How can we affirm an eternally perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God in the face of the facts of suffering? The "problem of evil" is debated, partly because some philosophers believe that the available answers are inadequate and that their inadequacy gives reason to deny the existence of such an eternally perfect, all-powerful, loving Creator. Usually the discussion occurs as a debate, rather than as an inquiry toward greater understanding of the possibilities and limitations of religious thought.
1. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Once you have truly found God in personal, spiritual, religious experience, questions about suffering do not shake your faith. You rather seek the meaning of suffering and the mission of adversity.
2. Think of all the different reasons why things happen. Natural processes follow their course, and accidents happen in our world. A flood or an earthquake should not be called an act of God.
3. Don’t have unrealistic expectations, and you’ll be less disappointed.
4. Anxious craving causes suffering that can be alleviated by acquiring “the mind of perfect poise.”
5. If there is to be the creation of imperfect beings with free will, a certain degree of evil is inevitable.
6. Some suffering results from our misuse of human freedom, violating—deliberately or not—principles of health, sanity, morality, or happiness.
7. Without suffering, actual and potential, we cannot develop a noble character.
8. We must not imagine that this world is the best the Creator could do. There is a heaven of eternal perfection where the will of God is done, as well as this evolving realm where human beings are invited into the adventure of becoming perfect.
9. There is an evolving phase of Deity whose incompleteness partly explains the degree of disorder on our planet.
10. The work of creation has been shared with subordinate beings who are not infinite and eternally perfect.
11. A superhuman rebellion against God is responsible for some of the confusion, evil, sin, and suffering on our planet.
12. It is misleading to think that God gives permission to wrongdoers. A human lifetime is over surprisingly quickly and judgment must be faced.
13. Some suffering occurs because God chastises those he loves in order to stimulate them to turn from evil into the way of life.
14. "God's ways are higher than your ways as the stars are higher than the earth." Not everything is good, but God—and those who cooperate with God—so labor that everything eventually does work together for good—and we have a responsible part to play in the process.
15. We cannot fathom why God permits such suffering, but he does not leave us alone. "In all our afflictions he is afflicted with us."
16. A Son of God has come forth to reveal the love of God, to experience this life with its full measure of suffering, and to comfort those who suffer.
17. Once an episode of suffering is over—really over—we look back and find that it was not truly substantial. Though evil appears to exist for a time, it is parasitical on realities that are good. On the path from chaos to glory the sufferings of time are eclipsed by everlasting joy.