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Suffering and sickness in the Holy Bible – Part 1

By Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide
31 October 2021   |   3:38 am
Scripture asserts suffering is inevitable in a fallen world (Gen. 3:14·19; Psa 10:1-18; 22:1-31; 38:1-22; 90:1-17; Mark 13:12-13; John 16:33; Acts 14:22).

Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide

Causes of Human Suffering:

Scripture asserts suffering is inevitable in a fallen world (Gen. 3:14·19; Psa 10:1-18; 22:1-31; 38:1-22; 90:1-17; Mark 13:12-13; John 16:33; Acts 14:22). Indeed, Christians may suffer more than do unbelievers (Rom. 6: 1-14; 8:35-39; 1 Cor. 12:26; 1 Thess. 2:14; 2 Tim. 3:10-12; 1 Pet. 4: 1-14; Rev. 2:10).

EXPERIENCES of suffering fall into three categories: suffering caused by physical limitations (disease, physical and psychological pain, depression, and mental illness), by natural disasters (storms, fire, flood, and earthquake), and by human actions (harming oneself or others, individually or corporately).

Confronted with suffering, biblical individuals raise important questions. One is, “Why does the one true God allow evil and suffering?” The Bible teaches much about causes of suffering and articulates some explanations. However, some instances are left unexplained, and Scripture gives no comprehensive explanation. God’s reasons and purposes transcend human finite knowledge, and we cannot always understand suffering.

Some events remain a mystery. At times, we must trust God without understanding (Job 42:2-3; Isa. 55:8-9; Hab. 2:2-4). We will not have complete answers until eternity (John 14:1-3; Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor. 2:9; 15:1-58; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 21:4-5).

One cause of suffering is sinfulness (Ps. 7:12-16; Hos. 8:7; Rom. 2:3-6; Gal. 6:7-8; James 1:13-15). Misuse of God’s gift of freedom, beginning with the fall of Adam and Eve and continuing in all persons, brings devastating consequences (Gen. 3:14-19; Rom. 3:23; 5:12-21; 6:23). Sin may result in suffering (Ps. 1:1-6; Jer, 31:29-30; Ezek. 18:2-4), whether by individuals or corporate groups (Josh. 7: 1-12; 2 Kings 17:7-24; Amos 1:3-2:16).

However, the assumption that suffering is always the direct result of sin is wrong (Job 4: 1-5:27; 42:7-8; Luke 13:1-5; John 9:1-3). Some evil and suffering transcend human depravity and are caused by Satan and demonic forces (Job 1:9-12; 2:6; Luke 9:38-42; 13:16; Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Eph. 6:10-13). Though suffering intrudes into God’s good creation, twisting good into evil, nothing is ever beyond God’s sovereign control (2 Sam. 14:14; Amos 3:6; 4:10-13; Isa. 45:7; Rom. 8:28-39).

Email:mercyolumide2004@yahoo.co.uk www.thebiblicalwomanhood.com Mobile: +234 803 344 6614; +234 808 123 7987