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Hands resting on prison bars

5.13 Is global suffering or crisis a punishment of God?

God and disaster

Especially in the Old Testament books of the Bible you may read about the wrath of God, who sometimes seems to send out armies to destroy entire peoples. Often, these episodes are thought to speak more about the spiritual struggle against evil than about historical wars. At any rate, whatever the interpretation of these grim Old Testament texts, we have Jesus, who came to show us that the true face of God is that of a loving father. And a truly loving father would never subject his children to terrible suffering! Look what Jesus did: rather than letting us suffer the consequences of our sins, he offered his own life in great suffering, so that we could be forgiven our sins!

 

John said it very concisely: “God is love!” (1 John 4:8). Love and global suffering are two opposites that cannot be reconciled. At one of the most dramatic moments of his life, during the Last Supper, before he was going to suffer and die on the cross, Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34). There are some explanations for the existence of evil in the world. When lived with Jesus, suffering can get a certain sense, but evil is neither created nor willed by God.

This is not God’s punishment: he is suffering with us now! Jesus showed that God is love, and even suffered in our place so we would not have to suffer.