1. It seems like the way you pitched the question made it sound like it goes beyond the problem of suffering and into the nature of judgment, imputation, and sanctification, etc. I don’t think that the pastor was attempting to give an answer to the problem of suffering so much as he was attempting to set the context of the discussion. You did a similar thing in your debate with Ehrman by mentioning the problem of sin.

  2. It seems a little strange that God effectively killed Job’s 10 children specifically to run his little social experiment – true, he did this vicariously via his consent to satan, but i think i’m not incorrect in attributing their deaths to him. a friend of mine, an athiest friend, asked this question and i could not give him a straight answer. and i thought, God said all this business about a children not dying for the parents sins and vice versa, he said things like he would render obsolete the proverb “the parents ate the sour grapes but the children got the bad taste”. Yet here are “innocents” effectively being “punished” for the righteous deeds of their father. God’s actions seem a little incongruent with his laws and what he says. the very point Ehrman raised too.

    interested to hear what you folks think.

  3. There are many points of view, from many angles… But for me ‘personally’ there has never been a problem with suffering as if it is a big problem for Christianity.
    1.) Suffering and death are not exclusively Christian ‘problems’. Every philosophy, every worldview, every position has to account for them. [To see it in more detail, you can read Peter Kreeft’s – Making Sense Out of Suffering]. The irony of the atheistic objection is such, that there is nothing “evil” in atheism, or naturalism. Things simply happen by some known or unknown laws of nature, and cancer, AIDS, or murder are not really “bad” any more than rain, or tides are bad. They simply happen randomly. Of course whether they are pleasant is a different question. But even that is strictly anthropo-centric subjective thing. People like Ehrman, Ruse, Singer, or whatever, usually dismiss this problem if theirs and shift burden of prof [or burden of defense] on our shoulders.
    Whatever the case, setting other worldviews with their problems aside, when I think if objections to Christianity based on so-called problem of evil, two things comes to my mind. Again, different people think differently, and maybe somebodies line of reason would be closer to home with you, but here is my opinion on this.
    2.) After the Fall, all human beings have sinful nature, and none of them can claim anything from God. As the matter of fact, God could destroy all humanity with a flood or a some similar catastrophe and that would be pretty just. But God is merciful, and sent His Son for our sins and transgressions. What else can a human being wish for?
    3.) 1 Corinthians 15:19 (NIV)”If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Christianity has not historically claimed a suffering-free life. Starting from Stephan (Acts 7), then with Early Church (Polycarp, Justin, and countless whose names we do not know), and up to the present day, Church has been persecuted, and it is not surprising. New Testament countless times talks about apposition between the world and the Church.
    Saying that, why would a death of Job’s children be such a problem, if the physical death is not the final and permanent evil event?
    The point of the story [there can be many points to it] is having a humility and gratitude. In contrast, a character distinguished by capricious and inpatient wants cannot appreciate humility.
    I see this as irony, because the very point of stories like Job, is to test one’s character by way of one’s reaction to this story. When Ehrman comes and criticizes Job and God, he thinks he is triumphant, when in reality it is the very purpose of this story to show how lack of humility will result in the very action that Ehrman does.
    Job is one of those writings that makes your character speak more than your intelligence [if we were to separate the two].
    If you’ve seen the debate, you know what I mean. You need to listen to the tone, gestures, and such, to see how Ehrman reacts to it. He acts as if he wants answers from God here, now, and on Bart’s terms.

  4. I agree with Konstantin. There is a very real humility we ought to seek to possess that no matter what happens, we will choose to trust and worship Him.

    Also, there is the reality of having an eternal perspective on things. It is very comforting to learn to be content in all things, as Paul mentioned. In fact, Jesus said of Paul “I am going to show him how much he must suffer for me”. And Paul could eventually agree, about “knowing the power of His ressurection and the fellowship of his sufferings”.

  5. Trials either make or break our faith. Keep your feet planted in firm foundation in Christ.

    Praise His Holy name!!!

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