Steven Fry and the question of suffering part 3

Concluding our three-part series in which we take a closer look at a short viral video in which British actor Steven Fry “annihilates God,” we further tackle the concept of living inside of a cursed world.

The question that most skeptics and atheists ask is why would God create (they presume intentionally create) a world with such suffering? The answer is that this is a cursed world, of which we were born into, like it or not. But Fry’s question implies something further–that it’s God’s responsibility to end suffering. After all, an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God would do such a thing, right? If he doesn’t, then that means He’s a moral monster; which in turn implies that we are better than God because we have compassion where supposedly God doesn’t; and we demand that God do what he ought (which makes us God’s god). But the answer to the question is not that God does not care about human suffering, nor that he can’t end human suffering. As mentioned in the last post, He has designated a time when the curse will be lifted. Until then, God placed the responsibility to ease pain and suffering on this earth upon us.

When Jesus walked the earth as a man, he did not raise his fist at his father and demand that God do something about the people living in a harsh Roman rule, or that God snap his fingers and wipe away suffering; nor did Jesus act like the Messiah the people were expecting by overthrowing Jerusalem’s captors and taking his place on Jerusalem’s throne. Jesus was not a 20th Century social justice advocate demanding that the Roman government develop a program to take care of the poor. So what did Jesus do to alleviate suffering? He simply walked the earth as a man, and did what he could on a personal level (http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?s=Bibles&q=Jesus+healing).

Did what he could, you ask? I’ll refrain from commenting too much on that for fear of getting off track, but even Jesus did not heal the entire world–nor even everyone with whom he came into contact. Let’s look at John 14:12: “What I’m about to tell you is true. Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things.” What does this mean? All you need to do is read the book of Acts and pay attention to the immensely overwhelming Christian missions work that has gone on around the world, and continues to go on, for the past two thousand years.

But you still ask, “When Jesus walked the earth, he healed the sick one by one. He did all this as a man. Why?” Simpy because Jesus was being our prime example, preparing us to do what The Father wishes us to do. It’s rather lengthy to insert into this blog post, but take a look at Luke 10 here.

Paul, the apostle, said to the Ephesian church, “10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph.2:10).” His teaching on love to the Corinthian church is important to study as well.

And Jesus’ stern parable of The Sheep and the Goats tells us The Father’s heart regarding our deep responsibility as His ambassadors here on earth.

So Steven Fry and those like him have a right to pose questions, and even be a little angry at what they see around them. But this should stir them to action instead of cursing God. But their perspective has been skewed. God is not a superhero who swoops down and saves everyone who is in trouble; nor is he a magic Genie who does what we command. No, He is God, the supreme and sovereign king of the universe. We are subject to Him. Everyone will answer to Him. And He has given us charge, that through the power of The Holy Spirit, we are to love and take care of those around us. What has Steven Fry and others like him done to alleviate suffering? More importantly, what have you done?

 

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