God has made some changes in the world that make life hard:-
Note the following:-
We notice the following features of the channels that God has used to bring suffering and death:-
Feature 1: Some suffering is heavily dependent on human capability: the holocaust would not have taken place if Hitler was not an able man.
Feature 2: Some suffering is heavily dependent on human choice: Whether you land up in a concentration camp depends on the choices that people like Hitler make.
Feature 3: Some suffering has a scientific reason: The laws of material science and gravity are the same whether a good or bad person steps on a banana peel. Diseases are caused by pathogens or chemical imbalance, and therefore can be treated using chemicals, other microorganisms or herbs.
Feature 4: Some suffering is placed strategically; childbirth, the process of entry into the world, is painful. Of all our body parts, we are most ashamed to expose our reproductive organs.
Feature 5: Some suffering is because of mechanisms that God has put inside our body. When your hand touched the hot oven, you wouldn't have felt any pain were it not for your nervous system.
Feature 6: Some suffering is due to having to work hard for one's living.
This can be understood from the features mentioned above:-
Feature 1:To reflect God's glory, man had to be made capable, intelligent, and free to choose. The goodness of God's ultimate purposes (a large number of humans reflecting his glory) outweighs the suffering that results when capable people set their hearts on evil.
Feature 2: God has set things up in such a way that choices have consequences. It is important to learn this because we all have an ultimate choice to make: whether to submit to God or not, and this choice will have an ultimate consequence: whether we spend eternity in hell or heaven.
Feature 3: God made the universe to run according to fixed scientific laws because they draw the honest thinker to Him. The existence of laws suggest that there exists a Law-giving and Law-enforcing God who is consistent and powerful – precisely what God wants us to know about Him! Disease reminds us how frail we really are – countless people have been arrogant when they were hale and hearty but humbled themselves before God when sickness brought reality home. Sudden deaths by accidents are a reminder (for those willing to listen) that the time to get right with God is now (2 Corinthians 6:2); you don't know when you will die and it will be too late (Hebrews 9:27).
Feature 4: Strategically placed suffering points observant humans to the fact that something has gone desperately wrong with the human race. Once a human acknowledges this, he is on the path to recognizing what the root of the problem is, and what its solution is. Thus, strategically placed suffering is one of the ways God draws people to Him.
Feature 5: If your hand didn't hurt when it touched the oven, you would continue touching it, and your hand would suffer permanent damage. In a fallen world, some pain is a useful alarm.
Feature 6: Because people have to work for their living, they are kept from being idle and doing wrong.
Man being sinful, God's justice demands that He introduce death and suffering. But as we analyze the means that He has used we find that He has used precisely those means that will draw honest observant humans to Him and enable them to escape eternal suffering in hell. Thus, God's mercy shines even in His earthly punishments. Of course, this will not apply in hell. If you insist on rejecting God and going to hell, you will get precisely what you deserve for your sins: infinite punishment, no mercy.
God created a world without suffering. It is only after Adam and Eve sinned that God introduced suffering because of His justice and also to put a check on man hurting man (see Feature 6). None of us is morally superior to Adam and Eve. Thus, we humans (and not God) are responsible for the entry of evil into the world. That is not all: most of the suffering in the world today is because humans insist on acting irresponsibly. A few examples:-
The Nazi holocaust took place because Hitler was not "nipped in the bud". This was because, during the 1920s and 1930s (when Hitler was gaining power), it was politically correct in Europe and America to deny the real nature of Nazism. Today the West bows to political correctness and refuses to acknowledge Islam for what it is, and I won't be surprised if a few centuries later atheists complain: "How could your loving God allow beautiful progressive Europe to become a sharia state governed by 7th century Arabian tribal principles?!" It is stupid and irresponsible to blame God for the mess we allow before our eyes!
Much concern has been voiced about the poverty in Asia and Africa. Westerners are made to feel guilty for their prosperity and made to send aid money, which is promptly pocketed by corrupt Asian/African politicians and officials. Most people refuse to face the basic question: what is the one thing that the West has had in its history that Asia and Africa did not have (at least to the same extent), that enabled the West to prosper? Answer: Biblical Christianity. A strong Christian influence means honest politicians, better planning/policies, suppression of racism/the caste system, honest business, more philanthropy, etc: all the factors needed to make a nation prosperous. Apart from a few honest exceptions, most policy makers refuse to acknowledge this. The problem is not just with policy makers, but with "the poor" as well. In most Asian villages, you will be beaten up, arrested or even killed if you openly tell others about Jesus Christ. No, God has not forsaken them. They have forsaken God, and continue to reject Him.
On a similar note: despite the enormous contribution of foreign missionaries to healthcare in India, they are now banned. The Indian government would rather have thousands of Indians languish without healthcare, and remain illiterate, low-caste Hindus, than for them to get healthcare, education and possibly become Christians when they contrast kind missionaries with upper caste Hindus. Will you blame God when you see the poor, languishing Indians?
Food and water are scarce/expensive in the desert Arab countries. Just next door lies Israel, the world's leader in growing crops and harvesting water in arid land, desperate for peace and business opportunity. But will Arab governments allow the Israelis to help them? No. They claim that Israel is the "great Satan"; Jews are descended from pigs and apes; blood drinking cannibals who must be annihilated (see the Arab children's cartoon on the right). So do you think the God of the Bible is to be blamed when Arab children go hungry?
In January 2005, India and Sri Lanka refused tsunami aid from Israel. So who is to be blamed for Indians and Sri Lankans who did not get aid?
“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – Noah Webster
It would be comforting if on earth, good things always happened to the relatively good people and vice versa. But they don't. This is because:-
Justice and fairness do not demand it. See Point 3 above.
Some of the lopsidedness is due to the requirement of Feature 3: For us to make sense of the world around us, it should function according to fixed physical laws. If God suspended the laws of nature every time a "good" person stepped on a banana peel or happened to be in a hurricane, science would not work. But God wants science to work, because it points to a God who is consistent and logical.
Some of the lopsidedness is macroscopic. Macroscopic patterns of suffering also point us to God. For instance, Western countries that have honored the Bible (at least in the past) are far better places to live in than the rest of the world, where honor for the God of the Bible has been scant. This points us to God. (I'm not trying to be racist here - I'm Asian). Similarly, the Jews have been ruthlessly persecuted and at the same time extraordinarily resilient just as the Bible predicted thousands of years ago. This again points us to the God of the Bible.