Why should we never question God?

Why is there suffering in the world?

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Suffering / theodicy

Not only since the Holocaust, the industrial annihilation of the Jewish people in the Nazi era, has the question arises: “Why does God allow suffering?” This question is also known as the theodicy question. The word comes from ancient Greek (from theós = God and díkē = justice ‘) and denotes the point at which God's omnipotence and God's goodness seem irreconcilable. The philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BC) is credited with his classic formulation: “Either God wants to eliminate evils and cannot do it: Then God is weak, which does not apply to him, or he can and does not want to : Then God is envious of what is alien to him, Or he does not want it and cannot: Then he is weak and envious at the same time, so not God. "

What does the scriptures say?


Scripture connects the theodicy question primarily with the figure of the IJob. Only with the Book of Job does the Old Testament dissolve the conviction that sickness and suffering are a punishment for apostasy from God; the righteous would be blessed with good fortune and riches. It is true that living according to God's commandments is a good, often happy life. It is wrong to automatically interpret the onset of misfortune as a punishment from God. About the biblical Job ("This man was blameless and righteous; he feared God and avoided evil", Job 1,1) breaks in all conceivable suffering that a person can experience. His wife even tells him to curse this God who allows such a thing. But Job does not allow himself to be dissuaded from his faith by his wife, nor by the false consolations and attempts of his friends to explain: “If we accept the good from God, should we not also accept the bad?” (Job 2:10) The question of suffering is resolved in Job not theoretically, but biographically and historically, in that a God appears who is in the midst of the drama of human existence as a compassionate God: “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt and their loud lamentation about theirs I heard drivers. I know their suffering ”(Ex 3.7). This is also recognized by the letter of James, in which it says: “You have heard of the endurance of Job and seen the end that the Lord brought about. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion ”(Jas 5:11). With Jesus comes the certainty: We do not have to give up in suffering because God does not give up on us, because "God loved the world so much" that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him does not perish, but has eternal life ”(Jn 3:11) God on the cross is the only image that can withstand the innocent suffering of creation. “The cross is in fact the place where God's compassion for our world is perfectly visible” (Pope Benedict XVI.)

The YOUCAT little catechesis


Why is there suffering in the world?

There are people who claim that they have an answer to the question of why there is suffering on this earth. I never believed you. In no book in the world (and not even in the Bible) can I find an answer to this. “Evil in the world”, says YOUCAT 51, “is a dark and painful secret”. One day our eyes will open and maybe our mouths too. We will be able to ask God himself: “Why did you allow all of this? All the tears of the lost, all the sorrows of the innocent children? You could have prevented it? ”In the face of the suffering, even Jesus became unsure for a moment. Before he got caught in the machinery of death, he sweated blood, in agony he sent questions into a seemingly answerless sky. His father did not prevent the walk to the cross - and finally Jesus did not avoid his terrible suffering, for which he had no “why” but a “why”.

© Photo by Il ragazzo on Cathopic.

No answer, but a solution

Heavenly Father did not send us an answer but sent us a solution. Or rather, a savior. YOUCAT 101 says: “Christ our Redeemer chose the cross to bear the guilt of the world and to suffer the suffering of the world. In this way, through his perfect love for God, he brought the world back home. ”How should one understand that? To die for love? And what good does it do if someone dies in the middle of dying?

The Christian faith is based on two assumptions. The first is found in YOUCAT 51; There it says: “We know one thing ... for sure: God is one hundred percent good. He can never be the author of anything bad. ”God would no longer be God if he - as some esotericists believe - were good and bad at the same time. Such a god could only be despised. But if God is not the cause of our misery - who is?

Looking for a perpetrator

“God does not want people to suffer and die”, says YOUCAT 66. That is the second great assumption. The blood and tears of mankind so often have human and natural causes. It is not just the monstrous tyrants who send a whole people into the concentration camp ovens or let 30 million Ukrainian farmers starve to death. No, we little ones are also the cause of suffering and contribute to the misery of the world every day, sometimes in a remarkable way when a small businessman no longer serves Jews - sometimes almost "normal" when we let someone starve to death in the office by the outstretched arm.

We are so free to destroy ourselves and our fellow and environment. In an invisible way, the black liquor of sin has coated and poisoned everything that is. Even natural disasters - tsunamis, earthquakes, pandemics - are like a profound response to evil in the form of the atrocities that people do to one another as if it were nothing. People ask themselves: How did we manage to make the good, true and beautiful in creation appear so sullied and destroyed? One can also imagine that the creator of all things hardly recognizes his creation anymore.

© Photo by Marcin Czerniawski on Unsplash.

Paradise reloaded

The “original idea of ​​God for man”, says YOUCAT 66, “was paradise: life forever and peace between God, man and their environment, between man and woman.” Why have we lost paradise? Well - God did not create us as puppets; he made us a bit like himself, gave us that which only God and human beings stand out: an almost limitless freedom. What a risk! In freedom one can become a murderer. It is thought differently: In "Freedom we should choose God, love him above all else, do what is good and avoid evil as much as we can." (YOUCAT 285) Is the world a failed experiment of God? Wouldn't it be logical if God would send another great flood into which corrupt humanity and the tortured earth sink forever?

God is not like that. “God is love” (1 Jn 4: 8). In YOUCAT 33 it says: “Faith holds on to this word, although the experience of suffering and malice in the world makes people doubt whether God is really dear.” God does something incomprehensible: He does not destroy us. He also does not look on indifferently by keeping himself out of the mess. He lets the tragedy of humanity touch his heart - a heart full of compassion. He sends the dearest thing he has - his son - to us in the death zone. That should tell us: Where people suffer, God suffers. We sometimes say: someone suffers like an animal. No, someone like God suffers here. Even more: God does not suffer like a person, but as a person, so that we know what the Eternal is like in his innermost being. He suffers as if to prove perfect love, a love without limits, a love in which one gives one's life for the other. And he suffers so that no one can say: "I know a place where you, God, have not been: in my pain!"

God does not stop at a demo ("Look, I, the innocent, suffer from your misery too!"). In his universal compassion, the Creator of the world builds us humans a way back to paradise, a bridge over the abysses of death. Christians have good reason to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only bridge in life. "It is to us humans," it says in the Acts of the Apostles, "no other name under heaven has been given through which we are to be saved."

Jesus - the bridge into life

Jesus takes everything that God and people can only look away from on his hat. We should atone and atone for our nonsense. He's atone quite differently. We would have to pay, also pay for our failures. But he pays all outstanding bills. We have to suffer, we also suffer some things that we have to ascribe to ourselves. But he carries the sins of the whole world on the cross. We would have to die as a punishment. He dies for us - dies on our way back to paradise the most terrible death that antiquity thought up for criminals: the torture death on the cross.

And then the miracle happens: He who has taken on all the misery of sin, all suffering and suffered for us, - he does not remain in death. The father takes him out of the realm of death. Christ lives and shows himself to the witnesses of his resurrection as a living, tangible person. The resurrection of Jesus was not a solo number and not a "once and never again". The resurrection of Jesus is your and my life insurance. It is the bridge that leads us out of the impermanence and futility of our days. How? More could be said about this than can be said here. Just this much: "Because everything is not over with death, joy and hope have come into the world." (YOUCAT 108) In any case, in the midst of suffering, Christians have the crazy certainty that behind all the pain the Easter morning sun rises.

With the sun behind you ...

With the Easter sun behind you, you can understand when there are people who even say: “Thank you God that you put a few obstacles in my way. They brought me back to my senses and back on the path of life! ”And in any case, what St. Francis de Sales recognized: “Your suffering would be as heavy as the mountains if you had to bear it alone. But it is a yoke that the Lord helps you carry, and He carries you and your burden. ”∎