The Problem with the Problem of Pain

The most often used and most well-known argument against the existence of God is probably the problem of pain. Atheists and Agnostics claim that the fact that there is pain in the world proves that God cannot exist. They claim that an all-loving and all-powerful God, if he really existed, would not allow such evil in the world. There are at least three fundamental flaws with this argument.

First, one who uses this argument presupposes that pain is bad. This is not the case. Allow me to illustrate with the example of someone with leprosy. Leprosy causes permanent nerve damage, so that the person inflicted can no longer feel pain. You would think this is a good thing, right? In fact, the inability to feel pain causes many more problems than the ability to feel pain ever would. Leprous people often end up maimed because they cannot feel pain when some physical danger is in contact with their bodies. Feet are permanently mangled due to the inability to feel the ground cutting into them, severing nerves and tendons. Limbs are burned away by fire, unnoticed due to the inability to feel the flame. If they could feel pain, they would have been prevented these injuries. The presence of pain would have actually saved their bodies from disfigurement. Pain is not necessarily a bad thing.

Secondly, one who believes that pain disproves God presupposes that the God and pain are incompatible. They put thoughts into the mind of the God they claim they do not even believe in by claiming that God would not allow pain. In the Bible, God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8).

Thirdly, one who holds this view does not factor in free will. They blame God for pain but forget the fact that they have a will to choose what they do with their lives, and so does everyone else. People inflict pain, physical or emotional, by a choice and free act of the will. It is true that sometimes the outcome is different than intended, but a choice was made nonetheless.

In closing, there is also a major contradiction in the beliefs of many people who use this argument. They tend to blame God for the pain in their lives, and then claim they do not believe in God in the first place. You cannot blame a God you don’t believe in for the pain you have experienced. Either you do believe in God and have some things to work out with him in your journey of faith, or you do not believe in God and thus cannot blame him.

These are a few of the problems with the argument of the problem of pain.


One Response to The Problem with the Problem of Pain

  1. inhisgrace says:

    thank you for this post! we forget that when we pain, God pains too and it was never part of His perfect plan for humankind.

    have a blessed week!

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