The Agony of God

After many years of spiritual struggle and honest searching, God has revealed a new understanding of the nature of suffering to me, and I now feel it is an important part of my life’s work to share that understanding with the rest of humanity.

There are two significant ways in which God suffers.  Firstly, God is supremely alone in the universe.  All that exists is an expression of God’s own self, so really God is all that exists.  Can you imagine what that must be like – never having another free being with whom to interact?

Secondly, God is unable to switch off.  Existence is part of God’s very nature, and so for all eternity God must live with the knowledge that there will never be an ending.  Even if you have infinite power, as God does, how do you stay entertained and occupied for all eternity?

I believe that these two problems amount to a kind of “hell” for God, and are the reason that God chooses to inflict suffering on human beings and all other forms of life on Earth.  God experiences both the yin and yang of existence; the agony and the joy, the highs and the lows.  I believe that God makes us suffer in order to reflect His own predicament, so we get a taste of the real thing – of what ultimate reality is like for God.

There is a long history of attempting to come to terms with suffering in philosophy, from the Hedonism of Epicurus, to the Stoicism of Zeno, to the Utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill.  Many philosophers have touched upon suffering in their writing, but all serious attempts to tackle the problem have fallen short of accounting for the seemingly gratuitous and unnecessary extent of suffering in the world.  By understanding that God Himself suffers agony, we have an insight that can help us to understand why God might create such terrible suffering in His creatures.

Do you believe that God suffers?  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

10 comments

  1. Definitely an interesting idea. When people are sad they often express that sadness through art, whether it be a sad song, poem, or painting. Perhaps our sadness and pain is God expressing himself in a similar way.

    Another thing that comes to mind is that fact that we are social creatures, so it is easy to imagine the agony of being alone. However, some animals are not social and live solitary lives. For them, this would make no sense, so the real problem is that God is also a social creature with no society to socialize in. (hope that made sense)

    If this conception of God were correct, perhaps God would try to construct a companion God. Maybe that is what the old pantheons were. Seems like there are some ideas for some good fiction in there somewhere.

  2. I love your analogy with art, poetry, and music – that makes a lot of sense to me.

    I think that one of the reasons why God might create billions of creatures is because they are as close to genuine social interaction as God can get. Creating a creature that is somehow ‘outside’ of God is impossible, because part of God’s nature is to be everything and everywhere.

    I suppose we don’t know how the solitary creatures you speak of experience reality – we only know how human beings experience reality.

    Many thanks for your thoughts.

  3. The origin and existence of sin explains the existence of suffering, and the existence, suffering, death and resurrection of Yeshua show us how suffering will come to an end for those who put their faith in Emmanuel as their Lord and Saviour.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Sin implies free will, and I don’t believe in free will because in reality there is one will in the universe – God’s will. God is responsible for all our human experiences (He is omnipotent and omnipresent) therefore the idea of separation from God, or sin, is illogical. Best wishes, Steven

  4. God has given man free will. God is omnipotent, but does not always intervene in man’s decisions, allowing man to grow in understanding of what being holy means. Man is made in God’s image, so God wants man to develop godly attributes. It’s not illogical for God to exercise his omnipotence when he wills because his will is perfect. Sinning is falling short of God’s standard and is an experience through which we can learn to be more holy and reduce our sinful ways. if we don’t learn that,we may face eternal separation from God. Those who stay faithful to God and accept his Son as saviour, will receive an eternity, free from sin, with God

    1. Many thanks for your comment. We obviously disagree. I used to be a Christian, but it is now obvious to me that God is in control of everything and so there is not free will in the sense that Christians tend to believe. If you don’t believe God is in control of your life then why do you pray?! Who is it that is unfolding your life’s plan? The idea that you are free from the will of God is ridiculous if you give it some serious thought. Everything happens by the will of God. I discuss this subject in depth in my new book which will be available next year, but there are also plenty of articles on this blog and in my book The Philosophy of a Mad Man that go into more depth about my views. Have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s