The root of suffering
The root of suffering – by P.K.Odendaal – August 2015
I think we have lost the thread somewhere or we got blindfolded by the biblical axiom.
The biblical axiom says that the love of money is the root of all evil. If that is so then we are exempt from the injunction that we are the sinners – money really is; so that cannot be, as we know too well. Giving money the blame for all our sins will just not fly. I think we read that axiom incorrectly or our deduction of the relationship between sin, evil and suffering is wrong.
Firstly we may take the hypothesis that evil is the root of all suffering, but this will also not fly, because it seems intuitively that many people who suffer have not sinned to the extent of that suffering, and we see intuitively that often evil people seem to be happy and free from suffering. It thus seems that the love of money is the root of all evil, but that evil is not the only root of suffering.
Well ... that is already some revelation, because conventional wisdom has it that we suffer due to our sin. And, being the conventional wisdom, we have learned to view it with doubt and skepticism.
We do however suffer due to our sin as well, but sin is not the only progenitor of our suffering. Suffering is pervasive in our lives for many reasons, and once we realize that it is not only due to transgression and sin, we will come to understand and appreciate and even like it, however hard that may be.
To start at a very fundamental level, we can say that God never promised us Heaven on Earth and the meaning of that is that whilst there will not be any tears, pain, grief or suffering in Heaven, we can expect those things on Earth as a normal occurrence.
Secondly, you will recall, that when I discussed the ‘Best of all possible Worlds’ (see article elsewhere), I deduced that such a world would be a totally chaotic world where we could use our free will, innovation and creativity to maximum advantage - not that many people would like it or do it.
As a corollary to this, we will also, in such a chaotic world, be able to develop ourselves to amend our shameful past of rebellion against God to bring it in line again with the will of God. Unfortunately such a process cannot be implemented without tears, pain, grief or suffering as even the Son of God himself had to go through this to learn to be obedient as scripture says: Heb. 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and we are no better than He is.
Therefore, if we accept the argument, we will learn to endure and trust suffering and come to know that we suffer not only when we sin, in line with the law of Cause and Effect, but we also suffer to become whole. Then suffering will become our friend and not our foe.
And this is quite contrary to the argument of atheists who say that a loving God will not let mankind suffer and our suffering is the result of a vengeful God, which of course is false in that sense. I personally find His love perfected in the concept that He allows me the opportunity to suffer to become like Him. Well … that is a revelation I only now begin to realize and even enjoy.
The root of suffering can then be said to be the process of completing our own creation with the help of God to become like God in that sense.