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Why Do People Suffer?

Peter Mullins responds to a request that we add something to the site about this:

I remember being really struck when someone told me about how those who suffer from leprosy lose things like fingers and toes. It is not something caused directly by the disease. It is caused indirectly by the loss of feeling which the disease creates. Whereas you or I might pull our hand away quickly if we begin to cut it accidentally or touch something very hot, those with no feeling in their hands may do themselves grievous damage. This showed me for the first time that there is a sense in which some pain is a good thing. It may even be that there is no possible form of creation of living independent beings which could exclude this sort of pain and suffering without making creation a soul-less place. It has been suggested that the same may just be the case with the harshness of bereavement. If one of God’s primary purposes in creation was that love can be shared, it is difficult to think of any way God could have made things which avoided the possibility of loss of the most heart rending sort where love has been experienced. I sometimes think that this is why God chose to become a human being in Jesus of Nazareth. Perhaps God knew that his creation simply had to include pain and suffering so was determined that he would share in it too. In doing so he did not cancel all that is most awful but somehow opened up a way through it of which the resurrection was just a start.