Why Do Humans Suffer?

The human condition is simultaneously marvellous and dreadful. We could write so much about how existence can be wonderful, and indeed on balance is wonderful for many people. Yet it must be acknowledged that for many people life is mostly full of misery. Even God’s Word teaches this reality.

The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Psalm 90:10

Even worse is the reality that some lives are short and painful. Children are abused and killed. Some are used as soldiers and made to kill others. So why do humans suffer so much?

The real question is – who is responsible for such things?

It’s an easy thing to blame God, or to view suffering as an argument against His existence. But is that a rational response?

The Bible is often written in poetic language, but clearly presents the following facts:

  1. God was responsible for the production of all things, including human beings as creatures with the capability to reflect his own qualities (Gen 1:27).
  2. Human beings were endowed with the gift of free will – the ability to make free moral choices, for better or for worse. For a reason, or reasons, not fully explained, a creature from the spirit realm – identified as Satan the Devil – was permitted to influence humans into making bad choices, and has been doing so over a long period of time. (Gen 3:4)
  3. Despite this influence humans often exercise their free will in overwhelmingly positive ways.
  4. The end in view is that the human race will eventually exercise free will only in positive ways. At that point God will have achieved the seemingly impossible – the production of creatures in His image that just like Him make free choices, but always for the common good.