There are no easy answers to the question of why so many suffer. 

We are not attempting to minimise the pain and suffering that some are experiencing. Suffering may, quite reasonably, seem completely unjustifiable. We understand that for many no overarching explanation will be sufficient to give hope.

Our attempts at presenting a possible explanation may seem heartless, if so we apologise. We still have many questions.

We believe that suffering can only be understood when the overall plan of God is kept in mind.

We believe that the eventual destination for all of humanity, indeed all of creation, is a wonderful environment where everyone will reach full maturity and enjoy an abundant life.

But how is the state of full maturity achieved? We suggest that God has created us with the ability to become fully mature but that achieving such a state requires a process.

So many examples are provided in nature of entities forming over time, the galaxies took billions of years, they estimate that our earth has taken over 4 billion years to reach its current state. Many things in nature begin as a seed and only grow to maturity over time, they go through a process. Each adult has been formed through the process of fertilisation, embryonic development, birth, childhood, adolescence and abundant experiences. But how many reach full maturity?

What is full maturity? We would suggest that it is consistently operating in agape love. Consistently demonstrating the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV). We suggest that the only person who has so far consistently demonstrated these attributes was Jesus. So how does God achieve each and everyone of his children reaching the same state?

We believe that it is achieved through process, a variety of many and various processes. Each will involve an opportunity to develop and mature. A child learns to walk through the process of trial and error and learns to talk through the process of listening and imitating the sounds they hear. The processes involved are too many to enumerate, but most are helpful in maturing the individual.

We suggest that it was never the intention for any person to reach full maturity during their life on this earth! Our bodies are not capable of performing to the level required. We get tired and fail to show the kindness required by another. Our memories are fallible and cause us to forget to show the goodness that we intended. In so many ways we fail, not necessarily through lack of intention but rather through weakness.

We propose that full maturity can only be achieved once we have our immortal bodies, so what is the purpose of this current life? Might it be that God principally intends our lives to be involved in multiplying humanity with the secondary desire that we each go as far as possible along the path to maturity?

The first command that God gave was to go forth and multiply (Gen 1:28) and we can observe that the principal occupation of humanity through most of history has been to raise the next generation. Until very recently the populations of all countries have consistently increased, and the world population is still increasing despite the birth rate in some areas decreasing.

To achieve population increase, God had to endower each individual with the desires to procreate, protect and prosper. We believe that these fundamental desires are imbedded in the flesh of most people. Without these desires the population would not have increased and may well have become extinct.

The desire to procreate may not be fulfilled in each person, but those without children are often involved in the development of others in their community. All too often this desire becomes corrupted, and frequently leads to the many forms of sexual abuse that cause so much suffering.

The desire to protect is essential to ensure that while our offspring are developing, they are protected as well as possible. It comes in three forms, protection for oneself, protection for the family and protection of the community. Again, this necessary desire often becomes distorted and results in unnecessary violence and even war.

The desire to prosper ensures that each person enjoys a good life, if the circumstances allow. We believe that God wants us to benefit from the wonderful environment He has created. This desire however can cause terrible suffering if the desires of a strong group subjugate a weaker group.

Suffering can also be caused by thoughtless actions or accidents. Sometimes it seems that, as the popular but crude saying goes, ‘shit happens’ and it is difficult to determine the underlying cause. In an environment with so many beings acting in their agency and will-power, accidents and tragedies happen.

Some suffering is caused by sickness and genetic defects. This is also unavoidable in this age, especially with various types of pollutants finding their way into our bodies. We believe that the eventual aim of God is to establish a great multitude of unique sentient beings that are in a good relationship with him and their neighbours. If everyone had similar personalities, the society created would be boring. An element of randomness is essential to create a society composed of many different types of people. These changes could not be directly influenced by God, otherwise the range of characters produced would be restricted and lack diversity.

Thus, the current world has been deliberately created to include an element of randomness when new beings are formed. Whilst being beneficial and generates great diversity this process allows viruses and bacteria to mutate, which is the cause of much of the sickness in the world. It is also the reason for the genetic defects and other ailments experienced by some at this time.

God has designed our bodies to fight sickness and to heal from injury, but this cannot be guaranteed while we are in our mortal bodies. Our mortality is essential at the current time to ensure that the world does not become overpopulated. Overpopulation would reduce the desire to procreate and constrain the process of multiplication.

Any system created in a physical environment is limited by design constraints. For example, it is not possible to design a water cycle without the possibility of flooding. Whilst the Earth's environment is very good, some of the design compromises have caused much suffering, and this problem is exacerbated when humans interfere with the balance of nature. Many suffer due to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods etc. these are caused by the natural processes inherent in the formation of the physical earth; a living planet. We believe that God through the Holy Spirit gives warning of such events, but currently most people have not learnt to hear and act on her still small voice.

Life on this earth can be very tough, full of horrendous suffering and is frequently cut short. God recognises this and to demonstrate that He understands allowed Jesus to suffer one of the worst executions ever invented. God is with us through whatever we suffer and knows our pain.

Our overall position is that to achieve the formation of a very large number of souls (his children) the current world is the best possible environment that God could have created. God is achieving his principal objective, and beginning to achieve his secondary objective. He knows that He can remove every tear in the ages to come. The issue of why God does not intervene to stop our current suffering is explored on this page.

Maybe when we’ve been raised in the next age and have been alive in a new body for a significant time, we will look back at this life as the necessary birthing process that had to be endured and accepted because it was followed by a wonderful, abundant life. Jesus even suggests that suffering on this Earth is akin to ‘birthing pains’ in Matthew 24:8 and John 16:21. That’s not to minimise the experiences we have here – all of it matters and shapes the process we will need in the eons ahead – but this life is just a phase we must go through.

The future environments will be different. No one is certain what happens after we die, but we believe that at some point each person will be given a new body, capable of demonstrating consistent agape love, and many opportunities to continue the process towards full maturity.

These articles describe some further thoughts on the subject of suffering.

This topic is currently being discussed within the project,  join the discussion here.