In this bulletin series we’ve been looking at the common objections to Christianity. This week I want to look at the objection that there is no God because there is horrible suffering in this world.
Many people object to God’s existence because of the presence of evil and suffering. The objection suggests that if there was indeed an all-powerful god, like the God of Christianity, he would not let evil people cause suffering. This claim is often made in light of the atrocities that humans have been subjected to in the last century in World War II and under communist rulers. Or it may even be made because of personal suffering that the individual has known and has led them to reject God.
But such an argument is nonsensical. To make the claim that there is horrible suffering in the world is to make a moral claim. In other words, you are claiming that suffering is bad and not suffering is good. But upon what basis can you make that judgement if there is no God? If we are simply evolutionary products of chemicals mixed with other chemicals, then suffering is nothing more than a chemical reaction and is neither good or evil. Without God, if you murder somebody it is no different from turning a computer off. Both mixtures of atoms suddenly cease working the way they were previously working.
So in actual fact, when you condemn suffering in the world as a bad thing, you are actually providing proof that there is a God, not that there isn’t a God. If there is no God, you cannot go around complaining about evil and suffering. If you do, you are not making any sense.
So instead of rejecting God and committing yet another evil, you should be embracing God. He is the one who will one day hold all evildoers to account for their actions: ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad’ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This is scary because you know that you have caused suffering in the lives of others. But thankfully in Jesus Christ there is forgiveness: ‘everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 10:43).
Do you illogically reject God because of suffering? Or do you recognise your own sin and cry out for forgiveness?