There can be peace on subject of suffering

There can be peace on subject of suffering

Oxford professor emeritus John Lennox (pictured above) was asked how we can believe in a God of love when there is so much suffering in the world?

Well, that’s the hardest question. My first response is to say I have no simplistic answer. I don’t even like to talk in terms of an answer, but I think there’s a way of thinking about it that can bring peace to many people.

First of all, there are two sources for pain and evil: there’s what we call moral evil, the bad things people do to each other, and then there’s what we sometimes call natural evil – things like coronavirus, tsunamis, earthquakes and cancers – where as far as we know human beings aren’t directly involved, and that can be the more difficult problem.

Secondly, and this is where my heart goes out to people, there are two viewpoints: it’s one thing to be an oncologist treating a patient, and it’s another thing to be a 24-year-old mother who’s just been told she’s got an inoperable tumour. There’s the inner perspective of the sufferer and the outward perception of the observer.

Now the observers will ask the intellectual questions: how can you possibly reconcile this with the good God? Many people have told me straight: “I’ve given up on God when I heard these things.” And I said, “It’s evil, isn’t it?” “Yes,” they say, “it’s absolutely evil.”

But where do you get your concept of evil from? Because one of your fellow atheists is a man called Richard Dawkins, and he follows the atheism down and comes to the conclusion that this universe is just as you’d expect it to be if, at the bottom, there’s no good, no evil and no justice. And I said, “Look, I’m puzzled. If there is no good or evil, why are you talking about problems of evil?”


Read the whole story in the May 2024 issue of New Life Newspaper.

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