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The Problem of Pain and Suffering

Truth For a New Generation / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
May 1, 2018 8:49 am

The Problem of Pain and Suffering

Truth For a New Generation / Alex McFarland

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May 1, 2018 8:49 am

04-29-18 The Problem of Pain and Suffering by Truth for a New Generation


Best-selling author, speaker and advocate for Christian apologetics Dr. Alex McFarland, best-selling author and apologist Dylan burrow together bringing you truth for a new generation. This is TMG radio Genesis, God looked around his creation. The garden of Eden and over and over.

It says God saw all that he had created and it was good.

It was good. We look around the world today and clearly the news the headlines. Many events in the world are not in fact there pretty bad and so what's the answer lie. If God created everything good and if God himself is righteous. Why is the world so full of that which is unrighteous and not good Alex McFarland here with Dylan Burroughs and we welcome you to another edition of truth for a new generation radio Dylan we get a lot of questions a lot of correspondence from people and within apologetics and biblical worldview.

There are a lot of questions and fortunately there are good substantive answers, but I suppose one of the most oft asked questions is if God is good. Why is the world broken to the degree that it is that's that's a question we hear a lot is yes it is and it's hard for people to understand that you can have a good got a perfect God. But yet he could create a world in which such evil things happen and certainly this is even more concerning for people of experience pain or hardship or disability or something difficult in their own lives and to see the guy could somehow be at work in this issue that they're facing and also that he would have a plan in this. It's really hard for us as humans to understand that there are answers from God's word. We want to talk a little bit about this. So Alex 20 get us started. This idea that if God is real, why is there evil and suffering in the world. What is Scripture tell us about this important question. Will the Lord himself said in John 1633 that in this world you will have trouble.

Peter craved he was an author that we've referenced quite a bit KR EE FTI I want you to know who that great thinker is Peter craved. He wrote many books but one of my favorite is the handbook of Christian apologetics was published by inter-varsity press IVP great resource. It's been our privilege over the last 20 years to give way out another 50 or 75 copies of it. At least but craved says that really only Christianity has an answer to the problem of evil.

A fully orbed answer and let me say this when were trying to reconcile the the character of God that God is all wise omniscient we say God is nigh, benevolent God is all good and God is all-powerful, so we we've got to craft an answer or response to the problem of pain-and-suffering that doesn't deny the reality of sin and fallenness in the world. It's not an illusion, as many Eastern religions would say it's not a fantasy or just something in our mind there. There is real objective evil in this world when a mother would drive an SUV off of a cliff, purposely killing her children that that is wrong on an objective transcendent level that is morally wrong when the shooter goes into a school and and guns down innocent children and their teachers in the faculty and staff that is wrong, but we've got to have an answer to the problem of evil that doesn't deny the reality of evil, but at the same time doesn't compromise the essential nature of God.

I Dylan as you know, some have said will maybe God is evil or maybe God is good and cares but is unable to do anything about it. And so we would submit that only Christianity and end by that I mean biblical Christianity. Only Christianity really can give a sufficient answer sufficient in the terms of school, what Scripture says sufficient in what we know about God sufficient in terms of of reasonableness and logic and I would say an answer to the problem of pain-and-suffering. That is, for lack of a better term existentially satisfying it. It really does give comfort and hope to the human heart, and I agree with craved Dylan that only Christianity sufficiently has a response to the problem of pain-and-suffering and evil and as a talk about evil in our world today.

We want to be clear there different types of evil. There is, for instance moral evil and someone does sin of any kind, or whether it's murder or theft. You see, war, and needs moral evils that appear in our world, but there also natural evil.

That's what we mention we talk about natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado or tsunami that causes destruction in our world so we want to get into this discussion.

Why does God allow these things and where did this begin. I think the answer is really found as we go back to the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible and how sin entered the world and the impact that that has had from that point till now.

So, tells a little bit about this issue of evil, where it began in the book of Genesis chapter 3 well, God created everything perfectly, but God gave Adam and Eve the ability to make moral choices free will. One of the words that scholars uses the word volition and that means choice, Adam and Eve were volitional creatures. God did make robots or puppets. Adam and Eve were encouraged to do what was right. They were in the very presence of the Lord and they had every reason to trust God and to follow God and to understand that God had their best interest at heart. They knew the right, but they chose the wrong and we call that sin. The Bible calls it sin and the word of God says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Now I like what you said God allows evil we want to be very careful to understand that God doesn't cause sin. He has allowed sin and by virtue of having created the universe and created the human race.

I mean yes ultimately God is the cause of everything because he created reality, however, the classical Christian orthodoxy and by that I am talking about Christian truth that squares up with the Bible and squares up with what we know about God. God is not the author of sin. God is not going to do that which is incompatible with his nature and man. By the way, let's let's talk a moment about what sin is, Dylan, because the Bible says the wages of sin is death. In other words, the end result of sin the payoff. The result of sin is death, so I would believe God could not would not did not initiate evil and sin because it's incompatible with his nature, which is eternal and and God is life. God is the foundation of life. He's the creator and sin, among other things, is that which brings death so God would not have created sin and evil. He said everything is good.

However, he did give humans the ability to make moral choices and sadly our predecessors Adam and Eve made sinful choices and that has reverberated down to us to this very present day has it has and we went on more about this is become writeback entries for new generation radio stick with us first Peter 315 tells us to be ready always to give an answer for the hope we have were instructed to be prepared to defend our faith. This is Alex McFarlane for the life answers teams students we train at North Greenville University, a leading Christian college in South Carolina.

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Teams are made up of students who will inspire and equip your congregation. These apologetics teams. We train speaking churches to youth groups and train Christians of all ages to address key issues of our times. From a biblical perspective like is there a God is the Bible true. What about gender and moral issues. Call me at 864977 2008 and we will arrange for the life answers team to come to your church and give a presentation that will benefit your people for years to come. 864-977-2000 eight and always be ready for centuries the Bible has inspired humanity and shape the very world we live but how do we know this book is the word of God, not merely the words of man, what we believe about the Bible is based on what we believe about source. The God who speaks explores the evidence of the Bible's inspiration and authority to some of the world's most respected biblical scholars have essentially a geolocation source.

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The God who speaks is a feature-length documentary from the American family Association available now with the God who speaks.all TNG radio discussing the problem of pain-and-suffering.

I'm always uncomfortable whenever people call it and they'll say you know some moral evil happened.

Whether it's murder or violence or some type of thing that clearly is morally wrong and they say yes, but God willed it. I don't think the God of the Bible wills sin and evil to happen. It may happen, he allows it, because this world is not heaven, yet it's a fallen world and we have the ability to make moral choices and we have accountability we will answer for the things we've done words we've said the life we've lived. That's right so vitally important for people to turn to Christ to have their sins forgiven, but Dylan I don't believe that God wills sin and evil and death to happen to you now and it's very clear in the first passage where sin is introduced entire world.

There's a pattern there sin enters our world through the evil one. The serpent representing Satan who continues to represent evil and to tempt people to evil today, but also there is sin entering through humans making sinful choices when we look at why evil happens in our world today.

We see three different categories one we see that things that happen just because we are in a fallen world, like the natural disasters. He talked about. Second, we see evil in our world because of the moral choices people make and we can talk a little bit later about how we define a moral evil and what the Scripture says about that, but there are times people choose to do wrong, but then there is that third category of evil. Sometimes the God has a plan for suffering that takes place in our lives. We may not understand it, we may not like it may not be enjoyable but if you look at Scripture.

Even Jesus suffered and died on the cross, a painful death in a way that had purpose and it had meaning that is impacted lives far beyond the time he spent on this earth and the same is true in our own lives. There are times we endure suffering we experience pain, but God has a purpose in it, and he calls us to endure faithfully even though we don't always understand it and and I think it's also worth pointing out that we are in a spiritual universe and there is spiritual darkness. Part of the suffering in this world, Satan and his demons tempt people to do evil II think a lot of people are lured into doing evil and they are morally culpable but we've got to acknowledge the reality and and believe me I'm keenly aware. Some would scoff at this, but there is a world of spiritual warfare and some of the suffering and evil and the darkness whether it's a cult activity or whether it's heinous terrible things humans do to each other, but it was initiated by the one that the Bible calls the tempter a John 10 verse 10 Jesus said, the thief, that's a reference to Satan the thief comes to steal to kill and to destroy. We look around this world and we say things ought not be this way and God says agreed things ought not be this way. That's why he sent his son. That's why this world is wonderful as life is there. There is pain in this world, but Revelation 21 verse four makes the promise that one day quote, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death no more sorrow crying, neither shall there be any more pain. Dylan, aren't you glad that in Christ that the suffering and the pain in the sin has been addressed and will one day be fully eradicated, certainly in Jesus has come to give us an opportunity to have eternal life and to be in a place someday where we are free from the pains in the inequalities and the imperfections of this world, but sometimes the imperfections of this world as you mention help point us to God, and that future that we have the look forward to a CS Lewis is one who mentioned that God whispers to us in our pleasures. He speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts and our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world and that is been so true in my life many times you see someone go through pain or you go through pain yourself. You see your child sick, you lose a loved one, and in that you think why God why did you allow this happen and then he quickly remind you through the pages of Scripture that this is not my home. Heaven is where we will spend eternity and all is imperfections will be taken away. And as you mentioned, there will be no more sorrow no more tears and no more pain so that's all we had to look for to. There will be a day when this is all reconciled that while we live on this earth, we are called to do something about the evil that we see in this world. As believers and that gets us another topic. Perhaps we can address little bit that as believers we see evil in this world and what should our response be what can we do to make a difference around us we see different issues of evil in our world will great question Dylan.

I know that there are people because we hear from them by the hundreds every year and life has dealt them some heavy blows.

There are children that that walk away from the faith. There are marriages that break up in family issues and unemployment and money problems and health issues and maybe you've gotten a diagnosis that has rocked your world of counsel with parents that had a child die or you name it.

There's one of 10,000 ways that pain and tears come into our lives and people invariably ask why I want you to know this. Folks that were not trying to just give some theological cold data here ultimately for a lot of what we go through. I don't know that this side of heaven. Dylan, we always know why we know why, in the sense that it is a fallen world, and sin happens and Jesus as I said earlier the program. Jesus said in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Why do people suffer and why do even godly righteous people sometimes suffer. There are some things that I think are known only to the heart of God.

But we know the answer, and that's Jesus undo member Dylan. I believe it's in John chapter 6 when Jesus asked his disciples when many walked away Jesus and will you go away to. And I wonder if there was, maybe this moment kind of an awkward silence. But Peter speaks up and Peter says Lord, where would we go. You have the words of eternal life and when you're faced with the problem of pain-and-suffering or or its personal pain-and-suffering and what what are you going to do Seo. There is no God. Life has no meaning just resign yourself to depression and implode or is as hard as it might be as much strength as it requires as much help as is needed from the Lord, which is immeasurable. We turn to God. We say Lord I don't know why but Lord, I'm going to trust you that that is the wisest thing we can do is well said, Alex and I look forward to explaining more about God's purpose in our pain when we come back onto three new generation radio sick with. If you're a Christian parent. You of course want to instill a biblical view of life in the hearts of your children, your pastor, you want to offer ministry that draws young families to your church. This is Alex McFarland encouraging you to check out my new book and video curriculum. The 21 toughest questions your kids will ask about Christianity. I interviewed hundreds of children ages 5 to 12 and we address actual questions from actual children. The spiritual issues that are on the minds of your kids the book and video lessons are great for groups of any size and was produced with the goal of equipping kids to stand strong for Christ in any situation. The 21 toughest questions your kids will ask the book study guide and video series. You'll find that AFA for a new generation is here to equip Christians with a biblical worldview through conferences and camps and speaking about camps. Registration is now underway for the TNG summer youth, apologetics, happening July 22-26 at North Greenville University in South Carolina. Alex McFarland will be there along with Tony being the vice president for student services in Christian worldview.

It NGU will engage your thought topics like if God is so good why is the world so bad. Understanding and applying what God's word says about gender and a whole lot more.

15 apologetic and worldview training sessions and all along with a field trip to the Billy Graham Center, and of course outdoor fun and games. And don't forget about the food, great food, enough to fill up and keep going. Find out more about the 2018 TNG summer youth apologetics camp when you visit truth for a new no Alex radio and as we continue, I want to remind your listeners that a tree for new We have many resources regarding the information your hearing today. Information our conferences as well as your own website Alex really get lots of information to help them grow spiritually tell us a little bit more about what people could find. I think of a couple of books. One is the God you thought you knew, exposing 10 common myths about Christianity in the writing of that book.

We talked to several hundred college students and we got the questions that are on their mind. There's a book that's a great book for middle school and high school. Her skull stand strong in college you not done a seminar for about 20 years around the country to what you'll hear your freshman year preparing for the ways the college will challenge your faith of the book based on the seminars call stand strong in college but we've got some dozens of questions that high schoolers ask about God, about living the Christian life in the 21st century and you read any of the online bookstores or your own local bookstore. You can find these or you can go to my own website Alex McFarland.calm one last thing about the resources we do a summer camp and this year the summer of 2018 in July July 22-26 were going to be at North Greenville University and it's really summer camp for your soul working to do fun stuff with you to play volleyball hike in the mountains. Visit the Billy Graham Museum can be great for going to equip your teens to stand for their faith. We don't want your young people to be a casualty of the war of worldviews and go away to college one day and come home and agnostic so you might want to check that out to help the young people in your life. Or maybe your entire church youth group to know what they believe in the reasons why and you know Dylan back to the topic at hand. The problem of pain-and-suffering. Elmer towns the great cofounder of Liberty University brilliant brilliant scholar Elmer towns talks about how God is big enough to take that which was bad and turn it into something good and even the stresses of life.

Elmer towns says that thing that burden that you so desperately wish to be out from under that may be the very vehicle. God uses to take you where you want to be and so he says we walk with God we trust God we trust them for our salvation, our forgiveness, we can even trust him with our wounds, our pains and our burdens can't wait, that's so well said Alex in a good example. This is found in the Old Testament the story of Joseph and if you're familiar with the story you know Joseph is one of 12 brothers.

His brothers are jealous of him because of a special coat he has in the favor. His father is given to him over his brothers. They take him they threw him into a well first of all, and then later sell him as a slave to people going down to Egypt and the story continues with him, going from a slave, and a household to being falsely accused of a crime and then put into a prison where he stays for several years but then things change. During this time in prison when he is faithful to God serving day by day, not understanding the purpose of his pain and what is God do. Alex tells a little bit about how God turn that around.

From a time where he was in the pit to the time where he had it. Great influence over not only is family, but all the world of his time will he really did. And this is found if you want to read it. It's it's one of the great portions of the Bible. And frankly, one of the greatest stories in in history. It's Genesis 37 through 45 and the story of Joseph where his brothers tried to do him harm. God providentially intervenes.

Joseph is made kind of the. The vice regent of Egypt under Pharaoh. He very wisely helps save the nation during a famine and ultimately the world but in Genesis chapter 50 Joseph says to his brothers, you meant it for evil but God meant it for good. Literally what you devised against me as evil. God is big enough to overrule and cause good to come from it doing that really reminds me of a New Testament verse that many people love I do. I love this verse. But it's Romans 828 and sometimes people misquote this verse, or only partially quote this verse, but Romans 828 says that we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God and are the called according to his purpose.

It it doesn't say all things are good because there are some things in life that aren't good.

Some things in life that are objectively wrong, evil, listen, you can be a born-again Christian who loves Jesus, and you still might get cancer, you can be a faithful church going family and bad things can happen. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. But here is the promise of Romans 828 and Joseph of old knew it and lived it. We can cling to it. God is big enough if we give him our circumstance he will do something with it that is for our good and his glory.

We we really can trust God because our God is big enough, he created the universe out of nothing X the Hilo from out of nothing, but he can take that which was intended for wrong and make it right and friend. Whatever your circumstance today. Whatever you've done, he can forgive whatever has been done to you.

He can heal, but you can honestly you can trust God, it might be the hardest thing you've ever done. You're going to need his help to muster the emotional strength to do it, but trust God with your circumstance, and he will bring something good from it. Ultimately, amen. As we wrap up our final minute here. Alex finally close attached a brief prayer for those who may be struggling with something going on in their lives today. They need God's help to get them through this time of difficulty to trust him that he will work it together for good father in the name of Jesus.

We lift up everyone listening to this program and Lord, we thank you. We thank you that in the Bible Joel two verse 25 it says that God restores the years the locust has eaten, even things we've squandered sinful things we've done grudges, anger, wounds, pains, Lord. I just pray for the spirit of God to move and to heal people and to cause people to trust you and Lord, we thank you that there is a an answer to the problem of pain-and-suffering and that answer is found in Jesus and we lift people up to him now in Christ's name. Amen. You know Dylan I think about what CS Lewis said, Lord, you yourself are the answer before your face questions flee away. And that's true friend turned to Jesus. He suffered the punishment for sin on our behalf and if you turn to Christ and turn your life in your situation to Christ.

Ultimately, in the long run he will make something good and glorious come from. Amen. Thanks for being with us for a new generation in association with Alex McFarland evangelistic ministries exists to equip Christians with the biblical worldview through conferences and camps for information about upcoming events visit for a new or give us a call at 877 yes God one that's 877 yes, God, and the number one TMG radio is made possible by the friends of Alex McFarland evangelistic ministries PO Box 485, Pleasant Garden, NC 27313 that's PO Box 485, Pleasant Garden Carolina 71 will give

Thanks for listening and join us again next time. As we bring you more true for a new generation on TMG radio

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