The Reason for God

Timothy Keller

Chapter 2: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?

Doubt: Typically stated that the world is full of pointless evil.

  • But the hidden assumption is that if it appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.
  • Note the faith the skeptic has in his/her own cognitive insights!

So how do we understand the many who admit that their most important lessons came through suffering?

  • SO Š if God is great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasnÕt stopped evil and suffering, then you at that very same moment have a God great and transcendent enough to have reasons for allowing suffering that you cannot know. You canÕt have both!
  • And when you say the world is unjust, you have to ask where your concept of justice came from.
  • Without God to provide this perspective, evil would simply be natural [And naturalÕs good, isnÕt it?]

But thereÕs another dimension to the suffering issue - Jesus.

The Christian God came to earth to put Himself on the hook of human suffering. Ever wonder how martyrs across history went to their deaths with less seeming agony than Jesus in Gethsemane?

  • Jesus bore the endless exclusion from God that the human race merited.
  • Experiencing the inferno of abandonment, he still cries out in the language of intimacy ŅMy God, My God.Ó

So why does God allow evil and suffering?

  • We may not know what the answer is, BUT We know what it is not.
  • It canÕt be that He doesnÕt love us.
  • It canÕt be that he is detached or unconcerned about our condition.
  • He took it on Himself.

And as for hope that suffering is not Ņin vainÓ Š we have the resurrection.

  • The Biblical view of the resurrection is not one of escape or consolation.
  • It is a view of restoration.
  • Everything will be not only be undone and repaired, but will make the eventual glory and joy even greater.
  • At the end of Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee, discovering Gandalf was not dead asks: ŅIs everything sad going to come untrue?Ó
  • And the Christian answer is YES, YES, YES!
  • In conclusion on the topic of evil and suffering . . .
"This is the ultimate defeat of evil and suffering. It will not only be ended but so radically vanquished that what has happened will only serve to make our future life and joy infinitely greater." (Keller p. 34)

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