Chapter 1 - The Problem of Pain

The Theological Problem of Pain

Why does God permit Adversity?

Perhaps in the end we will discover that the problem of pain and adversity lies at the center of all Christian doubt.

Indeed, there is no more challenging argument to the Christian than the argument “If God is a loving God and if He is all powerful, then how could He allow pain and adversity?” This argument is a formidable challenge to our faith, but it is only facade that covers the deeper challenge: “Is there a God at all?”

If the answer is “Yes, there is a God” then the response is “If there is a God, then He is either not loving or not all powerful because He permits pain and adversity to exist.”

The argument continues, “The first baby born without arms is an irrefutable argument that a loving caring God does not exist.” Or, “Who is this God who could prevent the untimely death of a mother or a father or a child, but does not do so? Or “How can a loving God allow disasters, disease and hunger? Why does He stand by when horrible crimes are committed?

How can this loving God allow deformities, idiocy, obesity, dwarfism, and ugliness? How can He who can prevent them allow accidents and life-long losses, suicide, divorce, cancer, blindness and all manner of other tragedies both physical and emotional? How could a loving God permit slavery and holocausts and children who just go wrong and never come back? Why does He permit our heart to be ripped apart?

It is only after we have the courage to challenge Him with these questions that the real answer emerges and the power of scripture becomes evidentand His presence becomes real. Challenges like these prove Him. Many are reluctant to challenge Him with the problem of pain. But those who do discover that He invites the challenge and Truth emerges from the cobwebs of avoided issues and circumventions. When we challenge scripture and watch it respond, we see inerrency and truth more clearly than ever and stand in awe at the very thought of the Creator.

So let us take a leap of faith and face the Problem of Pain head on and see where scripture takes us.