Published: November 7, 2016

sam-squareI thought I’d explain why God allows suffering in the world, knock that one on the head because, let’s face it, the question’s been rumbling on for a while now. You’re welcome, don’t mention it.

Watching my kids grow from babies, it occurred to me there’s a bunch of wonderful things baked into us; things like justice, creativity, and love. When my daughter was 8 months old she’d cry when witnessing another kid have something taken off them. Compassion and justice are pretty difficult concepts to get across to what is basically a big crying, weeing chicken nugget that NEVER sleeps – so I’m pretty sure we didn’t teach her what justice was.

I reckon we have enough of these little Godly things built into us, that if we used them properly we’d live in paradise. But we don’t, do we? Anyone who’s been to Swindon can confirm that. And God doesn’t seem to step in when he really should, so what gives? Why do some kids get blood cancer? Why Rupert Murdoch?

Looking at the long game, the human race has very nearly solved cancer, in fact when we put some effort in, great things happen; look at the global efforts to eradicate smallpox in the ‘50s, or initiatives like Medecins Sans Frontieres. But when you put metrics to the effort, another picture is revealed. Yes we’ve spent X thousand man-hours trying to cure a certain type of blood cancer, but then we’ve spent 188 million man-hours watching Gangnam Style on Youtube, haven’t we? Yes we have.

In the UK, we’ve just dug deep and finally invested £130 million in radiotherapy kit; a whole nations’-worth of cancer treatment. That sounds good. But then a Spanish football team just spent £293 million getting a single chap to play football for them. We’re an interesting species, let’s face it.

The point of the Adam and Eve story was that we [humans] are capable of living in paradise, but we choose not to, we choose Gangnam Style and Donald Trump. We choose Sunny Delight and Wonga. We choose to turn our backs on God-given abilities. I do it, you do it, we all do it. As theological writer Francis Spufford put it, we share this “human propensity to f*ck things up”.

We are magnificent, ethereal, productive little so-and-so’s, created and clothed in wonder and joy, and called to walk with a creator in such a way that reveals the paradise just out of reach.

The question is not ‘Why does God allow suffering’, the question is why do we?

Blog by Sam Cavender, Senior Communications Officer


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