So…I’ve always been bothered by human suffering. Maybe it’s my superwoman complex (my need or feeling to help anyone in peril), or that I’m extra sensitive and have a bleeding heart, but it’s hard for me to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to it. Being exposed to the deep mental and emotional anguish of others while in a graduate psychological counseling program made me analyze the concept of human suffering that much more. My long-term ponderings on this topic in relation to God have somewhat driven a wedge between I and capital H.I.M. (shout out to Lady Gaga). The following prose is in reference to the Christian God and the belief that 1) God is all knowing and all powerful and 2) The biblical text of Adam and Eve.
Human beings could’ve been created to be perfect, lawful, loving creatures with no potential for evil or mayhem, but they weren’t. For some reason God saw it fit to create us with flesh counteractive to purity and here we are. Hell on earth. When I ask my million-dollar question of why human suffering has to exist and why weren’t born perfect, most Christians will typically cite 1 of 2 reasons: Adam & Eve and “free will.”
Adam and Eve.
Other Christians have often said to me “things WERE perfect with no sin and evil, but we messed it up. Adam and Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit allowed sin to enter the world. It started with them.” First of all, “we” didn’t do anything. Adam and Eve ate the fruit. We didn’t. I have multiple other issues with the Adam & Eve rationale. Let me break it down: God created the “tree of knowledge,” the tree that Adam & Eve weren’t supposed to eat from. If it was such a terrible thing for Adam & Eve to eat of that tree, why put it there? God created the serpent that encouraged Eve to eat the fruit. The serpent was influenced by Satan, whom God also created (according to the Bible, Satan was formerly an angel who was eventually banished to hell for trying to over-rule God). Keeping in mind that God is all-knowing, He knew prior to Satan’s creation that Satan would defy Him and ultimately intricately deceive Eve. God also knew before he created Adam & Eve that they would disobey him and “let sin into the world.” My point is that God was well-aware of the calamity that would befall man and earth before any of it existed, and I wonder why He did not systematically stop these events from taking place and created agents that led to the end result. Therefore, it is not a suitable theory (in my humble opinion) that Adam & Eve’s choices are the root of human suffrage. It’s important to look at the circumstances surrounding their disobedience.
Expounding on the story of Adam & Eve, some Christians have argued that God didn’t makes us without the potential for sin and disobedience because he wanted us to choose to follow and love Him on our own accord. If that was the case, then why was the knowledge tree forbidden? Furthermore, again considering that God is all knowing, he would know if an individual would love and follow him before they were even born, so there would be no need for Him to put system in place in which he can discover what our choice is. If the “free will” philosophy is indeed accurate, you mean to tell me God subjected his creation to suffrage so it could it be “proven” that we love Him? That doesn’t make sense to me.
Someone once said to me that God isn’t the type of god to intervene. He creates and then just watches what happens. I find this supposition to be ill-functioning as well because the Bible is FULL of examples where God actively intervenes. With there being no other clear explanations as to why human strife exists, I can’t help but wonder why the all powerful, all-knowing God didn’t prevent it. It’s difficult for me to NOT look at the sky and say “I don’t understand you. Why this blueprint?” It’s hard to not feel disappointed or angry with God when it comes to human affliction. When you hear about two young brothers who were forced to have intercourse with each other at the demands of their molester, it’s hard not shake your fist at a God who has his fingers at the control panel of life. I still believe in God and I don’t hate him; I just got a problem with him. My friend said “J, you can’t remove suffering and you’ll never know why it exists. So just accept it.” I don’t know how to just accept starvation, abuse, murder, etc. I don’t know how to just shrug my shoulders and say “oh well” to that.