Even though we can intellectually deduce that a Moral Law Giver, or God, must exist for us to identify suffering, that doesn’t necessarily comfort us when we do face suffering. Suffering is still hard and it causes us to mourn, either the loss of a life, loss of a relationship, or just pain in our present circumstances. But if we ask, “Why do we suffer?” then we have to also ask, “Why are we here?” Why do our lives matter and why does it matter if we suffer? It matters because life has value. When we see pictures of war torn countries or towns devastated from natural disasters, we see that as pain because life has meaning and value.
How would our lives have value? If we were only a product of matter plus time plus chance then our lives can’t matter. Our lives would only be the accidental by-product of random forces in nature. What purpose does that have? Atheism has gone out of its way to say that life has no purpose, no meaning, no intent. But we don’t live like that. We live as though life is precious and valuable. We live as though we ARE in fact specially made, different from a rock, or a bird, or a tree. The only way to get that uniqueness in creation is from God. Atheism cannot give life value. Only God can.
What would that value be? Well, think about how we place value on material possessions. Things are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them. If I offered you $100,000 for your cell phone, would you sell it to me? Most definitely! So how much is your cell phone worth? It is worth $100,000 because someone was willing to pay that for it. That goes for anything we buy. How often do you see something you want, then notice the price tag, and say, “That is not worth that.”? The buyer determines the product’s worth. And in the case of mankind, our lives are what our Creator was willing to pay for it. God purchased us with the price of the life of His Son. Acts 20:28 tells us that He purchased us with His blood. We are valued so much that He gave up His own Son for us. We have value because the buyer was willing to pay that hefty price.
Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
But where is that value, or God’s love, when we suffer? God’s love is expressed on the cross.
No other religion offers the kind of love that Jesus Christ offered when he laid down his life on the cross. We in our sinful nature could never even invent a god that has that kind of love for us. And we’ve tried. Think about all the man-made gods that have been invented over time, from Roman and Greek mythology, to the Hindu god Shiva, to Gandhi, to Mohammed. The gods that man creates are just larger versions of our sinful selves. They are just more powerful, more sinful, and more dangerous than man already is. We can’t conceive of a god that would show the kind of love that the Christian God showed because that kind of love is unfathomable to us.
The god of man’s creation is a god that requires man’s effort, man’s works, and man’s suffering to appease him. Man can’t imagine a God who would do all the work for us. The god that man could not invent is the God of the Holy inspired Scriptures. That God pursues us out of His perfect love. That God lowered Himself to be a man in order to DIE for His creatures even while we were rejecting Him. No other “god” would do that. Our God died for man instead of man dying for Him.
1 Corinthians 1:20 says, “So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of the world look foolish. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never know Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.”
God’s love for us in our suffering is revealed on the cross. But the cross reveals the evil inside each of us. Ultimately the discussion of good and evil and suffering comes down to the evil that is inside us. We are the ones that carry that evil around. We may like to point at what is “more” evil. Hey, at least I don’t murder or commit adultery. But those aren’t the only things that constitute evil. I lie. I cheat. I hate. I slander. The sacrifice on the cross points out the evil and sin that is in my own life. And I can’t overcome that sin on my own merits.
Only through God’s sacrifice and atonement for my sins can evil be overcome.
What can wash away my sin…nothing but the blood of Jesus.