You often find people who shoot their mouths off with routine questions about suffering. Off the cuff, they ask, “How can there be a God with all the suffering in the world?” and “Why do bad things happen to good people?” However, it is only upon establishing certain key principles that we can ask these questions on a logical and intellectual basis.
The logical and intellectual difficulty of suffering is: Given that God creates us in order that we gain the most pleasure, joy, and happiness, which is the relationship, association, and affiliation with Him, and given that there is nothing that He “gains” from us, meaning that there is no change that we can make in God’s essence, then the act of creation is an ultimately good and giving act and God is the Ultimate Good and the Infinite Giver.
After all, it is illogical and unreasonable to assert that God is a taker who has created us for His gain. Again, being that God is Infinite, there is nothing that God “gains” from us. That is, since there is no lacking in God, the creation act can only be an act that is opening an opportunity for us to gain. If you were to assert that God created a world in which no one gains – neither God nor us – that renders the creation act random and purposeless. But this assertion is also illogical and unreasonable since, for a Being beyond all limitations, any “action” would have an ultimate purpose at its core.
For example, if a person were to claim, “Really God just created us so that He can endlessly torture us because He has a masochistic twist to Him” – it would imply that God created the world as a taking act. Such motivation to create for the sake of fulfilling a masochistic urge would demonstrate a lack in God that He needs or wants to fill – and such a lack is not an option when it comes to an Infinite Being.
So we are left with the question: If God is all about giving and goodness, then why are we suffering? Why is there pain in the world? This is the suffering question from a logical and intellectual perspective.
But before we begin to attempt a path at an answer to the suffering question, we need one brief introduction…
Rational versus Emotional
We just brought up what seems to be a theological and philosophical difficulty. We have asked a rational question, and therefore we think we are looking for a rational solution.
However, there are two sides to us – rational and emotional.
And, oftentimes, people think “I have a rational problem and, therefore, what I need is a rational solution.” But we find that it doesn’t really work that way. Instead, even if we are given the most rock-solid rational answer to our question or problem, if we are not feeling better about the situation, we tend to feel as if we have not been given an answer at all.
Therefore, as we go forward with this topic in the forthcoming articles (God willing), we need to be focused in on one thing: Does this answer fit rationally? Because nothing is going to be said here that will necessarily make us feel better about suffering or death…
Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov is a cutting edge international speaker on Kabbalah, relationships, parenting, and life, and the author of the #1 Amazon’s Best Seller, Jewish By Choice: A Kabbalistic Take on Life & Judaism.
Rabbi Eliyahu’s next North American lecture tour is scheduled for February 4-20. To book a presentation, seminar, or consultation email email@example.com