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December 4, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

What stories in the Bible deal with the problem of suffering/evil?

Here are the six core narratives that deal with suffering or evil in the Bible:

  1. Adam/Eve (origin of Evil)
  2. Job
  3. Joseph
  4. Moses
  5. Jesus.  Jesus knows our pain.
  6. Paul (Romans and elsewhere Paul is an incredible theodicy on the question of pain and suffering)

Honorable Mention.  Here are another five which deal with evil or suffering:

  1. 2 Peter
  2. Habacchuck
  3. Judges
  4. Samson
  5. David

In one sense its quite true that every story deals with evil, but I think these most directly deal with the key issues.

Its also worth paying attention to the wisdom literature, which isn’t necessarily directly connected to a specific narrative or allegory.  Psalms about God’s love for us, His faithfulness, and the value of wisdom all point to answers to the problem of suffering and/or evil.

Remembering what God promises versus what he doesn’t promise is also critical.  Psalms 23 in my opinion is helpful.  We’re not promise pain free or suffering free lives.  We’re promised spiritual comfort in our pain.

Stories which speak to our finiteness and lack of wisdom, and point to God’s overall infiniteness and wholeness also point to an answer to this philosophical and theological issue.

For more insights on the problem of suffering/evil I would suggest this list of Bible verses.

Here are four things Christians should do in suffering, which may be helpful to some.

The ultimate question is seeing things more from God’s perspective than ours.  This really makes all the difference, but is hard in practice, especially in the middle of pain and suffering to fully understand.

Also our understanding of Heaven and eternity, as well as God’s purposes for us are critical to understanding the overall problem of pain, suffering, and evil.

Here is a pretty good response to the Problem of Evil and Suffering from Ravi Zacharias:

Here are more answers on the Problem of Evil from Ravi Zacharias on YouTube.  I can’t guarantee they are all good, but if you investigate enough you should find real answers to your philosophical and perhaps even theological questions on the problem of evil.

Ravi even did a lecture on Pain and suffering which focused on CS Lewis here (it starts at 9:45).

Philosopher Peter Kreeft’s answers to the problem of pain, suffering, and evil are also pretty helpful here:


Leave a Comment
  1. compassioninpolitics / Dec 4 2016 9:34 pm

    Also this:

    Every virtue is an option and reason:
    1) empathy
    2) determination
    3) resilience and grit
    4) courage
    5) trust, faith, and obedience

    Dust into diamonds (metaphor/song)

    Suffering can help us see in a different way:
    1) spiritually
    2) long view-wisdom
    3) eye toward heaven–the ultimate goal

    The inverse question is: How is pride or fear stopping me?

    How can we better go through periods of suffering???

  2. compassioninpolitics / Dec 4 2016 9:41 pm

    Also this:

    Purposes for suffering
    1) wisdom, discernment
    2) perspective shift/attitude shift/heart shift
    3) teach others (mentor, coach)
    4) empathy
    5) community
    6) chistlikeness (see also model, empathy)
    7) progress, growth (athletics)

    Random thoughts:
    Metaphors/analogies and suffering and Bible

    Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Stanford

    Jewish theodicy on suffering

    Psychological issue of suffering

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