First off, I am not a theologian, I am writing what I feel God has shown me in my years of knowing him, and what his Spirit is telling me to write. I can make mistakes, but I have full confidence in God to speak through me, he uses me and other humans because he loves us, he could do it himself, but how else would we get to know him in such a remarkable way?
Wouldn’t it make more sense if people were allowed to make choice between two good things? Wouldn’t it make a more real choice? If then people chose God wouldn’t it make it more true and wouldn’t that then say how much they love him and how true the love is? It isn’t really a choice when you are threaten with something like hell or suffering, is it? It definitely is not a choice.
I understand the logic you are using, and at first glance, it is quite a conundrum. However, it all depends on the definition of hell and suffering. My definition of hell is – simply being separated from God forever; all the fire and nasty pictures we see are more a product of bad religion than they are of true scripture. Suffering is temporary while hell is not. We have to first believe life is never ending, and that our experience of life here on Earth is temporary, if you do not believe that, what I have to say will not satisfy you.
God has not threatened us, sin and Satan threaten us, they tempt us to fall from the life God has designed for us, one where at the end we spend the rest of our lives in his Kingdom without suffering, pain, or hurt. Sin and Satan only temporarily give us pleasure in this life, giving into those pleasures though lead to hurting others and suffering for others. For example greed (not sharing with others who have more need), selfishness (doing things only for getting something for yourself, not thinking about how it effects others), and deceitfulness (lying to another for the benefit of yourself), all of these provide temporary pleasure, but each one of them hurts another. God asks us not to do these things, and when we choose to follow his ways, we prevent suffering and pain of others. The choice I am talking about is the choice to be with God forever or to be separated from him forever, if you do not want to know God and his amazing love which we were created to know, but have the choice to know it or not, than that is your choice.
So many times I heard people say that God knows us the best and that he is the creator of everything. Then if so, he must have known Satan. He must have known that Satan would rebel which leads one to think that it was God who created evil.
Yes he did know, but he didn’t know before he created Satan, God doesn’t know what choice we will make, he gave us free will so we could choose to love him and to know his love in return. When Satan made the choice to rebel God was greatly grieved, but in God’s mysterious wisdom he did not destroy Satan, he used the opportunity to teach all of creation the bitterness which comes from selfishness. What kind of life does Satan have? One which is constantly trying to one-up on God, yet he will never be able to and he know sit, I don’t know about you, but that is a horrible existence! God does know us best, but he didn’t make us robots, he gave us free will, otherwise it wouldn’t be love, it would simply be what is.
Why did you say that if there were no suffering we wouldn’t need God. Do you only feel that you need him when you are in distress?
If there was absolutely no suffering, why would people need to know God? If life was completely free of all stress, all suffering, all pain, I know I wouldn’t need to know God. Why does someone need to know “God” if everything is great? The reason I chose to know God was because I recognized he would provide for me in the times of suffering and pain, but now I know I need him for much more than that. He guides me away from suffering and pain, even when the rest of the world may think I am “suffering” I have the eternal peace I will not suffer forever, this life is temporary, the next one permanent, and free of all pain and suffering.
Did God create suffering and pain so that we would seek his help and worship him when or if he gives it to us, so that we needed him? That is cruel and deceitful.
You are assuming God created suffering and pain he did not. Satan created suffering and pain. So since Satan created them, he is the one which is cruel and deceitful, many times in the Bible Satan is called the prince of lies. Originally there was no pain, no suffering, but Satan was deceitful, and Adam and Eve did what they were told not to do (eat of the tree of “knowledge, of good and evil”), they made the choice to disobey God’s direct request. God created the world with consequences, the consequences are not cruel, they just are there, by making that to know “good and evil” the pain and suffering entered, which is the evil.
Why do peple have to suffer for the sins they have not commited? Why do they have to endure the pain that is a result of somebody else’s poor choice? Is that really fair? Isn’t God supposed to be fair? Doesn’t the bible say “The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father”?- Ezekiel 18:20
After reading the entire contents (Ezekiel 18:10-30) where this verse comes from (which, as a side note, the chapter and verse numbers were not in the Bible until about 400 years after the book of revelation was written, which leads us to realize each book must be read as a normal book, not in pieces) I realized that this one verse out of context is rather troublesome. The translation I have reads, “The one who sins is the one who dies. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own goodness, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. [NLT]” The phrases “is the one who dies” and “will not be punished” is referring to eternal life with God or separation from God (hell). The original language of the Bible (in this case Aramaic) makes this clear, plus reading the entire book of Ezekiel will make it clear it is eternal life which is the subject and not pain and suffering. The wicked person is the person who is eternally separated from God; the righteous person is the one will live with God forever. It is not referring to the temporary suffering or pain we face in our day-to-day lives, those pains and sufferings are the result of other either our own sins or the sins of others. When Adam and Eve chose to sin (to disobey what God requested of them) they brought upon all of humanity the knowledge of “evil”, which is pain and suffering. We suffer the pains of other people’s sin because of this act Adam and Eve chose, it may not seem fair, but accepting Jesus (who showed us once and for all the way) we recieve a new life, with a new understanding, which is impossible without God, of suffering and pain, it is extreamly hard, if not impossible, to explain until you fully trust and walk with God.
I sincerely hope this answers some of your questions, if anything just look for Christians wherever you are, watch their lives. They will make mistakes, and they will sin too and hurt others because of it. However, over time, the lives of real Christians will only show that they have a differing kind of light, and a different kind of life. They know that life here is temporary, and that is the amazing gift God offers from following him. Jesus came as a part of this amazing, yet mysterious plan to show us all the way,
that is not cruel or deceitful in my eyes. God gives us the choice to live, Satan gives us nothing but trouble. It may all seem strange that it has to happen this way, and I pray for you each day and for people like you, that even with the questions, you will make the choice to trust God. If you don’t trust him, and are looking for some reason to trust Him, just watch the Christians around you who do know Him, I pray that is enough for you to give this life up, and enter into a new amazing life.