by Roman Dawes
Despite all of our prayers, a little boy stricken with cancer died recently. Why would God allow it to happen if He is almighty and “Jesus loves the little children?”
The fact that God so often does not intervene when innocent people suffer and die has been an impenetrable riddle of faith for thousands of years. Believers tend to accept it as one of the mysteries of God’s ways that we cannot hope to understand as mortals. Atheists and those struggling with their faith often cite it as a reason to not believe in our God at all.
As a Christian, I also once accepted the fact that the answer to the problem of evil was simply unknowable. Then, as I was writing a novel more than a decade ago, I performed an odd mental exercise: I modeled a world in which God always cured children’s cancer, saved people from the causes or effects of famine and prevented serious harm from befalling innocent people. Suddenly, the mystery was resolved, and the so-called problem of evil unmasked.
My ebook, The Endeavor of Life and the Wisdom of God, addresses the problem of evil like no philosopher or theologian I’ve come across — past or present. Rather than looking at instances of suffering and tragedy in isolation and trying to discern reasons for the absence of God’s mighty hand each time, the book examines human being in totality. The Endeavor of Life invites you to take a “God’s eye view” of humankind across cultures and throughout time to behold a divine order of life. It is an order in which humans must live as mortals and in which nurturing precious life must be the endeavor of the living. It is an arrangement that means we must be allowed to fail, and innocents allowed to suffer and die. Yet despite this order, God does sometimes lift his hand and answer our prayers, and He has at least one good reason to do so.
The Lord’s order of life is not explicit in the Bible, but it is heavily implied, starting in the Book of Genesis.