Theology And Suffering

Where do we live? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have said a lot this week about atheology and the idea that we have God in a specific niche for how He is supposed to work in the world. Atheists think that God is not filling this niche and then abandon theism. We need to realize that we can be just as prone to that kind of thinking where we see God on a functional basis. God is not the ground of being, but rather a being who fills in the gaps for us and is supposed to comfort us. This has been known as moral therapeutic deism.

Final Fantasy IX has as its intro a song called “A Place To Call Home.” That’s really what we are to think as theists. This world is supposed to be our home. Yes. I am going to dispute the song that says “This world is not my home. I’m just passing through.” This world was created for God to dwell with man forever in, and if we read the end of Revelation, He has not abandoned that plan.

When we have suffering in our lives, we can dwell on it and get stuck in and let it consume us. Note I am not saying to never be depressed. When something tragic happens, by all means mourn. I am not telling you to be a stoic and to suppress all emotion and never feel sad.

That being said, there comes a time when you have to move on with your life. My divorce hurt immensely when it happened, but I couldn’t stay there. Did I have to spend some time mourning? Yes. Some times will take longer than others and to some extent I still mourn everyday, but when it comes to fighting evil in my own life, I couldn’t stay there.

If we focus on ourselves in the evil, we will likely have an entitlement mindset and think that we are even owed by God the solution that we want to our problem. It’s easy to go from “God didn’t do what He was supposed to” to “God doesn’t care about me” to “God doesn’t exist.”

However, we can also go another route and say that we are aware of the evil and we are going to do something to fight against the evil. I make it a point to try to help men who are going through divorce now whenever I can. I have been pleased to hear that my forthrightness has been a blessing to some men. I don’t want any man to walk this road alone.

That sense of injustice that we can have can drive us to do something about evil. If you think sex trafficking is an evil, you’re more prone to do something about it. The same with abortion or cults or anything else out there. Rather than give up on what you see as a problem, you go out there and do your part to help deal with the problem.

Yet I need to say one more thing about suffering. Some people can get so caught up in themselves and their suffering that they can think that they don’t belong at all in the world. We can claim the internet has led us to have global connections, but we have also missed local connections. How well do you know your next-door neighbors? Do you even know them at all? I notice living in an apartment complex on a seminary that most of us when we go home at the end of the day, we stay there.

It’s easy to feel alone in the world and feeling alone can easily lead to an idea that you don’t belong, especially when suffering hits. This can then lead to suicide. In order to think that is the best response, in some level, you must have built in an idea of God that He is supposed to do XYZ or else He doesn’t love you.

To a degree, it makes sense to us, but it is also very much focused on ourselves. One of the greatest helps we could have to dealing with suffering is to have good doctrine about God and our relationship to Him. That has made a tremendous difference in the suffering that I have experienced. If you are thinking this way, please go somewhere like here. Reach out to someone. You are not an accident and you do belong here.


Possibly tomorrow we will return to reviewing the atheist book I have been reviewing.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth.)

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