Why Does God Allow Suffering and Evil?

The picture to the left is from Auschwitz taken a few years back. I had the chance to visit Auschwitz, making the trek because I was wrestling with the problem of evil and wanted to take it on by investigating one of the worst evils in history - the holocaust.

How could God allow this to happen?

This is by far the number one question that I get asked as a pastor and apologist. It is also the number question that I have as a follower of Jesus. It is by far the most emotionally-loaded question. There is a strong and sound argument for God's existence FROM suffering and evil. 

There is a strong and sound argument for God's existence FROM suffering and evil. Having studied all the various worldviews, I find Christianity's response by far the most compelling.

I devoted two chapters to this in my book, "Clear Minds & Dirty Feet." One chapter was for the philosophical response and the other was the personal response to the pain and suffering that affect us all.

Let me point you to some resources that will help you work through your own response to this question.

Excellent Videos I Recommend

Here's a clever overview of the philosophical response to evil:

And another:

Ravi Zacharias before a group of students handles the question so well (as Ravi always does).

Here's a lengthy lecture-like taking on of the subject from one of my old Oxford profs and now friend, Vince Vitale. He did his doctorate at Oxford on the subject:

Here are some books I recommend:

The Problem of Pain - C.S. Lewis (philosophical approach)

A Grief Observed - C.S. Lewis (personal approach)

Suffering With God - A local, easy to read resource from my friend, Chris Price. Published by Apologetics Canada.

God, Freedom, and Evil - A formative work on this topic. It may not be for all as this is a dense and deeply philosophical examination by Alvin Plantinga. 

Conclusion

We never get all the answers to this question. There is some mystery left for only God to know (as he promised in Deut. 29:29). Even Job and his friends, after endless speculation, never fully got the reason for why he had to go through what he had to. 

As the young Elihu summed up well, “For He does not give an account of any of His matters.”

Having wrestled with this for some time now, I'm confident that evil and suffering do not disprove God, they point us toward him and give us the hope of heaven, where we will be with him in a place where there is no more suffering and evil. For this we eagerly await and trust God for his grace.

What would you add? Is there anything I forgot?