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My Questions

by Michael Roth

I have recently been struggling with why pain and suffering and sin and death have to exist. There are so many atrocities going on in this world every day, events so horrific that sometimes it seems like it would have been better if nothing had ever existed, rather than allow such a thing to happen. Why couldnít God be satisfied with just creating a bunch of robots that would perfectly and happily accomplish every one of Godís desires and plans?

I guess I can understand a little. I have built a robot before. Itís actually quite fun, watching your own creation wander around the path you told it to, or detecting and avoiding wallsÖ but it gives absolutely no sense of companionship. Now, we may eventually be able to create robots that are friendly and conversational, perhaps even better than people. I think that is only because our minds are so limited, that we either forget, or donít understand what we really programmed it to do. God, with his infinite wisdom, needed to create beings that could go against his wishes, not because He told them to, but because they are truly free.

It seems that God values real, true and complete free will above everything else. From Godís perspective, if his creations cannot rebel against His will, it makes no difference at all if anything is ever created. So the choice really was between nothing ever existing (in any sense of the word), and creating a universe that would almost certainly end up causing some (or perhaps all) to suffer nearly unbearable pain and tragedy; to experience the results of sin. Iím not sure I would have made the same choice. However, I am very glad that I will never be put in such a situation; I really wouldnít know what to do. Thankfully that, along with many other issues, are left completely and unequivocally in Godís hands.

There are many things about this that I still donít understand. How could sin have started if it wasnít already in Godís nature? Why did I have to be born into a sinful world? Why canít I ask God to take away my free will entirely? Maybe there are no answers to such questionÖ so long as we live in this world.

[Michaelís reaction to reading Patriarchs and Prophets, Chapter 1: Why was Sin Permitted? Class assignment in 2011.]

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