Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Suffering does not make sense

Why is there evil? Why is there suffering?

I recently read Vinoth Ramachandra's excellent book, Gods that fail: Modern Idolatry and Christian Mission. In the chapter about creation he states
Evil itself is left unexplained in the Bible, for perhaps the very good reason that it is  inexplicable. The moment we 'explain' it we have related it to a meaningful framework within which it now 'makes sense'. But the whole point of evil is that it does not make sense. It is insane, an absurd intrusion into God's good creation. To explain it is to explain it away.That is why every attempt o explain evil... only ends up trivialising evil...
A chapter,  "Job and the Silence of God", draws on a commentary by Gustavo Gutierrez. Vinoth concludes
The God of the Bible gives us no theoretical answer to the mysteries of evil and suffering. I suspect that no `answer' is possible, for evil in God's good world is a monstrous absurdity, an insane affront to One who is perfectly holy, true and loving. It is an enemy to be confronted and defeated, not a problem to be solved. Suffering and evil are so deeply embedded in our experience of human life that, in the attempt to turn them into intellectual problems for philosophical analysis, we may well lose a major key to their understanding, namely empathetic involvement in the suffering of others.

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