by Matt Slick
Atheists often raise the objection to God's existence by talking about suffering in the world. They ask why there is suffering if God is good and all-powerful. Couldn't he stop it if he wanted to? Well, the fact is that God made the world without suffering. He made the Garden of Eden and put Adam and Eve in it. There was no suffering in the world he created. It wasn't until Adam and Eve acted like atheists that suffering became a reality.
Acted like atheists? What does that mean?
Atheism is a denial of God and/or a lack of affirmation of Him. Therefore, when atheists do anything, they are acting without consideration of God. They are doing things independently of Him and deciding for themselves what is moral, what is good, and what is bad.
So, when Adam and Eve were in The Garden, a world with no suffering, and they were tempted by the evil one, they behaved in a manner that was consistent with atheism. They decided what was moral. They decided what was good. They decided what was bad. When they acted on their decisions, the result was that suffering entered the world.
I think it's interesting that atheists complain about God allowing suffering and yet it is the very actions based on independence from God (as atheists necessarily do) that brought suffering into the world.
Would there have been suffering if Adam and Eve had submitted to God's wisdom, God's truth, and God's will, and not acted as though they were atheists by deciding for themselves what is good and bad? Of course not. But when anyone behaves in a manner that demonstrates a belief and/or desire for independence from God (acting as though God is not there, not the judge, not the standard of righteousness, etc.), then we can see the result is suffering.
So, when atheists complain about God allowing suffering, perhaps they might want to consider that it was the actions of our ancient parents, Adam and Eve, that led to suffering. Those actions were independent of God's moral will. Those actions are synonymous with the actions of atheists.