Why Is There Suffering In The World?
Certainly, people cause each other pain, but why is there suffering in the first place? Does God cause it?
The Universe is a harsh and dangerous place.
While this is true, many Christians don't think about the Universe being harsh from the very beginning. After all, God made everything good, right? Didn't He create a paradise and place a garden in the middle of that paradise for man?
Yes, God did do all of that. But, just because He made everything good doesn't mean that He made everything safe. Remember the tree in the garden?
God did create a wonderful place for man, and this was a place in which man was protected. But, that's not the end of the story.
With the Fall, man engaged in open rebellion to God.
When God put man in the Garden, He said "Here's a wonderful place for you. Just don't do this one thing." Man said "Nah, I'd rather do things my own way."
At this point, man and creation "fell," and life became unpleasant. But, here's something to think about. What is it that God actually did? Did He not simply give man a taste of what things would be like without Him? Man said to God "I don't want to do things your way." God responded "OK. I will give you exactly what you asked for, even though you're not going to like it."
God did not actually need to create pain and suffering. The universe was already a harsh place. God simply removing His protection would cause man to have to deal with the harsh world for which he was not equipped. We might wonder why God would remove His protection, but then again, why should God protect creatures who don't want it?
Since the Fall, pain and suffering have been repurposed.
While pain and suffering were never part of the original plan, that doesn't mean that they don't have a purpose now. As much as we dislike suffering, it is probably the most effective tool to help us see our mistakes, reach out to God, and grow. Personally, I prefer pleasure. But, if I look at my life, I can see that it was in the times of suffering and difficulty when I grew the most as a person.
The existence of suffering was not the original or ideal state, nor it is the final order of things. It is a consequence of man preferring to do things his own way, and God removing His protection. However, God is currently using suffering as one tool to renew man. It is really unpleasant (which is kind of the definition of suffering), but it is not something that will last forever.