Just for Catholics

Suffering and Death

Question: What does the Bible say about suffering? Why does God allow man to suffer? How does the Bible explain natural disasters?

Answer: When God created the world there was no such thing as suffering, disasters and death. The Bible informs us that "God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). Sadly the good creation was ruined by man's sin - our rebellion to the authority of our Maker. 

The Bible describes God's judgement on our sin: Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17-19).

Ours is a cursed world. Every earthquake, hurricane, flood and fire should remind us how serious sin is in the sight of God. We cannot say, as some do, that God is not involved in these things. He is the Lord of the creation, and nothing happens in the universe apart from His providential control. Indeed it was God who destroyed the earth in a global flood in Noah's time. Even when Satan is involved in our suffering, as in the case of Job, God is always the sovereign ruler who directs whatever transpires. The enemy of our soul cannot even touch a hair unless God permits it.

Let us not doubt for a moment the righteousness and justice of God when disaster comes. Let us never dream of accusing God of injustice. For if it was not for His longsuffering, all of us would have been consumed long ago. May God grant us repentance, humility and faith in Him. He is a merciful God and there is redemption for His people...and indeed for the universe.

Christians have their share of trouble here on earth. Suffering reminds us that our pilgrimage on earth is but for a moment and that we are looking forwards to our eternal bliss in heaven. God also employs suffering to humble us, to teach sympathy and mercy for others, and to increase our faith in Him. At the second coming of Christ, our redemption will be complete and there will be no more tears and pain. The curse will be lifted forever and creation will be restored. Praise God!

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now" (Romans 8:18-22).

Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A