Life is difficult. "Suffering...is not an exception to the human condition, it is the human condition" (Gomes 405). The question of why life can be unjustly cruel is asked today and has been asked since the beginning of time.
And where is God in the midst of hardship? Is He non-existent, as the pagan statement, "It's Chance alone that moves and rules our lives" implies (Neiman 442). Or is God only partially in control of situations, as Harold Kushner concludes, writing, "there are some things God does not control" (462). Is all suffering a direct result of our own actions, as David Neiman offers ("He who is suffering and believes in a God of justice, must also blame himself for his state of being"" (438). Moses Maimonides prefers to view the question by focusing not on the external life that surrounds us, but on the internal condition of the heart. He argues that good and evil have their own reward and punishments within the spiritual realm and outward appearances are inconsequential (Behrens and Rosen 434).
For those who believe in a God who is living and active and who believe in the sanctity of the scriptures, the question of God's justice in the Bible does seem a contradiction at times. As Neiman observed, The Book of Proverbs presents a formula for life, promising blessings to the man who lives a moral life (436). But is The Book of Proverbs a collection of promises or is it the wise man's observations of probabilities? One can see the unpleasant consequences of poor choices, as well as the good fortunes of those who have lived a "clean" life, but sometimes this moral law breaks down. As Neiman states, "experience has led men to realize that ...
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...t out of self-interest'" (460). Love is not self-seeking. Love is illustrated by a mother who cares for her newborn baby and expects nothing in return. She continues to love and nurture, until the child is an adult, in anticipation of the beautiful person the child will be. God wants us to anticipate the day when we will be made perfect, and trust His ways, like a child trusting its mother.
Behrens, Laurence, and Leonard J. Rosen, eds. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. 7th ed. NewYork: Longman, 2000.
-Gomes, Peter. "The Bible and Suffering." 400-405.
- Kushner, Harold S. "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." 452-462.
- MacLeisch, Archibald. "God Has Need of Man." 474-480.
- Neiman, David. "An Introduction to Job 435-444.
The Bible. Revised Standard Version. 2nd ed. Dallas: Melton, 1971.
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