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Jodie Dooley wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm Catholic and I am having a hard time explaining to my fiancé why God puts us through suffering when he has the power to stop it from happening.

He wants to become Catholic but is having a hard time understanding why God has such high powers but still puts people through suffering, pain, and death.

  • How can I explain to him:
    • Why God doesn't stop all the bad things in the world? and
    • Why bad things happen?
  • Why do people go through pain, suffering, and loss?

Jodie Dooley

  { How do I explain to my fiancé why God allows people to go through pain, suffering, and loss? }

Paul replied:

Hi, Jodie —

  1. Because God made us in His image to have a relationship with Him that will last for all eternity — He made us as persons, like Himself.
  2. But because we are limited persons (unlike God) we have the ability to use our free will to do evil, instead of good.
  3. Evil has bad consequences on the community. Because persons by nature live in community with others, our sins affect others and their sins affect us. It's like being in a school with many children when one comes down with a cold or infection, many more are bound to eventually catch it.
  4. If God did not allow the negative consequences of our free actions to have their natural effects that lead to suffering and injustice, He would have to re-make us into robots or animals. God respects our free will as created persons.
  5. Hence God cannot stop evil and suffering without contradicting Himself. To be a person means to freely choose the good, not through instinct, like animals, or programming, like robots. He can send someone to save us from this condition of suffering and death that we created for ourselves.
  6. God prepared the world for Jesus, and then sent Him in order to enable people to overcome their present condition, due to sin, and to enter eternal life with God forever. This is what Christ won for us on the Cross, and cooperation with Him and His Church is what He asks of us in following Him through this life of suffering and death into everlasting glorious life of perfect fulfillment with God. This is what He wills for us.

Hence, God doesn't take away the consequences of our actions — He can't without contradicting Himself; but He gives us the solution to overcoming them.

Hope this helps.

Paul
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