How could a loving God allow so much evil?
All it takes is a glance at the top stories in the daily news to show us that there is an awful lot of death, destruction, pain, and suffering in our world. Perhaps God is not paying attention. Perhaps God is punishing us for our sins. Either way, it doesn’t make God look all that good.
However, much of the evil in human life is self-inflicted. Through greed, desire for power, or simply a focus on our own pleasure and well-being, we bring most of the evils in our world down upon ourselves. Unfortunately, many innocent people suffer in the process.
Why does God allow it? And is God doing anything about it?
God’s tolerance of evil has to do with preserving human freedom, and not interfering with the results of our freely made choices. God wants human beings who can choose for themselves how to live, and whether to return God’s love.
As for whether God is doing anything about it, a better question might be whether we are doing anything about it. God is continually urging us to express active love and compassion for our fellow human beings. Are we listening?
Is God paying attention?
The Apostle John says “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).
Okay, I’ve got a question: Has God followed the news lately?
It ain’t pretty. Day after day, week after week, year after year the stories of war, disease, famine, and natural disaster roll in. One hundred thousand killed here. Fifty thousand homeless there. Hospitals overflowing with the wounded. And every day, a billion or more people are living in poverty. When we add individual crimes, accidents, injuries, disease, and loss . . . well, you get the picture.
So if God is love, why is there so much pain and suffering all around the world? How could a loving God allow so much evil to exist? Doesn’t God see what’s going on down here? Why doesn’t God do something about it?!?
Oh wait, is God mad at us?
One answer thrown about in some religious circles is that God certainly does know what’s going on down here. In fact, God is punishing us for our wickedness and sin. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in this world!
Perhaps some people need to believe this to keep themselves on the strait and narrow. For many people, if there were no fear that God would punish them for their wrongdoing, it would be open season. They’d run wild! So in the sacred literature of the world, including in the Bible, God is presented as angry and wrathful, vengeful and punishing against all who violate divine law.
Many parents have had the experience of seeing their child do something wrong, thinking it’s funny, but suppressing the laughter and putting on a stern face so as not to encourage the child to do it more. God is not laughing at the pain and suffering in our world, or at our wrongdoing. But God is a very good parent, and is quite capable of putting on a stern face if that’s what is necessary to get us to straighten up and fly right. As Psalm 18:25–27 describes God:
With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
With the blameless you show yourself blameless;
With the pure you show yourself pure;
And with the crooked you show yourself twisted.
For you deliver a humble people,
But the arrogant eyes you bring down.
“With the crooked you show yourself twisted.” It’s not that God is twisted. It’s that when we oppose God’s will, God appears to us to have a twisted, wrathful face.
Though our pain and punishment often seems to come from God, the Bible provides a more accurate picture when it tells us that “evil will slay the wicked” (Psalm 34:21). It is not God, but the influence of evil that brings about the human suffering in our world. Though natural disasters do sometimes cause death tolls in the hundreds of thousands or even in the millions, most of the really big death tolls in history, running into tens of millions, have been due to human greed and lust for power, which have caused war, oppression, poverty, squalor, and rampant disease.
Yes, but couldn’t God have designed things better?
Okay, okay, we still haven’t dealt with the basic question: Why does God allow evil in the first place? Couldn’t God have designed a universe in which evil does not exist, and everyone is happy?
Quite frankly, many people would be bored in a world with no evil. Like the shadows in a painting, the darkness of evil provides the contrast in which the light of love and truth can shine more brightly. Evil also provides something for us to struggle with and develop our psychological and spiritual strength.
But the more critical reason for evil is that without the possibility of evil in human life, we would not even be human.
Fundamental to our humanity is our freedom to choose how we will live and whom we will associate with and love. Also fundamental is our rationality to understand and evaluate various choices for ourselves. And from a spiritual perspective, our most basic choice is whether or not to love God and live according to God’s laws and God’s wisdom.
Here’s the problem: If everything good and true is from God, and good is the only possible choice, we would not be free in our relationship with God. God had to allow for evil so that we would be able to exercise freedom and rationality in making real choices about whether or not we will live in loving relationship with God and with our fellow human beings.
It’s like a marriage relationship: if we can’t choose who we will love and marry, how real and deep will that marriage be? God does not want programmed robots who automatically say “I love you.” God wants human companions who freely choose to return God’s love. And that means allowing us not to return God’s love if we so desire. Evil comes when we humans choose to reject God by living contrary to God’s laws, both natural and spiritual.
Still, life really isn’t fair, is it?
That may all be well and good, but couldn’t God have toned it down a bit? Why such widespread pain and suffering? And why do innocent men, women, and children have to suffer along with the guilty? It’s not fair!
From an earthly standpoint, that’s quite true. It is not fair. All too often greedy, power-hungry people live out their lives in luxury while millions of good-hearted ordinary people suffer hardship and poverty. How many people have truly received justice by the time they die? And how many people really deserved to die the way they did?
Though there may be some long-term justice as human wrongs are gradually overcome and corruption is gradually rooted out, for most individual human beings true justice can prevail only if life continues beyond the grave.
And if God does exist, then not only is it quite possible, but very likely that life continues beyond death. That is what most of the world’s religions teach. And if life continues beyond the unfairness and injustice of this earthly life, then there is an opportunity to even the scales and provide justice for those who did not receive it during their lives here on earth.
Why do innocent people have to die?
No caring person likes to see innocent people, especially children, dying from hunger, sickness, war, and poverty. But before taking up the issue of the suffering of innocent people, let’s look at death itself.
From an earthly standpoint, death is the ultimate disaster. It is the end of our life. And if there is no afterlife, there is nothing more for us. Our candle is snuffed out.
But from a spiritual standpoint, death is simply a transition from one life to the next.
Ever since humanity first came to exist on this earth, the death rate has remained a constant 100%. Every single person born on this earth eventually dies. Some die in infancy, some in childhood, some in their adult years, and some in their old age. But we all do die.
From a spiritual standpoint, however, not a single person has ever died. For those who believe in the human spirit, that is what a human being truly is: a spiritual being. And our spirit continues right on living after our body dies.
In fact, for those who die, life generally gets better! Yes, some sorry souls have chosen a dark and destructive life. But for many if not most, the suffering and struggle of this life will be at an end, and life will continue in a much brighter, more beautiful, and more joyous place. Death is a blessing for those who die.
Okay, what about the people who are still suffering?
So maybe there is pie in the sky when you die. But how does that help with all the pain and suffering that’s still happening right here on earth?
Knowing that a happier fate awaits the innocent who suffer here on earth can help us to have some sense that God is a just God. But it’s still awfully hard to see so many people hurting, and so many wrongs being done. We’re back to our original question, aren’t we? If God is so loving, why does there have to be so much evil in the world? Why do so many people have to get hurt?
These are questions we humans will be asking ourselves until the end of time. I don’t claim to have all the answers. That’s God’s department. But here are some thoughts that might help as we humans struggle with these questions together.
Where would we be without pain and suffering?
Let’s be honest. We humans prefer to take the easy way out. If life were handed to us on a silver platter, it would be awfully tempting just to kick back, take it easy, and coast through life. Without challenge, struggle, and resistance, not only our physical muscles, but our emotional and spiritual muscles get flabby and weak. We become mere consumers instead of being active, productive, loving, and growing human beings.
The real battle is against our own greed, self-centeredness, and desire to have others serve us while we live a life of ease and luxury. Many low-income people think that if they just won the lottery, everything would be great! But very often those who win big money in the lottery end out in even worse shape than before. Ease and easy money do not develop us into our best selves.
It is precisely in the struggle against our own evils and the evils of the world around us that we build strength, endurance, and character as human beings. It is precisely in putting out the effort required to make our own lives better, and the world a better place, that we can develop depth, compassion, and a truly spiritual outlook on life.
Whose job is it to fix the evil in our world?
All this time we’ve been assuming that the evil in this world is God’s problem. And of course it is. Everything is God’s problem.
But who causes most of the evil in our world? The worst disasters are caused by human greed and selfishness. Even the high death tolls in many natural disasters are caused by shoddy buildings and poor land management on the part of humans out for a quick buck.
God does want to alleviate the pain and suffering in our world. And God does have a plan for accomplishing that. But God will not artificially intervene in human affairs and destroy our human freedom in the process. God will not take away the results of our own wrong ways of thinking, feeling, and living.
Instead, God’s plan is to work from within. God is continually working in every human heart, attempting to soften and warm us from within. God is continually working to build compassion and understanding in each one of us so that as we see the pain and suffering in our world, we will roll up our sleeves and take on the job of cleaning up the mess that we’ve made of God’s creation.
And here’s the beautiful thing about it: in the very act of working to overcome war and poverty, disease and hunger, crime and injustice, we become the intelligent, practical, compassionate people that God needs in order to turn this world around.
Yes, God is paying attention. And no, God is not angry at us. Rather, God is continually prodding and pressing us to use all our God-given abilities of intelligence, love, practicality, and compassion to overcome the evil in our world, and bring joy and happiness to our fellow human beings.
This article is © 2013 by Lee Woofenden
All good and fine but where is the proof there is life after we die? You contend that there is suffering in this material world but our spirit will go on to another world after this one. Where is the proof? Not enough to just believe blindly (like communism or some other ism).
In fact, it’s such a good question that it will require its own article for an answer. Once I’ve written and posted it, I’ll leave another reply here to let you know. Don’t miss our next exciting episode! 😉
I have now written an article responding to your question:
“Where is the Proof of the Afterlife?”
Reblogged this on Sophia's Voice and commented:
From Lee Woofenden – If God is Love…
Thanks for the reblog! I hope your readers find the article helpful.
You are welcome, I’m sure they will. 🙂
I follow my own path. The American Indian was the more ‘perfect’ human to me because he/she lived in nature and recognized “The Great Spirit”. They did not get involved in interpreted text (as far as I know) and were ‘children’ of the Great Plains and forests.
What puzzles me is: if the evil among us are destined for Hell, what about modern psychiatry explaining that sociopaths/psychopaths have ‘different’ brains than more normal people? There is a part of their brain where empathy should be elicited, but this is absent from the brains of the ‘spaths’. How can they go to Hell if they are incapable of ‘normal’ (good/kind) behavior?
And to my horror, I read somewhere that those who have not heard the Word of God go straight to Hell. How can you go to Hell for something you know not of?
I just think there is something amiss…
Thanks for your thoughts and your questions. There are many paths to God. Not all of them involve sacred texts. And it’s simply not true that people who have not heard the Word of God go straight to hell. This is just another variation on the false and non-Biblical idea that all who do not believe in Jesus Christ go to hell.
For a different view of who Jesus Christ was and what the salvation was that he accomplished, see my article, “Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?” There’s more on this also in the two articles linked near the top of the right navbar on Christian beliefs that the Bible does and doesn’t teach.
About sociopaths and hell, that is a complicated situation. I wouldn’t venture to say whether one or another sociopath will end out in heaven or in hell. Only God knows that.
The complication is that people are held spiritually responsible only for choices they make and actions they take in a state of freedom and rationality. To the extent that particular sociopaths do not have freedom and rationality due to brain dysfunction, their criminal actions will not be held against them spiritually in the next world, even if they must be charged and punished civilly in this world in order to protect innocent people.
For more on the difference between civil justice here on earth and divine justice in the spiritual world, see the article, “Lee Boyd Malvo: Human Justice vs. Divine Justice.”
When we die, we leave our physical bodies behind. This means that any physical malfunctions, including brain malfunctions, will also be left behind–though they may persist briefly in the spiritual world due to our still holding onto them mentally. Before long, however, those physical handicaps and brain malfunctions will be removed, and we will proceed onward without the limitations that they had imposed on us.
The acid test is what happens next.
If a particular person identified as a sociopath really did have the ability to make a choice, and chose to engage in crime rather than lead a decent life, he or she will continue to engage in crime in the spiritual world, and will suffer the punishment for it. Eventually, such people actually choose hell over heaven, because hell is a more congenial place for them than heaven. (See “Is There Really a Hell? What is it Like?”)
However, if a person identified as a sociopath really was acting due to a brain dysfunction rather than due to any free choice, he or she will be restored to a right mind, and will lose the urge to commit those crimes–and will then live a good and decent life instead. Once again, this may be after a transition period that can last anywhere from a very brief time up to the equivalent of several decades of life experience (in the spiritual world there isn’t really time as we know it here in the material world). Due to the fact that we commonly identify ourselves with particular behaviors that we engage in, it can take time to strip away parts of our former life here on earth that do not correspond to our true inner nature.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, in the spiritual world we are not punished for anything wrong that we have done on earth. We are only punished for wrong things that we continue to do there. So if our words and actions here on earth were prompted by physical and brain malfunctions, and were beyond our control, and we stop saying and doing those things in the spiritual world when those physical malfunctions are removed, then we are not punished because we no longer say and do those things. See Ezekiel 18:21-23.
I hope this answers your questions! Thanks again for stopping by.
I’ve always struggled with this idea – the free will of the kidnapper interferes with the free will of the innocent child he abducted, raped and tortured. If there really was free will, the innocent child would get to choose not to be kidnapped, raped and tortured. So it appears God doesn’t really give everyone free will afterall…
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.
In response, God does not give us radically free will. Especially in material-world matters, there are many things about which we are not free. We’re not free to determine the circumstances of our birth and upbringing, or most of our physical characteristics, or much of what gets done to us as children, and even many things that are done to us or that happen to us as adults.
The primary free will God gives us here on earth is free will in spiritual matters once we reach adulthood.
In plainer terms, though we don’t have free will over many of our material circumstances, we do have free will about how we will respond to them. And more generally, we have free will about whether we will bend our life toward ego, greed, self-absorption, bitterness, and so on, or whether we will bend our life toward healing, forgiveness, love, compassion, understanding, and so on. That is the basic choice we are here on earth to make. And assuming we reach reasonably normal adult functioning, we can make that choice no matter what our circumstances may be.
Here are some articles that explore these issues further:
But what about things that AREN’T others’ faults, like mental and physical diseases? What about things like cancer, AIDS, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, etc?
Why do they exist?
That’s a big question—and not one I can do justice to in a comment.
On the source of our various diseases from a spiritual perspective, please see this article: “What is the Source of Human Fragility, Sickness, and Disease?”
For a more in-depth look at the whole issue of heredity, environment, disease, and so on in relation to our eternal life, see my four-part article starting with: “How can we have Faith when So Many Bad Things happen to So Many Good People? Part 1.”
Disease does, of course, heavily affect the lives of many people here on earth. But it does not cause people to go to hell or to have any defect in their spiritual and eternal life. For example, people who have severe congenital brain injuries that cause them not to grow past childhood mentally will be freed of those handicaps after they die, and will then learn and grow until they become full adults and angels in heaven.
Can we get an honest answer here? I am so tired of folks like you dodging the question of why god allows the incredible pain and suffering that exists in this world. Basically your answer is that if god did not permit it in the first place then life would be boring (by the way – what does this say about heaven in the afterlife – a place where pain and suffering does not exist becomes a life we would not want to live……and we must live it for an eternity. My god – that sounds worse than hell itself!).
Next, you say that pain and suffering in this life is our own fault. When I think about the number of children who will suffer all day and go to bead hungry and sick on their way to a gruesome death in the next days, weeks, months, years……and ask how did this child bring this suffering on themselves it makes me physically ill. Your answer is a non answer here. Or the righteous man who loses his family to a natural disaster…..multiplied by then tens of thousands then again, your answer is nothing short of no answer at all.
Next, again blaming us for our own suffering as a necessary aspect of a life that involves “free will” is another answer that is not really an answer. Maybe it worked hundreds of years back but we understand so much more about how “free” free will actually is and what we know is that we do not have anything close to the kind of “free will” as we understood it when the concept was first proposed as an answer to this question.
The truth is that traditional answer to this question has not changed in hundreds of years – if not longer. And as we learn more and more that answer becomes less and less satisfying. And this question – and our inability to give a good answer to it anymore is perhaps the single biggest reason that we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of our children who are not interested in our church or our beliefs or our religion any more.
So where are you (we) on this. Do you (we) continue to dodge the question with wrong or evasive answers (like this one) or is their a better way.
And frankly, why is this such a huge problem for us? Where is god in helping answer this question. Why is he silent in our modern times. I pray for answers and they do not come. And by the nature of the poor answers to this question (it is not just you – nobody can answer this question well and responsibly) he is silent to everyone else as well.
Is this not the single biggest problem we face?
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and question.
However, my sense is that your real question is whether there is a God at all, and that your crisis of faith is leading you to reject any possible answers to the tough questions of life other than, “There is no God. Life sucks and then you die.” And if you decide to go that route, there’s not much I can do for you. You’re going to have to decide for yourself whether you think there’s a God.
I would suggest, though, that you not think that God is some fuzzy wuzzy bunny wunny. A milquetoast God would not make the universe in which we live, with its massive violence and cataclysms. Clearly, if there is a God, God has bigger things in mind than making sure we don’t get a scraped knee or a runny nose. Clearly God made a universe, and a world of nature, that is not soft and peaceful. And God had a reason for doing that.
I would suggest that you take seriously the idea that if there is a God, then life goes on beyond physical death, and whatever comes afterwards is going to last a lot longer than what happens during our relatively short lifetime here on earth, and what our life is like there is a lot more important than what our life is like here. If your thinking is limited to how much life sucks here on earth, you’ll never understand these questions. And if there is no God, and no afterlife, then life just plain does suck, so you might as well get used to it.
I’m not here to coddle you and kiss your boo-boos. I’m here to give you some hard truths about what life is actually like, and why it is that way, from a spiritual and eternal perspective. If you don’t want to hear it, but prefer to bitch and moan about how awful life is and how terrible God is, then once again, there’s not much I can do for you.
About our being bored if there were no evil, the point is that many of us actually make trouble because we find peaceful life to be boring, and want to shake things up. How many high school kids do stuff that they know damn well is idiotic and might get them killed, but they do it anyway for the thrills? How many adults do the same thing? We create much of the pain and suffering that we suffer.
And yes, of course most of our pain and suffering is our own fault. Not necessarily individually. Obviously young children don’t cause themselves to be abused or to starve to death. But humanity collectively brings about most of the pain and suffering that we humans suffer. As I said in the article, the number of people who suffer and die due to human causes such as war, greed, and lust for wealth and power dwarfs the number of people who die due to natural disasters. And even many of the deaths from natural disasters are due to our own stupidity in building our houses on flood plains, on fault lines, and so on. What do we expect if we do things that we know put us in danger? And what about the hundreds of millions of people who keep right on smoking and drinking and drugging themselves to death? Is that God’s fault? If we humans do idiotic things, we’re going to suffer the consequences. And unfortunately, many innocent people suffer the consequences of what all those idiots do.
And as far as free will, that is the answer to the existence of evil. If we humans didn’t choose evil, selfishness, greed, conflict, and war over good, thoughtfulness, generosity, resolving our differences, and peace, then at least 90% of the suffering that exists in our world would simply cease to exist. And the remaining 10% we could probably handle, and gradually reduce until there is really very little pain and suffering in our world. But because of our own stupid and evil choices and actions, the pain and suffering continues wholesale.
I understand that you don’t like that. But that is the fact of the matter. So stop blaming God, and look at the real cause of most of the pain and suffering in our world: ourselves.
Meanwhile, here are a few more articles that look at this question from various angles, and go into more depth on some parts of it:
If you really want answers to your questions, these articles will provide some the basics, and a little more. And there are other articles here as well. But if you just want to complain about how terrible life is and how terrible God is, that’s your choice, and I’ve got nothing for you.
Thanks for the reply but I really do not appreciate the condescending and patronizing nature of the reply. There are real and serious questions that you chose not to answer (again).
And yes – I am questioning whether there is a god at all. Of course that is embedded in the other questions.
I have spent a great deal of time and energy devoted to serious study of the issues and the problems and the answers, which as I noted, are not really answers at all.
Let me ask it this way: what would a world without god look like? It appears — when considered honestly — that it would look exactly like the world we live in. Can you help me understand where I have gone wrong with this perspective?
Unlike most christians I have met — I have actually read the bible…several times. To be honest, I was horrified at what I found. You cannot get through the first 100 pages without realizing it is not something you would want your children to read. It is also clear that it is a sometimes poorly edited compilation of ancient stories. How else do you explain two creation stories in Genesis? How do you explain that Noah collected two of every animal AND seven of every animal?
How do we deal with the fact that genetics clearly show that we are not descended from Adam and Eve. Without a literal “fall” from that original couple, what is left of the “original sin” for which Jesus is supposed to have paid the price? The point here being that important parts of the bible are clearly not to be read literally and thus we are left with no possible way to understand what is to be taken literally and what metaphorically. In other words – there seems to be no there there.
So back to the question: what would a world without god look like?
(Would truly appreciate you approach your answer with the same good faith and seriousness with which this christian has come to you).
Your questions are good ones. If you are serious about finding answers to them, I would be happy to continue the conversation. I will also continue to link other articles here, because most of your questions have already been answered in one way or another on this site. It will be up to you whether to read them. Just don’t tell me I didn’t answer your questions if you don’t bother to read the articles I recommend for you.
Now about the Bible, the idea that it is all meant to be taken literally is only a couple hundred years old at most. For most of the history of Christianity the general belief was that there are various levels of deeper meaning in the Bible. Many of the Bible commentaries in the earlier centuries of Christianity were written based on those other levels of meaning.
Until science came along and said within the last century or two that the earth, and the universe, are billions of years old, nobody much cared about whether the Creation story in Genesis was literal or not. The idea that it must be taken literally is actually a response to science, not an original Christian belief.
To cut to the chase, my view is that the first eleven chapters of the Bible were never meant to be taken literally even by their original authors. They are more in the nature of myths that were told, not because the tellers thought that’s how things actually, physically happened (which they didn’t care much about), but because the characters and events told a deeper story about the nature of the human condition, our spiritual life, and our relationship with God.
There are many articles here that deal with the Bible in general, and with those early chapters of Genesis in particular. Here are just a few of them to get you started:
Now on some of your specific issues and questions:
Since the two Creation stories were never meant to be taken literally in the first place, having two of them that disagree with each other on the order and method of creation isn’t a problem. These stories are in the Bible to tell a spiritual story, not a physical one.
Having two of every animal and seven of every clean animal in the ark also has spiritual significance. Seven in the Bible is a number representing holiness, rest, and peace.
Since the early chapters of the Bible are not meant to be taken literally, as I said, of course we are not descended from a literal Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve represent a whole early culture of humans—when humans first transitioned from being mere animals to becoming spiritually aware beings.
There also was no literal Fall, though there was a spiritual one, which is spiritually told starting in the second half of Genesis 2 and culminating in Genesis 3.
However, the Bible says nothing about original sin. That was a Catholic invention.
The Bible also says nothing about Jesus paying the price or penalty for our sins. For the last twenty years I’ve been challenging Protestants to show me even a single verse in the entire Bible that says that Jesus paid the price or the penalty for our sins. None has been able to do so. That’s because the Bible simply doesn’t say that. For some more things that the Bible doesn’t say that have now become widespread Christian doctrine, see: “Christian Beliefs” that the Bible Doesn’t Teach.
As for what’s meant to be taken literally and what’s meant to be taken metaphorically, here’s the basic idea: All of the Bible can be read metaphorically. Some of it, including many of the basic teachings and commandments about how to live, are also meant to be taken literally. But that is a complex subject, and not one that can be covered here in a comment.
And what would a world without God look like? In my opinion, it would look like nothing at all, because it would not exist. The idea that this vast universe with all of its incredible and intricate complexity just sort of happened to happen is, in my view, too ridiculous for words. I’m aware that lots of atheists these days believe this. But to me, that is in itself an incredible leap of faith: to think that it was just some sort of random fluke, and that we humans came about through “the fortuitous concourse of atoms,” as Epicurus and his followers thought.
But once again, you can believe whatever you wish. Meanwhile, I recommend that you read the articles I linked for you in my previous comment and in this one. There are good answers to your questions if you seriously want answers, and don’t just want to say “Screw it!” and become an atheist.
I am a good loving person and I have met a lot of wicked people in my life. At some point, I read a book on psychopaths, to understand who these wicked people are and how they think. It appears as though God waits until these wicked people get to the spirit world to decide their faith but in the meantime, we all suffer on earth. I guess God gives us the choice to do good or bad on earth and judgement day is only once we enter the spirit world. As you can see, I am not a big fan of God watching people suffer instead of doing something right away about these wicked people, who thrive while we suffer.
No thinking, good-hearted person is in favor of pain and suffering. Neither is God in favor of pain and suffering. However, our individual and collective choices as human beings have brought about a great deal of pain and suffering despite all that. The above article is a very brief answer to a very difficult and complex question that has been bedeviling thoughtful people for thousands of years. To do it justice, I recommend that you read Swedenborg’s book Divine Providence. (The link is to my book listing for it on this blog.) That is where you’ll find the full answer to the question of human evil, pain, and suffering in the face of a loving God.