I have a question for you that sparked while going through one of the lessons in the ARS Apologetics Certificate Program.
In terms of suffering – I understand most of the arguments/material in terms of our sin, humans causing suffering, humans choosing to suffer, Joy existing because of suffering, etc; however, there is one thing that is ringing in my head that I still haven’t heard much of an answer for. In terms of disease, I understand that in our biological system our diseases either need to exist for life to exist, or they are only strands different than normal bacteria, or something along those lines. However, what if someone were to say “why, if God is all powerful, would he not create a system where disease/disabilities need not exist? Why does blindness from birth exist? Why does ALS exist? Why do rare orphan diseases exist…? God could have omitted these.” Surely he COULD have created a world without disease/imparements, because he’s God. And, of course, I cannot myself create a better method, but I am not God! And surely we would never say that this type of suffering was because of someone’s sin or so that we could understand that joy exists. I cannot think of a reasonable answer for this, other than that he is God and he is doing what is best… How would you answer this question?
There is an assumption behind the question that I do not agree with. The assumption is that suffering is bad/evil and that death is bad/evil. I do not agree with this thesis. It is sin that is evil. Death is not bad, it is being separated from God forever in hell that is bad. Emotionally, I will admit that I find your question difficult. I will admit this, but intelectually, if looked at from God’s perspective sickness and death are not inherenty bad or evil. We do live in a fallen world, the result of which is evil, but also various kinds of suffering which perhaps would not have existed had mankind not fallen. Diseases, both caused by microbes and genetic are “natural.” A person who is blind is not inherently more likely to go to hell. In fact the man born blind (John 9) was in this condition so that God could be glorified. I understand that it takes a LOT of faith to look at some kinds of suffering, such as you listed above, and to see why God might have allowed that particular thing, but nothing on your list is an exception to this principle. God created bacteria and bacteria are amazing. They can adapt to virtually any conceivable environment, including to living inside of us. Virtually all bacteria is “good” from a human perspective, but the natural tendency to evolve causes some kinds of bacteria to become “bad” (from a human not from a God perspective). Someone might wish that God would intervene in his natural world to prevent such things, but this is not God’s nature. He gives even to nature a kind of free will and only intervenes very rarely and for good reasons which we are not privy to.
God could eliminate these things if he so chose, but to do so would violate his nature. God could eliminate our free will and cause us to do what is right, but it is not in his nature to do so. Naturally, we want to create God in our own image, but the actual God is better than anything we could create in our minds. Unfortunately, this means that we must trust in him, even in questions that do not make sense to us.
It seems that your answer to your own question is pretty close to mine. Great minds think alike.