I personally am not really stumbled by this question, but this post is meant to, from a (spiritual/God) perspective as well – the common question: if God is good, why is there suffering? I’ll do a laundry list of sorts, and there will be lots more answers than I can cover.
1) Suffering has a purpose
I’ll not go too deeply into this argument; I’m sure you can think about the different purposes. Yes, there is the argument about the ‘amount of suffering’; why is there ‘seemingly so much’. Idk but I feel like this is a stupid argument to an extent. We only know the amount of suffering that we have, how do we know that there isn’t A HELL LOT MORE SUFFERING out there which we already escaped due to the grace that was bestowed on us? And how can we know that we will learn just as well if the suffering was any less?
2) Suffering occurs due to sin
I’ll go deeper into this one, since it interests me more.
- We suffer because of our own sin – and therefore the suffering has a purpose. E.g. we go to jail and suffer because we stole from someone.
- We suffer because of someone else’s sin – e.g. Hitler killed people and those people + society suffered because of his sin. Yes, God could have stopped him, but that would go against His character of allowing us to have ‘free will’, even the free will to hurt other people too.
- Sin can be passive/active, or un/intended. And therefore I’m going to go a bit deeper
- We suffer because of societal sin – This argument is in reference to my post ‘more than ourselves’. There is such a thing as SYSTEMIC/SOCIETAL sin, passively upheld by us. An example would be the institution of slavery (the slaves suffered), and even though I as an individual may not have had slaves and made them suffer, I probably bought things made by slaves/voted for the leaders who constituted slavery, etc.
- How about suffering from natural disasters? – Natural disasters come about due to (human) sin??? Watch this video: ‘There is no such thing as a Natural Disaster’. It’s REALLY GOOD. Mexie brings up lots of stellar points: disasters only become disasters if there are people there – we need to question WHY and WHO lives on the disaster prone site: land is cheaper? Hence, systemic sin of capitalism exploiting the poor who cannot afford to live in places which are less disaster prone. How about our contributions to climate change which cause extreme weather changes and natural disasters? (Romans 8:22; the whole creation groans because of our sin). Are natural disasters our punishment for sin as well?