If God Exists, Why Is There Suffering? February 18, 2011Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Religion & Theology.
At a new (or newish) web site called Quora, someone asked, “If God exists, why is there suffering? If [God] loved us, [God] would do something about [suffering], right?” My answer at Quora, which is an earlier version of what you’ll read below, can also be found here.
Assuming God exists, God has two choices: allow created beings to suffer, OR deny created beings free will.
If there were no free will, then we would all be blissfully happy meat robots. Every human being alive would love God with all her heart and soul and mind and strength, and every human being alive would love her neighbor as much as she loved herself. There would be no arrogance, because arrogance depends on believing you’re a better person than the ones you’re supposed to love as much as you love yourself. For similar reasons, there would be no fear, anger, resentment, greed, overconsumption, concupiscience (satyriasis/nymphomania), envy, or despair. How could I resent you for hogging the best piece of candy, for example, when you already gave it to me out of your love for me, and I gave it right back to you out of my love for you? How could I envy you for making more money than I do when we both work for free, out of love of the work, and we both always have exactly as much money as we need, because anything else would be unjust and would cause someone to suffer because of that injustice? How could anyone ever feel despair, KNOWING that he was loved infinitely both by God and by everyone else on Earth?
If there were no free will, there would be no sickness, since bacteria and viruses would also have no free will. No cancer, since nothing would ever break down and start working improperly. No accidents, since nothing would ever be unforeseen. No attacks by wild animals. No horrendous storms or natural disasters, like earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions. No mudslides. No global climate change. No littering. No jaywalking. No police, no military, no government, no court system: no disputes or even disagreements between people, ever, for any reason.
If there were no free will, there would be no joyous surprises. No competitions, even in sports, because the outcome would always be known in advance.
In short, if there were no free will, there would be no discernible difference between life on Earth and Heaven. And, in my opinion, God would be bored bored bored bored bored bored BORED! — quite possibly, since God is eternal, insane with boredom.
And of course, a God who is insane would no longer be perfect. But no one would care. Since we are created in God’s image, we would be insane too. Blissfully happy, insane meat robots….