Why God Allows Suffering: A Hypothetical Conversation

If God allows people an opportunity to defend themselves on Judgment Day, this is one way I imagine the conversation to go (I say this with all reservation about putting words in God’s mouth):

GOD: You did a lot of sin down there.

PEOPLE: You’re blaming me for that?

GOD: You’re the one who did it.

PEOPLE: Well, then Satan made me do it.

GOD: I don’t recall telling you to listen to Satan.

PEOPLE: OK, but scientists told me my genes made me do it.

GOD: I don’t recall telling you you had to listen to genes.

PEOPLE: But John Calvin told me you made me do sin for your glory.

GOD: Seriously? I don’t recall telling you to listen to Calvin.

PEOPLE: Well, who were we supposed to listen to?

GOD: You were supposed to listen to me.

PEOPLE: Yeah, well, we would have, but you were always ruining our fun. All those “Thou shalt nots” and so forth.

GOD: I told you those things because I love you and wanted you to avoid pain.

PEOPLE: Yeah, right. Nice spin there. #AlternativeFacts #FakeNews

GOD: #No. That’s pretty much what I told you when I gave you those commands–love is the fulfilling of the law.

PEOPLE: We just wanted to be free. We can’t be free with you dumping commands on us all the time. Why do you have a problem with us being free?

GOD: I have no problem with you being free. You’re the ones who keep bringing yourselves under someone else’s control and saying you have no choice. I gave you freewill.

PEOPLE: Yeah, well, we don’t get that either. Why did you allow sin in the first place?

GOD: It’s part of freedom.

PEOPLE: Why couldn’t you have eliminated evil and suffering though? How can you talk about love and yet sit indifferently by and let us suffer?

GOD: I was not indifferent to evil and suffering. I told you not to do evil because evil brings suffering. All you had to do was listen to me.

PEOPLE: Yeah, but if all we could do is listen to you, we wouldn’t be free!

GOD: I’m aware of that. You’re the ones saying you want to be free. I let you be free. Now you complain because you get the consequences of being free.

PEOPLE: But why couldn’t we be free without suffering?

GOD: Because freedom means you don’t have to listen to me, and I’m the Creator, the God of order. When you break the order; stuff breaks.

PEOPLE: So, what you’re saying is that you gave us our freedom, and then let us suffer under those consequences? You just let us rot in our suffering?

GOD: I joined in your suffering. That whole Jesus and the cross thing. I showed you I still loved you. I showed you I could restore all the pain of your sinful freedom. But you persisted in your sinful choices, complaining about me the whole way, and even making up doctrines to blame me for your rebellion.

PEOPLE: Well, that was dumb of us.

GOD: I agree. Remember that part where I said “every mouth will be stopped?” That happens now.

PEOPLE:

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