Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is Suffering Evil?

We've known Daniel almost his whole life.  He is now in his early 30's, and has long rejected God.  Not without reason.  He's seen some fairly awful things said and done in God's name.

In recent correspondence with my husband, Daniel revealed that though he is an atheist, he believes in absolute truth.  Mark asked him what he believes is absolute truth, and Daniel responded that he believes that pleasure is good, and suffering/pain is evil.

I thought of sadism.  And masochism.  In these, both pain and pleasure are probably evil.

I thought of the fitness motto: no pain, no gain.  A little pain may bring long-term benefit--or healthy pleasure.

I thought of life-saving surgeries.

How about labor and delivery?

These are all examples of physical suffering, but I wonder if the same concepts apply to mental or spiritual suffering?   Are there mental pleasures that are destructive to oneself or others?  Are there painful disciplines that bring long term benefits?  Are there piercing losses that bring long-term mental or spiritual health?  Can pain and suffering birth new spiritual and mental life?


lisa croker said...

I think lifes experience and even accounts in Gods Word show us that regardless of the root of suffering there can be benefits for the long term...
I like the examples you have given - they are times of suffering which are ultimately for the good...

We also don't have the perspective God has. I know its a silly analogy but we have seen this in the simple area of our pets having operations and having the cone on their heads to keep them from picking at their wounds... they pine and they sulk and you know they are begging us to just remove this cone - their ears are itchy, they've lost their rear vision and at time their balance... BUT, we know this is working FOR them and in fact if we remove the cones we may prolong their troubles!! Our perspective sees their suffering as beneficial and temporal - they see it as the end of their world and they can't fathom what we know... does that make sense?

Tammie said...

That's a good analogy. It's good when we can see that God's understanding is far above ours.