Why Does God Permit Suffering?

I don’t have all the answers. These are some of my thoughts.

Innocent children sometimes suffer much, while guilty adults sometimes suffer little. So the suffering that one experiences is not directly and proportionately related to how much one sins.

However, generally speaking, if people in the world sinned less, then the world would have less suffering. Think of all the suffering caused directly by some persons’ sins. Without grave sin, there would not be war, or serious crimes. Without grave sin, there would be no murder, aggravated assault (causing bodily injury), rape, abuse of children. Without grave sin, there would be no racism, slavery, and hatred. The amount of suffering that would disappear from the world if there were no grave sins is immense.

Other sufferings are indirectly related to sins, as when people are harmed by another persons’ selfishness — but by means of the disorder caused when many persons behave in a self-centered manner. World hunger is not cause deliberately by anyone, but is a result of having so much greed and callousness toward others in the world. The same for poverty and similar sufferings.

Disease is not caused directly or indirectly by sin. However, if people did not sin gravely, they would, I believe, end up being much more loving and more compassionate toward others than is the case today. And this would result in better healthcare and therefore less suffering for those who have a medical condition.

God permits us the use of free will, and this implies that people can sin. Then sin is the cause of most of the sufferings in the world. The sufferings that would still be left, if people simply did not sin seriously, would be lessened in effect by the help of selfless loving persons, freed from sin.

Could God not do more to lessen our sufferings, despite our sins? He already does do this to some extent. We cannot know the many grave sufferings that God averted by His providence and grace. And we cannot know how much harm God averted also in each of our lives.

Why doesn’t God do more to lessen the sufferings of the world? If people would pray more, God would do more. We have the responsibility to lessen the sufferings of others by prayer. God has given us a means, but few persons use that means to its fullest effect.

I don’t know all the answers to these questions on suffering. These are simply some of my thoughts on this topic.


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6 Responses to Why Does God Permit Suffering?

  1. Thomas Mazanec says:

    Excellent article.

  2. Alex says:

    Enough talks of how more suffering is necessary for salvation. I am fed up with such sermons. I think priests who preach more suffering should be banned from preaching as the least measure. The greatest saints like Padre Pio tried every effort to alleviate suffering, both personal and in the society.
    We have enough sad history of “christian” caesars and kings who fought their own wars and lived lives of luxury and adultery at the expense of suffering subjects be they peasants or slaves. Rightfully Constantine is NOT a saint in the Catholic Church, as well as most of the medieval kings. We got the torture and burning of people by those same “christian” kings and their subjected lords and also sadly bishops who were worse than Judases and literally crucified the Lord again and again.

    The tip of the iceberg is when we hear statements like “If someone brings universal happiness, eliminate poverty and most of the diseases, that one must be the antichrist! We are not meant to live happily on this life, therefore that would be the great deception”.

    [edited by RLCJ]

    Thanks God the Catholic Church is in the frontline leading the spiritual efforts!
    Of course the suffering won’t end until the Second Coming of Jesus, as well as the sin that causes it. However many people may choose to sin less, to love and believe more, and to help their brethren as the Gospel urges them to do, in the Era of Peace. And let say it again, many fanatics and evil doers will simply die out in the Chastisement, and maybe that’s why the Chastisement is needed and allowed by God – to make it possible the Era of Peace that otherwise those unrepentant persons holding key positions would NEVER ALLOW to happen even when they hide behind false theology.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Alex, please keep your comments focused on Catholicism and on whatever article you are offering comments about. No “antigravity” and similar claims, please.

    • Alex says:

      pretty much Catholic comments right on the large topic you yourself started. I hope at least you have read and reflect on my answer that you did not post. Here is what the pope said yesterday about Covid crisis, and also inventions:

      Everything is interconnected
      Pope Francis went on to highlight the interconnectedness of everything, pointing out that we are united in nature and person, and thus every social injustice and act of marginalization against poor people also affects the environment.

      He added that God instills in our hearts a new and generous spirit that enables us to abandon individualism in order to promote the common good.
      It is a “spirit of justice that mobilizes us to ensure universal access to vaccines and the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights; a spirit of communion that allows us to generate a different, more inclusive, just, sustainable economic model,” the Pope said.

      A better, post-pandemic society

      The Pope then reminded everyone that “we do not come out of a crisis the same, we either come out better or worse.”
      However, he noted that “the problem lies in having the inventiveness to look for paths that are better” in our efforts to deal with the crisis we are experiencing due to the pandemic.
      He thus prayed that God may comfort the suffering and welcome those who have died into His kingdom.

      He also implored our Lord that for us, pilgrims on earth, He may grant “the gift of a new brotherhood, a universal solidarity, so that we may recognize the good and beauty he has sown in each of us, to strengthen bonds of unity, of common projects, of shared hopes.”

  3. Michael says:

    I don’t know if there is a theological answer to this but I was pondering it earlier. If God could make the BVM without sin, why wouldn’t he start creating the rest of humanity without sin again as well?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Her Immaculate Conception, according to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, occurred in a similar manner as humanity would have used to propagate the human race “if not for the Fall”. IN other words, she thought that all human persons would have had a similar conception, if Adam and Eve had not fallen from grace. I don’t necessarily agree with her on that point, but it is an interesting claim.

      Humanity lost this possibility (if she were correct) due to the fall from grace. This allows for a world with suffering, allows for a suffering Savior, and allows for persons to attain a much higher degree of sanctity via suffering than in a world without suffering, perhaps.

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