"I cannot believe in a God who allows so much suffering in the world." This common objection is very real in the hearts and minds of certain unbelievers. And they honestly cannot seem to get past this stumbling block.
But just think about what people are really saying. They object to how much people suffer in the world, and that God doesn't seem to be doing much about it. So God is the target of their objection. "It's his fault. He could stop the suffering if he is real, and he's not stopping it."
In a previous article entitled, "Why Does God Allow So Much Suffering," I addressed some theological factors related to this issue. But there is also the matter of reason and logic. It just doesn't make sense to reject Christ because of the world's suffering. And here is why.
If you are rejecting Christ because of what other people are suffering, then you would likely continue to reject Christ if your own personal suffering reached the level that others are experiencing. You would likely blame God for your own suffering, just like you are blaming Him for the suffering of others. That would seem logical to you given what you know about God, and what you don't know.
But there is no way to accurately discuss Christianity without also discussing both heaven and hell. Jesus talked about those places quite a bit, as did the authors of the New Testament. And the reality of heaven and hell make it illogical to reject Christ because of suffering.
You see, Christianity presents the message that God left heaven and came to earth to suffer on the cross to pay for our sins. So God chose to endure suffering in our place.
But it goes even further. The New Testament makes it clear that there are only two places a person can go after death. Heaven or hell. And none of us have a deep understanding of either one. It's only when you go there that you quickly begin to gain a deep awareness of what it's like to exist in that realm. One is a place of far deeper joy and ecstasy than you and I have ever experienced on earth. And the other is a place of torment that words cannot adequately describe.
Now if you are rejecting Christ because of suffering in the world, then you are no doubt including in that "suffering" the message of hell. Remember, you cannot accurately discuss Christianity without including what the Bible teaches about heaven and hell.
But here's the rub. No one in hell wants to stay there. Everyone wants out. That's logical, right? Give a person five minutes in paradise and then five minutes in hell. Do you honestly think anyone would choose to stay in hell? It's not logical to hold such a position.
Now add to that fact the experience of becoming a Christian. The teaching of the Bible and the experience of millions of believers is that when you repent of your sin and accept Christ as your Savior, God gives you a "new heart." That is, He pours His love into your heart, and it's this love which motivates a believer to love God in return. "We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
So picture this: A man named "John" goes to hell. He always blamed God for the suffering in the world. He rejected Christ and the message of the cross. And he died and went to hell where he immediately began to experience pain that he didn't know was possible.
One day, Jesus comes and walks through the gates of hell. He finds John and makes him an offer. Christ says, "John, if you will follow me out of here and come worship me forever, I would love to take you to paradise. Things are perfect there."
John responds, "But I hate you, and so as much as I hate being here, I have a feeling I would hate being in paradise too." Imagine the Lord responding, "OK then, I can give you a new heart, new attitudes, and new desires. How about if I miraculously place a love in your heart so that you want to love me in return? How does that sound to you?"
Then imagine John saying, "Lord, I must first tell you something. It's something I was never willing to admit while I lived on earth. I now know I am a sinner. In fact, the moment I arrived in hell, I somehow understood exactly why I was sent here. I have sinned against you, my Creator. I never got it back then, but now I do. And I am so thankful that you came here today to rescue me. Yes Lord, I recognize that I need that new heart. I need your forgiveness and your love. I need You."
Doesn't it seem logical that John would accept Christ's offer for a new heart and eternal life in heaven?
You see my friend, it is illogical to believe that John would decline the Lord's offer and choose to remain in a place of utter anguish and torment. It is logical to believe that John would stop blaming God for suffering, and instead, begin to trust the One who suffered in our place on the cross. That's the logical response given John's suffering in hell.
When you consider the suffering that goes on in hell, you begin to see why it is truly illogical to reject Christ because of suffering in the world. Many people think it makes sense to do so, but it's because they haven't really thought through it completely.
You see, once a person goes to hell, there will be no visits from Jesus. Instead, Christ's offer is being given to you right now.
When you stand before God on Judgment Day, you will either be in His family, or outside His family. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." (2 Cor. 5:10) Your eternal destiny will be sealed before you enter that courtroom. Your eternity will either be spent in total bliss and peace, or complete misery.
And so it is simply illogical to blame God for eternal suffering after all He has done to provide us with a way out. But make no mistake about it my friend. Your free pardon will not be available for very long. The day is coming when you will either look back with gratitude, or with horror, depending upon what you did with Jesus.
This is the message of the Bible. And this is why you would be wise to pursue this matter above all others. It's only logical to do so. Most of us don't enjoy seeing others suffer, and none of us enjoy suffering personally. We seek our own comfort and our own good.
Thankfully, God was earning eternal benefits for us long before we entered this world. That's how much God loves us. Why else do you think Jesus would suffer and die on the cross for sinners like us?