Cultivate Lesson 13             

Review from last week
1.  What is a revelation of God's love?

it goes beyond a head knowledge to an intimate heart knowledge

3.  Seed thought:

Is there more than just salvation? 

it is through a journey of continually quality moments pursuing and resting in His presence that we come to know the revelation of the love of God and experience His manifest presence.

 

Students write down the blue questions and the red answers.

Title: Session 2 “Is God Really Good… All the Time?”/ Session 4 “Why Does God Allow Suffering?”

GOD IS GOOD/ GOD DETERMINES GOOD

1. Where does good come from?  James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. 

If you read the first chapter of Genesis, you will find that everything God created, He called good.

 

2.  Is God really good all the time…?  Yes.

First we must ask ourselves the question, who determines the definition of good?

3.  Who determines the definition of good? .

If you are an atheist then like truth, good is relative. In other words, what may be good for one person may not be the definition of good for the next person.

2 If we all came from evolution and there is not God, then again, who determines the definition of good?

As Christians who have faith in God’s Word, we must recognize that good is from God. God determines what is good.

4.  How do we understand what's good?:  We understand good by understanding the nature and love of God.. 

 To try and determine good apart from God is like building a home without first establishing a strong foundation. Without securing a strong foundation, no matter how grand a home may look and how nice the material are, the house will eventually fall apart.

 It is impossible to discuss the mysteries and questions of life without starting at a foundation of consulting God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

 The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Bible also says that the wisdom of this world is foolishness. It is foolishness because it is an attempt to explain and discover the mysteries and questions of life apart from the One who created and continues to sustain life.

5. Why is the wisdom of the world foolishness? because it is an attempt to explain and discover the mysteries and questions of life apart from the One who created and continues to sustain life..

THE ORIGINS OF DEATH AND SUFFERING

IN RESPONSE TO SESSION 4 “WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SUFFERING?”

So as we go deeper into questions about death and suffering, we must start a basis that God is good. He is not the problem, He is the solution. With this said, let’s begin to discuss the Origins of Death and suffering….

Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat of thereof thou shalt surely die

For the wages of sin is death…..

Is God the cause of death?  No because of man's sin all will die.

A MAIN POINT One thing to get established… DEATH is an intruder

1 When God created the world and called it good, death was not apart of it.

2 We were initially created to live forever. There was no human or animal death. Both humans and animals were vegetarians.

3 When Adam ate from the forbidden tree, the consequence of his action was a release of death.

4 Human now eat animals, Animals eat other animals, the weather, the ground, all of the universe is affected by the release of death.

B MAIN POINT Second thing to get established… Eating from the forbidden tree was an attempt to become ones own god/ or modern day humanism

1 Satan tempted Adam and Eve by saying that they would be like God and by dangling the idea that God did not have their best interest in mind

2 So part of the punishment for this rebellion is getting exactly what they reached for…. A life apart from God.

3 The release of death was also in effect God having to honor His word and remove some of his sustaining life from the earth. The Bible says that in Him we live and move and have our being. God only removed some of His sustaining life in response to honoring the conditions he set before Adam.

4 In the mercy of God, he did not remove all of it. If He removed all of it then the entire universe would have fallen apart.

5 You see evil cannot exist within itself. Evil is the lack of good or the privation of some good that something ought to have. For example, a moral evil like murder is a removal of human life. Adultery is privation of marriage. The same applies to a physical evil. For example, a wound cannot exist without a body, and the very idea of a wound presupposes the concept of a healthy body. Blindness in a human is a physical evil, because humans are supposed to see. However, oysters are not supposed to see, thus blindness is not an evil for oysters.

What is evil?  Evil is always a parasite on good. God creates good. Evil is lack of good.

C MAIN POINT So let’s also establish…. GOD IS NOT THE PROBLEM.. HE IS THE SOLUTION…God did not create evil. Evil cannot exist in itself.

1 God warned Adam that eating the forbidden fruit would result in a loss of God life sustaining power.

2 This loss or privation of God’s life sustaining power on earth and the entire universe results in a broken or fallen state of mankind and the entire world.

Who has overcome evil?  This is why Jesus told his disciples, in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.

D MAIN POINT Finally thought to establish… Christ death and resurrection broke the curse… AGAIN GOD IS THE SOLUTION

So why is there evil in the world?   Sin and people's free will

1 Although we live in a world, a universe that has suffered a loss of some of God sustaining life, as believer we can access the life of God through Christ.

2 The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a major game changer to the effects of the curse.

3 Jesus ultimately called death the final enemy that he would destroy.

FINAL THOUGHTS BEFORE GROUP DISCUSSION TIMES

As we engage and encounter the life sustaining presence of God, we can begin to experience a breaking of the effects of the fall. We still must deal with the reality that we live in a world that does not benefit from the entirety of God’s sustaining power, however, the more we connect with God through His presence and His word, the more we can experience the effects of the God’s sustaining life which breaks the curse off our lives.

Jesus said, the thief comes to steal, kill, and to destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.

Remember, part of the consequences of Adam’s rebellion was getting exactly what he desired, to be his own god. So God allowed him to experience life partially without Him. This is why Adam now knows both good and evil. Remember evil cannot exist within itself. It is a privation or taking away of good. This new reality which now exist with a partial privation of good is now consequently existing with evil. Adam and all of humanity will now experiences a world which exists with both good and the lack of it which is evil.

So now we experience a world of good and evil but we must remember that all good is from God. All evil is the lack thereof. This may not answer every question, but it is a good foundational way in which to begin the journey of understanding why there is death and suffering and ultimately how the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the answer to the end of this death and a renewal of the sustaining life of God.

 

Watch Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering 9min video

 

Why is there Pain & Suffering and Why Does God Allow Pain & Suffering to Continue to Exist?

The question of why pain and suffering continues today is a different question than why there is pain and suffering in the first place. The answer to why pain and suffering exists at all indeed goes back to Genesis.

Many people wonder why a good God would have created a world full of pain and suffering; but of course, He didn’t. God created a “very good” world—a paradise for us to enjoy. But God gave Adam a command concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: do not eat from it. And God told Adam what the consequences of disobeying that command would be. When Adam sinned, God gave Adam what he had earned (or at least a “taste” of it; the unbeliever does not receive the full payment of sin until death). Adam received the just reward for his actions.

By rebelling against God, Adam was in effect saying that he wanted to live by his own rules—separated from God. And God gave Adam a small taste of what he asked for. Pain and suffering exist because of what Adam did, so of course this all goes back to Genesis.

But why does God allow the consequences of such evil actions to continue? A teenager recently commented “To say that someone sinned in Adam and that's why we all have to suffer today makes no sense.”  Actually it does make sense. The consequences of sin are not confined to the sinner. They are often far-reaching and can affect many. In particular, many people have reaped the consequences of the wise or unwise actions of their parents. As one example, a pregnant woman who abuses alcohol or drugs can cause serious problems for her unborn child. So, it is clear that children can certainly be harmed by the poor actions of their parents. Likewise, all humanity has suffered because of the sinful actions of our forefather Adam. In fact, since God gave Adam dominion over the world, all creation suffers [Romans 8:22] because of what Adam did.

We can all suffer because of the sinful actions of another. A Victory Christian School student recently told me that that seemed unfair. You might be tempted to think that it would have been better if God had created a universe where the actions of another person affected only that person and no one else. At first, this kind of spiritual “insulation” sounds great. But salvation would not be possible in such a universe—because Christ’s actions on the Cross could have no effect on us. If we sinned even once, we would have no hope. Fortunately, God designed a universe where the actions of another person can be imputed to us; this means we can be redeemed because of what Christ did in a similar way that Adam’s sin affects us. Christ doesn’t have to die individually for each person but once for all. This is why Paul says:

Romans 6:10–11: For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are born with a sin nature because of what Adam did. But if we receive Christ as Savior, His righteousness is imputed to us [Romans 5:12–21]. This is an amazing solution to sin, because it satisfies both God’s justice (the penalty for sin is paid) and displays God’s mercy (we can be reconciled with God).

Because of what Christ did, we who have received the free gift of eternal life have the hope that there will one day be a new heavens and a new earth without sin [Revelation 21:1–4, Revelation 21:27]. This is the world one would expect a perfect God to have for eternity, not this temporary sin-cursed one.

Actions, such as man’s sin, have consequences. When Adam sinned, the punishment was death [Genesis 2:17] and the punishment received was death [Genesis 3:19]. And we were a part of Adam [Acts 17:26] so logically, it affected us as well.

He was the federal head of the human race. Expositor John Gill put it this way in his commentary on Romans 5:12:

“besides, sin entered as death did, which was not by imitation but imputation, for all men are reckoned dead in Adam, being accounted sinners in him; add to this, that in the same way Christ’s righteousness comes upon us, which is by imputation, Adam’s sin enters into us, or becomes ours; upon which death follows”

Gill continues further in the commentary on this verse:

“all men were naturally and seminally in him; as he was the common parent of mankind, he had all human nature in him, and was also the covenant head, and representative of all his posterity; so that they were in him both naturally and federally, and so “sinned in him”; and fell with him by his first transgression into condemnation and death. The ancient Jews, and some of the modern ones, have said many things agreeably to the apostle’s doctrine of original sin; they own the imputation of the guilt of Adam’s sin to his posterity to condemnation and death”

We were a part of Adam (and Eve), and therefore, we sinned in Adam and his death sentence carries over to us. However, none of us can say that we have not disobeyed the Creator, as well. Regardless of the fact that we sinned in Adam, we all have consciously sinned as individuals, and therefore are genuinely blameworthy. So really no one can blame God in any respects for the consequence of sin (the punishment of death and suffering) that we received. God made a righteous decision.

The real question on people's mind is why does God allow all these things to happen, if He really loves us, why did He allow for all this to happen. There is an answer to why there is death and suffering.

That we (in Adam) chose to rebel against our Creator is our fault—not God’s. God gave Adam a command to follow, and Adam reaped the reward (death and suffering) of disobeying [James 1:14]. Today, human beings (you and I) continue to sin and rebel against God, and we reap the consequences of our treason against the holy Creator. God’s love for His children is expressed in His discipline of us [Hebrews 12:5–11]. This is what we would expect in a sin-cursed world. But take heart, the curse will be removed [Revelation 22:3].

But what about those of us who have received Christ as Savior? We have been redeemed and have been made righteous in God’s eyes by Christ’s work on the cross. Why must we continue to live in this world of sin? Consider Christ’s parable here:

Matthew 13:24–30: Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;  but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.  But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.  So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’  He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

What about those will never return to a right relationship with God? Why doesn’t God simply remove them? God can even use the “tares” of this world to draw His children closer to Him. Many of us at Victory Christian have benefited from hearing those who preach out against the Bible. (Yes, you read that correctly.) It forces us to go back and study and learn to defend the faith and accordingly grow in our faith. This also enables us to better share the gospel so that people may be saved. Also, many non-Christians have produced offspring that will later become Christians. So uprooting the non-Christians will uproot many who would become Christians.

God is permitting the seed, which is the Word of God, to grow in many people, who would otherwise not hear. We can’t really see the entire “big picture”; we don’t know how all the intricacies of the actions of every person affect every other person. But God orchestrates these actions to bring people to Him [Acts 17:26-27]. God even uses evil actions to bring about good, not that God approves of evil actions in any respect but to clarify, that God is so great that He can still make good come from it. And one particular example of this is found in Genesis [50:20].

Perhaps the supreme example of God using evil to bring about good is the Cross. The horrific death of the innocent Christ was used by God to bring about the salvation of all those who would trust in Him [Acts 2:23–24]. Aren’t you glad that God allowed/used such an evil action?

In this world, God can use evil to bring about good, and He leaves the wheat with the tares so that many might be saved. Therefore, God permits the consequences of sin, which is death and suffering until the time of the harvest. Paul continues on this:

Romans 8:18-21: 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.

I think we all are eager for the death and suffering in the world to end. However, Paul makes it clear that present suffering is not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Knowing that people are still coming to Christ is why we need to be patient in affliction [Romans 12:12]. God knows better than we do the reasons for His patience, and this is just a small glimpse as to why.

 

 

Small Group Discussion

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What do you think Christ means, when he says, “I have come to give you life?”

How do we connect with that life?

Do people always experience suffering because of some sin they have committed? Or is it a case by case situation?

What would a perfect world look like?

How does our present world differ from your idea of a perfect world?

God only allowed some of his sustaining power to be taken from the earth and the cosmos, thus there is still some good in the world. It just now exists partially which means there is a brokenness or evil present. What aspects of this world reflect the good that God initially created?

What aspects bear the lack of good or the evil/ death that resulted from Adam’s rebellion?

How does Christ death and resurrection redeem us from the effects of Adam’s rebellion?