force every
human on Earth to come to Heaven right now if He wanted, but He would
never do that because that violates our free wills. We have to choose Heaven,
which leaves Him powerless in that sense, but only powerless in that specific

instance because He chooses to be.
It's the same reason He allowed His Son to die on the Cross. Jesus Himself
said He could've had angels take Him away and never allow His death to
happen, but He went through with it because it was necessary for our
salvation. Your point is exactly the point the thief on the cross next to Jesus
made, which is "if you're God, you can come down from that cross, you have
the power to save yourself, why don't you?" Jesus' answer is that although He
is all-powerful, sometimes He's chosen not to use that power because He has
to allow events to play out the way they're meant to play out. But just not
using one's power doesn't mean one doesn't have that power.
It's the same reason why He doesn't remember the sins we've repented of.
Church teaching says that God literally doesn't remember those sins of ours
that He's forgiven. Why? Because He's chosen to forget them, not because
He doesn't have the ability to remember everything, which He does.
God wants every soul in Heaven with Him, but He only wants us to be there if
we want to be there and freely choose it. If you think about it, it's the same
way we would interact with a family member or spouse on Earth. When we
start a relationship with a woman for example, we want them to love us
because we love them, but we don't wanna force them to love us or put
pressure on them to do so because that's not true love. We want them to
freely choose to love us and have a relationship with us. It's the same thing
with God.
God doesn't doom any souls. They doom themselves by making the
conscious choice to reject Him for all eternity. God can't forgive a soul who
refuses to accept His forgiveness, that's just logic. He can't forgive someone's
sins when the sinner refuses to repent or admit that they committed the sins
in the first place. Those are the souls who end up in Hell.
[–]SapphireMage 1 point 1 day ago
I don't necessarily agree with all of what you were saying. The theological
debate about the existence of suffering in a world created by a perfect, loving
God is a very complex one. Your argument is that God gives more suffering to
some than to others in life because the people who suffer more receive a
greater reward in heaven. By this logic it seems that God has chosen
beforehand who will receive the most reward since no one chooses to be born
rich or poor. It really almost sounds like predestination. Not to mention,
suffering is not proportional to holiness. You also have to take into account
the fact that wealth can a burden to a person's soul. When Christ spoke of the
first being last he did not neccessarily mean the rich. A person can be poor or
suffering but still give into hedonism and pleasure. A person can have health
and wealth but still devote themselves to God. Why then, do some people
suffer more than others? There are multiple arguments for this which often
are too complex for me. If you want to see some of these arguments you
could try reading The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis. He's not Catholic, but
much of his argument is relevant to Catholic theology. I sympathize with your
pain, but I think you need to delve deeper into the reasons for it. I think it
would be beneficial and rewarding.
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[–]cantenucci04[S] 1 point just now
Your argument is that God gives more suffering to some than to others in life
because the people who suffer more receive a greater reward in heaven.
That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that God gives some people more
suffering, but that doesn't mean he chose them beforehand to receive a
greater reward in Heaven. What it means, I believe, is that He's just given
those people, like me, a greater opportunity to receive that reward, but only if
we choose to use that suffering to do His will and become closer to Him. So
we have to work hard for that reward, it isn't just handed to us in a
predetermined sort of way.
As it turns out, most people don't do that. They complain about their suffering
and do everything in their power to relieve it instead of offering it up to God
and using it to become humble and destroy their ego, which is necessary in
order to have a strong relationship with God.
Now, as to why God chooses some people to suffer much more than others,
that's a mystery we'll never understand in this life, just like we'll never know
why God favored some of the saints. Why did He speak directly to them and
not us? Why did He give some of them the stigmata or other trials and not
us? We'll never know, but we do know that suffering can bring us closer to
God, if we let it.
Trust me, I've thought long and hard about why I have my pain and suffering.
I've examined it from every angle and reason. But in the end, the reasons
don't matter. All that matters is that I use it for the glory of God and focus on
Him, not myself.
I actually posted recently on another subreddit about the problem of
suffering, and the article I posted mentioned the very book you mentioned,
the Problem of Pain by CS
Lewis. . . .
.https://www.reddit.com/r/Catholic/comments/3iqc3n/the_best_response_youll
_see_to_the_virginia/ I intend to read it when I get a chance, I'm sure it'll be
helpful and illuminating for me in my condition.
One last point. To go back to what you were saying about wealth, yes, one
can be devout and wealthy, but it's much harder because wealth and
possessions focus one's attention on this life and not the next, and distract us
from God. That's why Jesus specifically mentioned that problem and
addressed wealthy men in the Bible. It's not the only factor in terms of the
first being last in Heaven, but it's a big one.

[–]Jedinak8413 1 point an hour ago
You cannot be given free will. If we we are all made in gods image therefore
god is in some part evil. Anyone who doesn't think god is evil and bloodthirsty
hasn't read the old testament. You are a slave my friend. You live your life
according to a book written thousands of years ago in another language,
limited to one small section of the universe. Obsurd
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[–]cantenucci04[S] 1 point a minute ago
I'm sorry but you lack a basic understanding of theology in general and
particularly Christian theology. Of course we can be given free will, just as we
were given the brains to use those free wills. We are merely creatures, God is
the Creator, He had the choice to design us any way He pleased and to allow
us to be free and think for ourselves, or to make us slaves to Him. Everything
is a gift from God, including our free wills, nothing is ours except how we
choose to live our lives with what He's given us.
Being made in God's image has nothing to do with good and evil. God created
Satan, along with all the other angels, some of whom chose not to worship
Him, so does that make God evil too? Of course not. Satan chose to worship
himself over God, and God allowed him to do so because He gave all of His
creatures a free will.
You have it upside down. We are made in God's image, we didn't make God in
our image.
If you read the Old Testament and concluded that God is evil and bloodthirsty
then you didn't interpret it correctly. First of all, many of the stories in the Old
Testament are figurative, not to be taken literally. Secondly, parts of it were
written for a different group of people who had a different understanding of
God and life in general. Third, in the parts that allude to God wiping out entire
groups of people, those people were evil and were going to Hell anyway. God
never punishes people in the Old Testament who are innocent, His
punishment is reserved for those who deserve it because they rejected Him
and refused to repent of their sins, even though He gave them chances to, as
He does to all of us.
Finally, I noticed you chose to focus only on the Old Testament and ignore the
New Testament. This is a common strategy non-believers use to discredit the
Christian faith, and it doesn't work because the New Testament is
inconvenient for them and contradicts their image of an angry and vengeful
God. Jesus preached mercy, forgiveness, and loving one's enemy.
What seems like a dichotomy between Old and New Testaments is actually
not that complicated. The Old was directed at the ancient Hebrews and
focused more on God's justice, although there were plenty of references to
His mercy as well. The New was directed at both Jews and Gentiles and
focused more on God's mercy, although it talks plenty about His justice as
well.
God has both infinite justice and infinite mercy, they coexist together. This is
hard for many people to understand, but it's true nonetheless. It means that
everyone will be punished for every one of their sins, but they will also be
forgiven for all of those sins if they repent of them, and be rewarded with
eternal life in Heaven, even though we deserve eternal damnation.

comment replyThe best response you'll see to the Virginia shooting, and an
answer to why God allows good people to suffer and even die unjustly
from Jedinak8413 via /r/Catholic/ sent 41 minutes ago

show parent
You're cherry picking what suits your arguement. The story of original sin is
from the old testament yet you're using it as an historical document. As for
the new testament, god sacrifices his son which trumps anything in the old
testament in terms of wickedness. Your interpretation is simply that, YOUR
interpretation. How dare you be so egotistical as to say that I am being
ignorant. You've explained that jesus had to die due to original sin causing
people to become evil and forgiveness of their sins would be the result of him
dying. Yet you tell me the old testament has no real bearing in real life. You
contradict yourself as does the bible
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cantenucci04[S] 1 point a minute ago
I explained the difference between the Old and New Testaments, if you call
that cherry picking then you have a different definition of that than I do.
The Bible is in fact a historical document, that's one of the reasons we believe
in it, in addition to the actual content of it.
Again, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity so I'm
assuming you aren't a believer.
Two points about God sacrificing His Son. 1)God and His Son are the same
Being, although they are different persons. This is the mystery of the Holy
Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all one Being, one God, but three
separate persons. So when you say God sacrificing His Son is evil, you're not
understanding that He was actually sacrificing Himself since the Father and
Son are one, which means He made the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.
In fact Jesus addressed this when He said, ""For this reason the Father loves
Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18"No one has
taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority
to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again."
I never said the Old Testament has no real bearing on life, but that it must be
interpreted properly and there are parts that aren't meant to be taken
literally. There are plenty of parts that are very relevant to our modern lives.
For example, many people draw inspiration from the Psalms, and the Book of
Job teaches us about suffering and how to handle it.
Original Sin didn't cause people to become evil, but it did cause us to be less
than perfect. It means we live in a fallen world full of sinners and flawed
people. But the people who choose to do evil things are making that choice,
they aren't born evil.
There is no contradiction between the two testaments in the Bible, that's why
Jesus said, ""Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did
not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and
earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law
until all is accomplished."
In other words, Jesus was telling them He would help them interpret what was
in the Old Testament and properly apply it to their lives, while giving His own,
new insight into how we should live and treat others.