This is a question Christians are often asked. Those who claim not to believe in God ask it and blame Him. Without any other credible explanation they leave this troubling problem at the door of God, the One they claim not to believe in. Yet the answer is clear. The Bible tells us that this is a fallen world. All of us are sinners. The world is therefore under a curse which shows itself by “man’s terrible inhumanity to man”.
Why so much war and suffering?
War has been a constant feature of history. It has caused loss and suffering on a huge scale. Some 60-70 million died in the 1st and 2nd world wars. Even in the 21st century, with amazing science, all the incredible technology available and our collective wisdom, we have been unable to prevent war. The United Nations and other valiant efforts have mostly failed. Some 2,000 years ago, The Lord Jesus Christ powerfully and accurately predicted this.
In Matthew 24:6 The Lord Jesus Christ said: “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars; but be not troubled, these things must come to pass. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, there will be famines, diseases and earthquakes. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” This is exactly what we have seen and history records in the 2,000 years since.
What’s wrong with our world?
The problem is worse: it’s not just war. There’s conflict also between individuals. A dominant theme of ‘soap operas’ and the entertainment industry is conflict in personal relationships and business. The less visible war which tragically causes intense pain and suffering for many people. There is a cruel, heartless streak to life. Why are our lives blighted like this? What’s wrong with us? The answer is how we choose to think and what we desire. Surely, this is the real problem.
What is the solution to war and suffering?
There is no easy, man-made, global solution to war and conflict. No political programme is radical enough to make the required difference to human lives. Politics will not solve the problem; in many cases, it makes it worse.
Science and technology, ‘progress’ and more ‘education’ will also not change us sufficiently to stop war and prevent suffering. It’s no good saying society is advancing or becoming more tolerant, the trends show it isn’t. The solution must be within us. A change from the inside out. It starts with the human heart.
Who’s really to blame?
On 21 October 1966, a mountain slope above the Welsh village of Aberfan collapsed suddenly. Heavy rain led to a build-up of water in a coal slag heap which slid downhill. It killed 116 children and 28 adults as it engulfed Pantglas Junior School and a row of houses. Who was to blame?
At the time, many asked the question “how could a God of love allow this to happen?” But, as a subsequent investigation concluded, the tip was the responsibility of the National Coal Board and specifically nine employees.
There is only one answer to this question of who is to blame. Strangely the atheist lays aside their unbelief and blames God. But if you believe in God you will want to know what He says about war, and suffering. The answer is plain: look in the mirror. What do you see? We are to blame. It is our collective fault.
The root cause of war and suffering is a moral and spiritual problem within us. Our ‘heart’, our bad choices, our selfish desires, and our foolishness.
To solve this great problem requires heart surgery. A total transformation is required. Our old “heart of stone” must be taken away and in its place, we need The Lord Jesus to “give us a new heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). This is what the Bible calls being born-again, saved or converted to Jesus Christ.