THOSE WHO SUFFER IN THIS WORLD WILL BE REWARDED IN THE NEXT?
part of an ongoing discussion of “Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People”
Okay, let’s try this one out . . . Yes, innocent people suffer all kinds of bad things. And yes, sometimes the wicked actually prosper. But on JUDGMENT DAY the wicked will be punished while the innocent will be rewarded with eternal life. How’s that for a solution to the problem of evil?
Well, let’s see . . . You realize, of course, that there are three separate ASSUMPTIONS hidden in your answer – and that we need to tease them out so we can examine them more clearly?
- ONE, that there actually IS such a possibility as life after death.
- TWO, even if there is, those who suffer in this world will be REWARDED with some sort of ‘eternal bliss’ in the next world.
- THREE, the assumption that eternal happiness somehow MAKES UP for the pain & suffering experienced in this world.
Hmnn . . . I see that now.
Do you have your bible with you again today?
Yes . . .
Look up Psalm 88, verses 3 through 6, & verse 12.
Okay . . . It talks about how the dead go to a place called “SHEOL,” which is kind of like the UNDERWORLD and is variously described as a PIT, something dark & deep, a land of FORGETFULNESS.
How about The Book of Job, chapter 10:21, chapter 14:12, and chapter 38:17?
The afterlife is a land of SLEEPING, a land of GLOOM & deep DARKNESS.
Doesn’t sound much like a place of eternal happiness . . . How about Psalm 6, verses 4-5?
“Turn, O Lord, save my life; Deliver me for the sake of thy steadfast love. For in Death there is no remembrance of Thee; in Sheol, who can give Thee praise?”
Doesn’t sound like there is even any consciousness, any self-awareness . . . And look up one more verse, Ecclesiastes 9:10.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; For there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, where you are going.”
The afterlife sounds kind of like a nothing place, huh? Can you see how these might count as an OBJECTION to your solution?
Yes – obviously numerous passages in the bible directly CONTRADICT the idea of immortality, Judgment Day, eternal happiness.
But even if we assume for the sake of argument that those who suffer will in fact be rewarded with eternal life, do eternal rewards really “CANCEL OUT” suffering?
I guess maybe that is some kind of CRAZY LOGIC, huh? A God who lets us suffer now so he can make it up to us in the next world!
And, of course, the question begging to be asked is: do eternal rewards get us out of our original LOGICAL DILEMMA?
You mean, like, WHY does God have to wait until the next world to take care of suffering?
Yes, is he not POWERFUL enough to eliminate suffering now?
Or perhaps he doesn’t LOVE us enough to keep us from suffering in this world?
Wow – we’re right back to ground zero again!
Exactly… How can God be both all-powerful AND all-loving and yet allow so much suffering in the world?