Antecedents Of Suffering

The imperfections in our lives—personal, societal, physical, mental, emotional, relational, material, and financial—constitute suffering.

Suffering exists because evil exists. Evil exists because moral truth and the will exist.

(Moral Untruth + Wrong Choices) → Evil ∴ Suffering

Suffering is ultimately a manifestation of evil. Evil emanates from wrong choices that are based on moral untruth.

Absent moral truth, nothing could be morally untrue. Without a will, nobody could make the wrong choices.

Not every wrong choice based on moral untruth produces suffering, but all suffering can be traced back to a wrong choice that was based on moral untruth.

Moral Truth And The Will

God’s revelations, declarations, commandments, principles, assessments, and designs represent moral truth.

Moral untruth is a lie, deception, distortion, or half-truth about something God deems to be true.

Our will gives us the ability to think whatever we want, whenever we want, subject to certain constraints.

It includes the freedom to make choices, within limits, and do things we think will advance our perceived self-interest.

Evil Foments Sin And Suffering

God created angels with a will so they could worship him volitionally and carry out their assigned tasks.

Evil first appeared when Satan, a high-ranking angel, abused his freedom and acted on the moral untruth that he could be like God. Instead, he became the embodiment of evil.

God gave Adam and Eve a will so they could love him, and each other, by choice and exercise the authority over earth he had delegated to them.

God gave Adam and Eve unlimited freedom to exercise their wills according to their desires and judgment, with one exception. He prohibited them from eating the fruit of a single tree in the Garden of Eden.

Implicit in this prohibition was the moral truth that God was their sovereign, and they were his subordinates. Compliance with the ban would have affirmed their agreement with this actuality.

Satan tempted Adam and Eve with moral untruth. He said that if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would be like God. They would be able to define good and evil for themselves, apart from his standard.

Adam and Eve responded to this deception by misusing their volitional freedom to make the wrong choice. They defied God’s prohibition and ate the forbidden fruit.

God characterized Adam and Eve’s defiance as a sin. Their sin opened the door for evil to damage the perfect world he had created.

The ensuing chaos made the earth dangerous, our bodies fragile, our nature selfish, and our civilizations coarse.

Many Wrong Choices

Every imperfection in the world and our lives stems from someone’s wrong choice based on moral untruth.

Adam and Eve’s original sin accounts for many of our afflictions, but the adverse consequences of wrong choices made more recently by us and others, near and far, also contribute to our present suffering.

Suffering will be a normal part of life as long as we inhabit the earth, because moral untruth will always be present, and our nature will always be fallible.

There is no suffering in heaven because we lose our sinful nature upon entry, and God’s moral truth prevails.