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Dr. Brown Debates: The Problem of Suffering

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2021 4:50 pm

Dr. Brown Debates: The Problem of Suffering

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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December 20, 2021 4:50 pm

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The following is a prerecorded program. We are take you today into a classic debate I had with Prof. Bart government start the line of fire with your host activist all the international speaker and theologian Dr. Michael grow your voice of moral cultural and spiritual revolution Michael Brown was the director of the coalition of conscience, the president of fire school of Ministry of the line of fire by going 866-34-TRUTH 866-34-TRUTH your job is Dr. Michael Brown friends a few weeks back I guess a couple months back. Now we took several days of the week and we had excerpts from some of the best debates have ever had substantial parts of the debates we played on the air.

We got great response to that is were coming out to the end of the year Christmas, New Year's season, we thought we do it again some of the most important debates of ever participated in all it was back in 2009 to early 2010 I just had the sense one day that I was going to debate Prof. Berman and it was little because he's a New Testament specialist and I'm not in terms of scholarship but also just had the sense in the right afterwards I got contacted by law professor at Ohio State missing that usually early claimant. This would you like to debate Dr. Berman so this was our debate. He wrote a book about it. I said, let's pursue this. Let's focus on the problem of suffering does the Bible provide an adequate answer to the problem of suffering so were going to play now for the rest of the broadcast excerpts from my opening comments my opening statement in this debate from April 2010 when I was asked about debating Prof. Irma and I suggested we focus on the topic of his book, God's problem because the question of suffering is something that touches every single one of us is not just abstract theory out when the twin towers went down on 11 my wife lost her only brother who in turn left behind his wife and their precious to little children. Not long after that Nancy's dad died of a extremely degenerative condition of Alzheimer's that shortly after that her stepfather died of cancer. Then shortly after that her brother-in-law died of cancer at the age of 51 and during this time she had a severe back condition was so debilitating. Sometimes I find her laying face down on the ground in agony she could move but she would be the first to tell you that what she has suffered is absolutely minor compared to suffering people in this role. It in fact many an hour we talked about the problem of suffering and in fact many a night. She cries herself to sleep over the pain of the human race a bit overseas 100 times so I've seen deformed children begging on the streets.

I've seen families living in an absolute squalor, destitute grass for ministry school have worked some working right now leper colonies in China building war housing for orphans in Africa with the poorest of the poor, serving them in the Philippines and in garbage dumps and on and on. Social suffering is here it's all around us and and sometimes it seems completely random, sometimes it seems absolutely devoid of any good purpose and to be perfectly honest. One small child dying of leukemia raises more theological problems in all of our debates.

Just last month. One of our grads email meeting, he found his suicidal father dying. He slid his wrists slit his throat had a knife plunged into his heart left behind a mentally ill wife. So what we say we were confronted with this kind of suffering which you might not know is that these very issues are raised in the Bible and the biblical authors bring some of the strongest challenges to God. You can find anywhere. Job is considered a hero of the faith, and yet he accuses God in terms that would make Richard Dawkins proud and he pains God as being a cruel monster who assaults cement and looks the other way when innocent people sufferings and and looks the other way when wicked people prosper. Or how about this verse from the Bible. I have seen everything in this meaningless life including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. An atheist could have said better and I remind you this is recorded in the Bible. One Old Testament scholar said it's it's almost like this. God says if you want to complain. We have some forms already filled out with all the words written for, but the Bible also provides an adequate answer to the problem of suffering. In fact, it provides numerous answers that are harmonious to the problem suffered. If you follow the path that Bart lays out this book, a path that can no longer believe in God and his goodness. I don't reproach Bart for losing his faith. But if you follow this path, then you lose the resource of hope and purpose and meaning, and retrain the fountain of life for empty wealth rather than identifying God's problem. Bart no longer has hope in the solution to the problem. Then a loving heavenly father who is the answer to present pain and the author of a future hope and a compassionate Savior who suffers and dies on our behalf remove God, and we really have a problem.

Our problem remove him and all is lost. In fact, if you remove God for the picture, there's really no problem of suffering and evil aspire. Joseph why line kills zebra a mother kills his victim. That's what the unguided products of random evolution.

No, this is just survival of the festival. Why doesn't might make right after all.

But if you have a sense of this purpose and meaning and morality to life, then you recognize that suffering and evil really do present the problem. So how do the Scriptures address this problem. How can a loving God allow so much evil and pain and how to be a good job in such a messed up world doesn't in some way. The ultimate responsibly. Wyandotte is the author of it ultimately forcing the Bible is always tell us what we want to know but it tells us what we need to know much like a doctor who may not tell you why you're sick, but can tell you how to get healthy and stay healthy and rather than fully explained to us why there is so much suffering and evil in the world.

The Bible tells us that we are quite right in protesting that something's wrong. God himself agrees with that assessment. We weren't designed for death, decay destruction, we were designed for life. That's why was so repulsed by the presence of wanton suffering in the world as to why God even created the human race.

The Bible makes clear that he wanted to have an extended family.

People can enjoy his goodness forever. The people we could love and would love him, but our love for God must be chosen and not coerced, and so love requires freedom. Freedom has consequences and the choices every generation is made putting ours have had disastrous effects bring destruction on a race and a curse on our planet bubbly from a biblical perspective were intimately related to our planet and our sin against God affects the earth as well and so were in a fallen, broken world. This is what the Bible tells us one that's both cursed and blessed will with both cruelty and love tsunamis and sunshine world of contradictions wall that reflects the contradiction of our own nature created in the image of God and yet fallen, as the Scripture says God made men and women true and upright were the ones who made a mess of things. This describes the schizophrenia of the human race.

We are incapable of incredible good and extraordinary wickedness. Sometimes we find both extremes inside our own hearts.

So why did God give us a free will.

The words of CS Lewis tried to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free will is involved and you find that you have excluded life itself free will he write so it makes evil possible is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy work that world of all tomato of creatures that work like machines hardly be worth creating another free will answer does not solve all the problems but it is one part of the problem part of the answer. You might suck. I asked for this item has to be put here. The fact is the thing you prize the most is your existence and the next thing you prize the most is your freedom. That's why so few people actually take their lives and that's why people fight so zealously for their freedom, but our life and freedom are gifts with consequences when we realize how much evil. There is the worldly child molesters and murderers vicious cool people are our to mention how many ugly things. We are so sometimes they can do. It's amazing that we can even enjoy a beautiful sunset experience. Here's a good health or have so much fun with our friends. If anything God as being amazingly merciful, not judgmental towards us but there's much more to the story, according to the Scriptures were in a transition age now a war zone of sorts. And that's another reason why so many things seem to be out of order and wrong.

In fact, that's why Jesus taught his followers to pray your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, meaning that God's perfect kingdom is not yet totally here and his perfect will is not yet been fully carried out. We pray for long framework for is that perfect age to come, God's kingdom right here on a renewed earth will be no sickness, pain, justice, evil or death a moral experience life to the full affect someone is suggested that rather than thinking of the world to come is the afterlife. We should think of this present world as the before life or some call it the Shadowlands in the world to come is the time when we really experience the fullness of life in the words of the ancient rabbis. This world is the vestibule to the world to come. And I remind you that the world to come last forever. I think most of us are working to make this world a better place really hopes up but try to improve the world is not enough fact, it seems the more civilized would we become the more people we kill the 20th century being the blood is by far.

Instead, God's plan is to usher in a massively better world, a world of wonders beyond the wildest dreams. A world filled with the beauty and knowledge of God. This is not a myth. This is reality for right now in this transition age. There is much evil and suffering. The Bible likens it to giving birth. The whole world is in the pains of childbirth, with all creation groaning for the end of suffering and death a better world was at hand, but it will be birthed out of this present decay world as we work together with God. That's why what happens in this world matters deeply. After all, this will relive his will experience the ups and downs of life, but this is only the beginning, not the end of the story.

During our journey through the Shadowlands God is at work in the midst of our suffering, even when people do evil things against his will. Things that he himself hates he can turn those things. For greater good.

Take them and use them for greater good always shaping and developing us, you can almost think of this present life as as our time inside the womb and the world to calm his life inside it's hard to figure imagine. From here, but we were once in the womb, which is hard for us to believe, but it happened all of us. Of course, if you take away the reality of the world to come.

Suffering becomes all the more meaningless life all the more purposeless it there's no world to come.

Some will never be awarded for their sacrifices. Others will never be punished for their wickedness.

The scales of justice will never be set right all the dreams are my will and there just like that dreams blurb it will finish what we start this world to come in our lives really chapters in a great big book about with an end and it's almost too good to be true, but it is true because God is good and God is love and ultimately meaning will emerge from the seeming chaos and uncertainty of life Google drive out evil. Life will drive out hate bubble drive out hate. There's more, though, that the Scriptures tell us about suffering and in the Bible is an offer just one answer to suffering and pain because suffering and pain are not monolithic, so the Bible provides many different answers to the full range of human pain so we can before basic answers from Scripture. In terms of the promise suffering number one, there can be redemptive side to suffering. The world is filled with death and evil, but God can bring life out of death and good out of evil. Sometimes what appears to be the worst thing that ever happened.

You can prove to be the best thing that ever happened because Prof. once told her students to write down on a piece of paper. The 10 worst things that ever happened to them, then flip it over and write down the 10 best things that ever happened and some items appeared on both sides.

God is the great Redeemer we see God and recognize we really is. We don't need answers to our questions. He himself is enough. We have confidence and hope he's the living God. That's why his people been able look death in the face without backing down overcome almost unimaginable obstacles and bring hope and healing into some of the darkest places on the earth.

And so is a biblical scholar to someone not exempt from the pain of this world. I join my voice with hundreds of millions of people around the world, both past and present, say clearly, the Bible absolutely provides an adequate answer to the problem.

Okay, I've got a jump in now. On the other side of get to hear the comments of agnostic detested Prof. for we will file the line of fire with your host Dr. Michael Brown get into the minor fire now by calling 866-34-TRUTH here again is Dr. Michael Brown thanks for joining us to find this is not 2010 with New Testament professor and well-known agnostic Prof. Braverman. The question does the Bible provide an adequate answer to the problem suffering here now lengthy excerpts from his opening comments.

I am very happy to be with you tonight when I started out studying this problem suffering. I had a very much the view that Michael has pretrade for you just now that the Bible has a consistent set of answers and that that God, in fact, is not to be named for suffering that in the end everything is going to work out. This is my view when I was a late teenager I had been a Silva growing up. I've been a church person.

I grew up in the Episcopal church and when I was in high school I had a born-again experience and became a committed evangelical Christian went off to Moody Bible Institute where I did my college work.

I which is a very conservative evangelical school I went from Moody Bible Institute where I majored in Bible and theology to of Wheaton College and evangelical college where I did my degree.

I went from there to Princeton theological seminary right study for the ministry I had a very solid credentials in the Christian faith.

While I was at Princeton theological seminary studying to do my PhD in New Testament I started teaching at Rutgers University and at Rutgers. One semester I was asked by my chair my department to teach a course called really the problem of suffering in the biblical traditions.

This was to be a course that look at what different biblical authors had to say about suffering and I thought it would be an interesting course in part because I had grown convinced over the years that in fact different biblical authors had different views of why there suffering and these different views in fact are not harmonious. The way Michael is later laid it out for us that in fact there are discrepancies among these views.

Some of these views contradict one another.

These authors didn't see eye to eye, and a number of the solutions in my opinion, then in my opinion, now simply are not acceptable to us as modern people are any of the biblical solutions adequate for why there is suffering. While I was a question that I started asking myself when I was teaching the class over 20 years ago now and it's a question I continue to ask myself, my view is that there are a lot of different answers to suffering in the Bible and that many of them. In fact, cannot be accepted to satisfactorily let me give you a few Michael is given us some and I we will certainly have some debates over how one should interpret the book of Job, for example, and whether there is consistency in the biblical account of why there suffering. I want to start not with the book of Job.

I want to start with one of the prophets.

A Michael is an expert on the prophets is just written a major commentary on the prophet Jeremiah. But I'm going to turn to the prophet Amos Amos chapter 3, where Amos the prophet is telling the people of Israel, why it is they are going to suffer a military defeat.

They're going to suffer military defeat because God is going to punish them for not observing his his will and doing his ways.

As Amos says they do not know how to do right, says the Lord. Those historic violence and robbery in their strongholds.

Therefore thus says the Lord God an adversary shall surround the land and strip you of your defense and your strongholds shall be plundered. You are going to be wiped out as a punishment for not worshiping God properly no event but that there maybe just know that on occasion, God thanked well according to Amos.

In fact, he doesn't a lot. Chapter 4, God tells the people of Israel I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities and lack of bread in all your places I never cleanness of teeth as many provided toothpaste for them, it means they had nothing to eat. God brought a famine, yet you did not return to me, says the Lord. In other words, in EE created a famine to starve people so that they would repent and turn back to him. I also withheld the rain from you when there were still three months to harvest two or three towns 100 to one town to drink water and were not satisfied, he brought a drought people and nothing to drink and yet you did not return to me, says the Lord. I struck you with blight and mildew. I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards. The locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees, yet you did not return to me said the says the Lord, who is caught bring God is causing the suffering as a punishment for sin. I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt. I killed your young man with the sword.

This is God speaking. I killed your young man with the sword. I carried away with your horses and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils yet you did not return to me, says the Lord. I overthrew some of you has when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You did not return to me, says the Lord.

Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel, because I will do this to you, O Israel prepare to meet your God, O Israel, meeting God in this context is not a good thing you thought it was bad so far. I starve you I gave you no water. I brought pestilence I killed your children now look out for what I'm going to do who bring suffering.

According to the book of Amos God bring suffering. According the book of Amos and Amos is not alone in this. This is the message of all of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible well for yourself and see. It doesn't matter which ones you read Isaiah Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos read them all line after line page after page. Suffering comes upon the people of God because God is punishing them for their sins.

Do we want to extrapolate from that, a lesson about why there suffering in the world is this and what solution why there's an earthquake in Haiti that kills 300,000 people. Because God angry at them and wants them to repent and there are other solutions in the Bible solutions. For example, that you find in the book of Daniel or the book of Revelation in the New Testament solutions that indicate that in fact God is not causing this problem one another due to people. God is in causing the problem. The people he's not punishing them is not testing them is not doing for some unknown reason that you can't ask about is not. God is doing and is not people doing to one another. According to the book Revelation in the book of Daniel. What's happening is there are evil forces out there in the world. There are evil forces, the devil and demons and powers and principalities that are against people and it's the forces of evil that are doing things, but God is going to intervene eventually and overthrow the forces of evil and set up a good kingdom here on earth. In other words, things might be rotten now, but they're going to be fine later. Just hold on for a while. Revelation thought that this was going to happen very soon.

One of the key points of the book Revelation is that if you hold on for a little while longer. God will intervene.

This is the view of a lot of the writers of the New Testament.

The gospel of Mark says some of you standing here talk Jesus talk to the disciples won't taste death before they see the kingdom of God is come in power, this generation will not pass away before all these things. Place this will happen very soon, but it doesn't happen soon and year goes by after year and decade after decade and century after century and is this really a valid hope that the kingdom of God is going to come sometime next week. These are the solutions I dealt with in my class at Rutgers University. When I when I finished the class. I thought maybe I should just write something about that you know about the promise suffering with the different biblical authors that well I decided I was 30 years old at the time. I said you don't know enough to write a book about suffering, so about 20 years later of Years ago. I thought maybe I read that book on suffering that I thought now you don't know enough to write about book about suffering so that I realize when I'm 89 I'm in a say you're not old enough to write a book about suffering.

The winner of the book in these intervening years between the time I taught the course of Rutgers and today some 20 years later I kept experiencing a lot of the world as you all have those you who are beyond 20 years of age cancer taking away loved ones in the prime of life teenage suicide birth defects failed marriages.

I have a friend who escape the killing fields of Cambodia. I've encountered homelessness, poverty, starvation, and I've done a lot of reading as you have wars, genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda door for a flu epidemic in 1918 that killed 30 million people around the world flow killed far more people then all killed far more Americans than all the wars of the 20th century. Combine the 1918 influenza world poverty and starvation.

I came to a point where none of the biblical answers or traditional answers were satisfying to me. The Bible has an overarching view about God's interaction with the world, which is that God intervenes for his people in the Hebrew Bible. The main point is that when the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt. God intervened and did something about it. He saved them from their slavery. The main point of the New Testament is that Christ came into the world in order to intervene, so that people would be saved from their sins. The Bible is all about God intervening.

If God intervenes, why doesn't he. Why do we live in a world in which every five seconds a child dies of starvation every five seconds. That's 12 minute. The time I have given the speech we've had something like 300 children die of starvation in the world every minute in our world 25 people die from diseases from a from unclean water every hour or 300 people die of malaria every hour.

300 people. If God intervenes, why doesn't he intervene.

We have the Holocaust we have genocides we have terrorist attacks, starvation, poverty, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, if God intervenes, why doesn't he intervene. Yes, this is why left the Christian faith. Eventually, about which I'll be saying a few things. In a few moments because I don't think leaving the faith leaves a person hopeless.

I think it leaves a person with a realistic sense of why there suffering in the world. It's not because God's causing it not punishing you is not your mother.

Reason is I got a jump in. We come back. My response, my bottle to Prof. anywhere in the line of fire with your host Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice is more cultural and spiritual revolution of year again is Dr. Michael Brown thanks for joining us on the special broadcast, then one firing back into some of the debates that I've had over the years, this one with Prof. Bart Berman is the Bible provide an adequate answer to the problem of suffering. Listen to the whole broadcast you've heard are excerpts like the Xers were opening statements.

Now you're going to hear excerpts from our rebuttals that will first be me and after that Prof. Urman and then in the final segment will give you our closing statements and I want to assure you every single one of you listening, watching the Bible, God's word absolutely gives us adequate answers to the problem suffering above all, it brings us into encounter with the one and only one who can cure the problems of this world and the problems of our own souls. You know the question as to whether the Bible provides an adequate answer for suffering is is ultimately subjective and the factors around the world right now most most of the people in the world do not know this debates going on but never heard of Michael Brown or Bart Ehrman but they're turning to the Scriptures for answers, because God is intervening in lives all over the place, as were many of us are here intervene in my life and I was a harrowing shooting rebellious teenage rock drummer who went to a church to put my two best friends out of it and contrary to my esteemed colleague, your I never studied in a seminary or Bible school I study only was secular professors. Not one of them ever agree with my position so I have my faith challenge from day one is because of seeing the reality of God and people around the world can attest to it that we say absolutely, their answers, it reminds me of you tell a joke the whole room is is laughing and one persons not laughing. It's not because the jokes not good.

They didn't get the joke. So I like to dismiss the answers if if some have not found an adequate understand that I'm sympathetic to with these pain issues are very real but I like to dismiss the answers that is satisfactory to hundreds of millions of people who go through help. Let look at this.

Listen to this. It was Victor Frankel said this hot Auschwitz survivor.

The truth is that among those who actually went through the expense of Auschwitz, the number whose religious life was deepened and spite.

Not to say because this experience far exceeds the number of those who gave up their belief, Janet Willis and her husband Scott was there six. His children in a freak accident because of some illegal driver.

She said 14 years later. Today I have a far greater understanding of the goodness of God than I did before the accident. I turned to God for strength because I had no strength. I learned about you made sense when nothing else made sense of the word for the Lord. I would've lost my Saturday. What would my dear friend Bart say to her. I feel as if Bart takes the watch apart and then says it doesn't work and I personally find offensive.

The idea that God's answers must be acceptable to us. Lofty holy humanity. Most starvation around the earth is because we are not carrying sufficiently for starving people. We could feed 80 million people a day just by the food we overeat here in America. If we cared enough about the people in Haiti. We would love to let the buildings miso sub standard so that 75% of them could have been saved if we not been so negligent and selfish, and in fact I will strenuously argue with Bart's conclusion that narcissism on a certain level is the answer that doesn't touch the great majority of people suffering around the world will never have a glass of fine wine and never have a nice day.

But God's word has answers for those very people will excuse me, but if were talking about who allows what Don speaking just let me point out that thousands of children die every minute in our world of preventable diseases that you have the means, but obviously not the will to stop. How can you allow that there are millions in your world who are slowly dying of starvation. Most of your killing yourselves with gluttony.

How can you allow such suffering to go on using comfortable enough knowing that millions of you have less per day to live on than others spend on a cup of coffee while a few of you have more individual wealth in whole countries. How can you allow such obscene, evil, and call it an economic system. There are more people in slavery now than the worst day of the pre-abolition slave trade. How can you allow that there are millions upon millions of people living as refugees on the knife and of human existence because of interminable wars that you indulge out of selfishness, greed, ambition, and lying, hypocrisy, and you not only allow this, but polluting it fuel it and profit from, including many of you claim most loudly that you believe in me. Why don't singers put it like this before you accuse me take a look at yourself. I think we should be deeply awed by God's mercy. The fact that we can enjoy health and life and friendship and goodness in the midst of so much that you a wonderful universe like this.

How much porno was downloaded in the last 24 hours.

How many men appear to commit adultery in their hearts. While walking through the campus.

There's so much how much selfishness going about to be told that there is that the solution is enjoy live dramatized fine wine drive good cars that that's it seemed to people dying of starvation. That's of seeing the people at that they'll never even have a dessert in their lives and in point of fact, the more I cater to a narcissistic solution, the less I can do on suffering people.

Rather, if we can acknowledge the problem. Let us give ourselves to be solutions to the problem and here's the amazing thing ultimately when the dust settles. Most most all of the normal lives. Who were the ones that get me working among the people in Haiti. The great majority will be people of faith because they are willing to make a sacrifice because they've encountered God in his goodness, having received mercy. They're willing to be the objects, vessels of mercy, having been forgiven.

They want to bring forgiveness to the ends of the earth. And it's quite interesting that that that the strongest churches in the world and most people coming to faith rather will are coming in the midst of suffering in the midst of poverty here. We point to Haley. I hope all of you been involved in doing something to help people suffering in Haiti. We are friends of labor there for for decades but in point of fact, the majority of patients have experienced a spiritual revival and turning to God rather than a cursing of God.

How perverse that I lose faith over suffering of another person when it drove that person to God, let me say again, you take God out of the picture and what we have, you take God out of the picture and you might just be hit by lightning bolt tomorrow and it's all over you might be the victim of some drunk driver and it's all over. When you take the world to come out of the picture.

This is it this is that doggy dog world to enjoy yourself when you cup white guy. I can imagine substituting out for the wisdom of God's word and the beauty of God's work.

I have time to get to every point that was mentioned by assure you we have the time.

I can give a clear answer without any type of sleight-of-hand and show you how the biblical answers are harmonious, how they provide a beautiful symphony and ultimately you look at the cross, you look at the suffering of Jesus, and you know that's not an angry, mean-spirited dogs out to destroy us. That's a God who says come to me and find rest and life. Thank you. Michael is repeatedly said that he finds my views obscene. I am going to end tonight saying that we should live life well, one should go on about somebody else's views if one shares them. If you're concerned that starving people have nothing to eat and you eat should you condemn people who want to live well. If you live well. I find it obscene that Job was given 10 children back. Oh yeah, instead of the 4000 camels. He got 8000 but he only got the 10 children because you can't place children like animals. No you get the children back one at a time, seven sons and three daughters that makes up for. How do we get from that to the Holocaust by innocent suffering. People who don't deserve to suffer suffer. This is an enormous problem, and the Bible does not give a good answer to it. Some of the authors of the Bible think that in fact the reason things are going the way they're going is because people who are righteous are being rewarded by God and people who are unrighteous are being punished by God. This is a consistent motif throughout the Bible. One thing that Michael and I fundamentally disagree on is whether the Bible gives us a consistent and harmonious picture of suffering and in fact all you need to do is read the Bible for yourself, read different portions of the Bible and ask yourself is this harmonious, the book of Proverbs chapter 10 verse three. The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. Oh yeah, the righteous don't starve. Proverbs 1221 no harm happens to the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. Proverbs 1321 misfortune pursue centers, but prosperity rewards the righteous.

That's the teaching of the Bible or is it the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verse 15 says just the opposite in my main life I've seen everything. There are right this people who perish in the righteousness and their wicked people prolong their life and their evildoing just the opposite of Proverbs or Ecclesiastes 814.

There are righteous people are treated.

According to the conduct of the wicked, and their wicked people are treated. According to the conduct of the righteous, and I said this is vanity yes indeed it is when you say the Bible teaches something you have to indicate what part of the Bible you're talking about because different parts of the Bible teach different things. There is not a unified teaching about suffering or about anything in the Bible. The Bible is a collection of books written by a group of authors living at different times, writing in different places using different languages with different messages. It is not a unified whole. The profits all of them want to insist that the reason the children of Israel suffers because God is punishing them. Joe wants to end it wants to insist that, in fact, it's the innocent who suffer will which is it the innocent, or the guilty. It depends what you read. I do not believe the Job would say is Michael claims that it was worth it.

It was worth losing my 10 children psychopathic cast is worth God allowing my 10 children to be killed so that he could prove that I won't cursing.

It was worth it.

I don't think it was worth it. I take most offense at what Michael says when he says repeatedly that if you remove God from the equation you remove all hope, and all meaning.

I find this personally offensive because I no longer believe in God, and Michael is telling me that I have no hope. And I have no meaning, and how would they know you mean only people who agree with you can have hope and meaning only people have a certain view of God can have hope and meaning. Meaning resides in your particular theological point of view. I don't believe it for a second and in fact I can tell you that now, as an agnostic.

I actually find life to be far more meaningful than I ever did because I no longer think that it's all good be resolved in the by-and-by I'm concerned about life here and now, for how we live what we do for one another how we serve one another and how we exist together is now sorry granted time we come back playing games so business days since first process in urban and then moved over and it's the light a fire with your host Dr. Michael Brown of your voice and more cultural and spiritual revolution.

Here again is Dr. Michael Browning's is today on the fire taking date from April 15, 2010 at Ohio State University. Pack out auditorium.

As Prof. Bart, Herman and I debated by when the problem of suffering now our closing statements.

First, Prof. Herman and then me in the Bible. There are different solutions for why there suffering some of these explanations contradict others. Is it because God is punishing people for their sins. That's what the prophets of the Hebrew Bible maintain but I refuse to think that birth defects massive starvation flu epidemics, Alzheimer's disease, and genocides are given by God to make people repent or to teach them a lesson. Other writers and the prophets themselves want to maintain that some suffering is caused because people have the free will to hurt name, torture and kill others, and that's certainly true, but why would God allow human caused evil in some instances and not others. If you could do miracles for his people throughout the Bible, where is he today when your son is killed in a car accident or when your husband gets multiple sclerosis or civil wars unleashed in a rack when the Iranians decide to pursue their nuclear ambitions. Some authors of the Bible believe that suffering was ultimately redemptive. And it's true that there can often be a silver lining in the hardships we encounter, but I just don't see anything redemptive when Ethiopian babies die of malnutrition or when thousands of people died today and yesterday and the day before of malaria or when your entire family is brutalized by drug crazed gang that breaks in during the middle of the night. Some authors thought of suffering is a test of faith. But I refuse to believe that God murdered or allow the Satan to murder God of Job's 10 children in order to see if he would curse them or not.

If someone killed your 10 children.

When you have the right to cursing and to think that God would make up for it.

To Job by giving him an additional 10 children afterwards is obscene. Some authors, such as the one who wrote the powerful poetic dialogues of Job maintain that suffering is a mystery. I resonate with his view, but I don't think highly of its corollary that we have no right to ask about the answer to the mystery since we are after all mere peons and God is the Almighty and we have no ground for calling him to task and what he is done. If God made us then presumably our sense of right and wrong came from him.

If that's the case, there is no other sense of right and wrong, but his if he does something wrong and he's culpable by the very standards of judgment that he's given us a sentient human being and murdering babies starving masses and allowing genocides is wrong. Still, I have to admit that at the end of the day. I had this will sound as a surprise.

I do have a biblical view of suffering. As it turns out it's the view that's put forth in the book of Ecclesiastes, there is a lot we can't know about the world is what Ecclesiastes says a lot of this world doesn't make sense. Sometimes there is no justice. Things don't go as planned or as they should. A lot of bad things happen, but there are also a lot of good things that happen.

The solution is to live is to this Lucinda life is to enjoy it while we can because it's fleeting.

This is the view of the book of Ecclesiastes. This world and everything in it is temporary, transient and soon to be over. We won't live forever.

In fact, we won't live long and so we should enjoy life to the fullest as much as we can as long as we can. That's what the author of Ecclesiastes. Thanks and I agree the idea that this life is all there is, should not be an occasion for despair and despondency, but just the contrary, it should be a source of joy and dreams joy of living for the moment and dreams of trying to make the world a better place both for ourselves and for others in it. This means working to alleviate suffering and bringing hope to a world devoid of hope. There does not have to be world poverty, the wealth could be redistributed there don't have to be children.

They don't have many people sleeping on my streets in my city of Durham children really don't need to die. Malaria families don't need to be destroyed by waterborne diseases villages don't need to dive massive starvation. Old people do not need to go for weeks on end without a single visitor. People do not have to be bigots are racist, our laws and customs don't have to discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. By all means, and most emphatically, I think we should work hard to make the world the one we live in the most pleasing place you can be for ourselves. We should love and be loved. We should cultivate our friendships enjoy our intimate relationships, cherish our family lives. We should enjoy good food and wine. Yes, we should chocolate, for example, we should eat out in order unhealthy desserts. We should cook steaks on the grill and drink Bordeaux we should walk around the block work in the garden watch basketball and drink beer. We should travel and read books and go to museums and look at our and listen to music. We should make love have babies and raise families. We should do what we can to love life. It's a gift, and it will not be with us for long.

But we should also work hard to make our world the most pleasing place. It can be for others. Whether this means visiting a friend in the hospital getting more to a local charity or an international relief effort volunteering at the local soup kitchen were expressing our opposition to the violent oppression of innocent people. What we have in the here and now is all that there is we need to live life to its fullest and help others as well to enjoy the fruits of the land. In the end we may not have the ultimate solutions to life's problems. But just because we don't have an answer to suffering does not mean that we cannot have a response to it. Our response should be to work to alleviate suffering wherever possible and to live life as well as we can. Thank you so much more than I was expecting a spirited debate and I was not disappointed you judge a tree by its fruit and you see the type of response that will be generated by Bart's teaching and I don't believe is sincere as he is about this that is going to generate sacrifice that Skinner generate people giving themselves, sacrificially, to help people that are hurting and although we both use the word of seeing a number of times I do find the Council of seeing for most of the world suffering people.

The people in grinding poverty here about a new book that came out dealing with the problem of suffering and they get it with eager hands at someone's able to get them a copy of it. They get to the end, they begin to read that says grill steaks and eat unhealthy desserts them at a square meal in their lives. How the world is at possibly, the compassionate reasonable answer. The problem suffering and once again were in a narcissistic society. I was flying here and talking to someone on the plane about the debater fund in New York before the scent and I was talk about the debate back and forth. They found a fasting source that he read the answer in the fellow got mad at six. We don't need more narcissism we will need more. It's about me it that's what's killing our country judge a tree by its fruit, and then read the whole of the book of Ecclesiastes, yes, enjoy life. Yes, enjoy the good things you can't yes enjoy time with your family and cultivate friendships, but read to the end of the book. Read the last chapter that says remember your creator in the days you that that the book comes to a climax that it's more than this Old Testament scholar said to me like this to update the overall message of Ecclesiastes is that living without God is not living at all. And as for asking why the Bible encourages us to ask it necessarily puts the words answers use these to bring your complaint against God.

But let's remember respective friends in creation. There's day first in the night you come to the end of Psalm 88 and the closes with the words darkness is my closest friend.

Sometimes that's our experience in life and ends the chapter is dark but the next chapter. The next Psalm begins with hope in life.

Weeping may endure for night joy comes in the morning.

So let's look at this and again I want to say again in no way do I fall Bart for losing his faith, and in no way do I find your answer unreasonable.

From your perspective, sir, but ultimately here's what you have humans, God, you lose the comfort and reality that God can bring in this world you bring his intervention and let me tell you he is intervening on a regular basis around the world.

Maybe not as much as we like, but is intervening.

You take away his intervention. You take away his comfort. You take away his redemptive work, you take away his reality in the fellowship.

We enjoy with you. Take away the world to come and offer me Bordeaux and unhealthy desserts. No thank you I was there with God and his reality and his promises and his wonders in their real ultimately is as is a really chewed on this. I realize that what we have is Bart's problem, which is the problem of the human race in God's solution fact, I was just thinking of these two books God's problem, which probably sold more books than anything I've written and and and the solution and and really when I look at this book. Some of the things Bart wrote that the problem of suffering became for me the problem of faith speaks of those that they have a faith in God and the look at the mistreatment, since I respect this view deeply and some days I wish I shared it writes in his book the ESA has an amazing life but has no one for which to be thankful. This is a deep voice he writes inside the avoid of wanting someone to thank you and I don't see any possible way of filling it even candid enough to say in his book that that he would would sometimes wonder what if I was right then, but wrong. Now, will I burn forever. The fear of death Britney for years and are still moments when I wake up at night in a cold sweat, and I thought you know this is Bart's problem spoke represents Bart's problem. The problem the human race. This represents God's solution with my heart, my soul, I give myself to God solution and I command God's solution to a chart of the seminary, California.

Last week I had a student for police officer 1987 was broadsided by by a logging truck and almost killed the spleen exploded multiple injuries on life support. They had to give him some poor soul which drugs intimate destroyed his retinas is basically blind has been led by the hand and suffered terribly diabetic on and on and on.

It was not a believer when that happened and I said what was your experience that he said it felt like absolute honor of ice and now how is it with God has been healed yet. How is it with God. He said it's like having parent right there with child. This man full of joy full of life, full of hopeful grace started the company to help handicapped people get places to work. I look at it and I say again, we have Bart's problem God's solution smart men to God and his glory that was it over to our YouTube channel.

Esther Karen is gay year-round and live you are another program powered by the Truth Network


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