This is a continuation of my discussion on suffering. This is especially topical because of the current financial crisis. I hope what I write here will help you in some way to deal with whatever you are going through right now, whether it is a financial problem, a terrible diagnosis, recent loss of a loved one, or some other tragedy. See the earlier post for the introduction to this series. Note that some material in this post was based on the book The God Questions by Hal Seed and Dan Grider, published by Outreach Publishing, © 2007
Causes of Suffering
In an earlier post we looked at the three kinds of suffering: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Now we’ll briefly look at the causes of suffering, and knowing these causes may help us to cope with trials when they come. In general we can say that suffering results from evil. There are two types of evil at work in the world: moral and natural.
1. Moral Evil: My Actions
There are two different causes of suffering within the category of moral evil. The first cause is what you and I do that can result in our own suffering. Generally there are consequences to our actions. If we do something that could be harmful, we will probably end up hurting ourselves in some way or paying some kind of penalty. Suffering the results of our sinful actions are natural consequences. That’s why God put rules in place – to protect us from those costs.
2. Moral Evil: Other’s Actions
The second cause within moral evil is what others do that affects us. For example, if a drunk driver plows into you, you have suffered as the result of someone else’s sinful actions. Some people make bad choices and unfortunately others may pay the price. With the current financial crisis, many are suffering because of the sinful actions of a few in the financial industry. The result is that those affected are angry, bitter, and resentful, and our sense of justice demands that those responsible must be punished.
3. Natural Evil: Nobody’s Fault
The third cause is what is called natural evil, and these are the things that happen because we live in an imperfect world. We are subject to the laws and forces of nature, so we have hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and disease.
More on the topic of suffering and evil in a future post.