For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
– Lamentations 3:33
The Bible states that God does not afflict willingly. That is, he does not afflict because he wants to. In other words, there are one or more reasons why God must allow affliction.
Now, some might say that since God is God he can overrule any reason for allowing suffering and therefore prevent all suffering. This notion of overruling of reason for suffering demonstrates a partial ignorance of the nature of God. While God is greater than all things he is not greater than himself. The Bible states:
…he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
– 2 Timothy 2:13
Note the words “he cannot deny himself.” God is not greater than himself. Now, we didn’t need a Bible verse to know that God is not greater than himself. Common sense tells you that no thing is greater than itself. For example, a duck is not greater than itself. A duck can only do what a duck can do. And a man is not greater than himself. A man can only do what a man can do.
Now, some might say that God has no free will if he is not greater than himself. That is foolish. A man has free will yet he cannot operate beyond the limits of his knowledge, ability, and self-imposed intention. Of course, there are no limits to God’s knowledge, ability, and self-imposed intention.
We could address a host of other concerns. We will address one more.
Some might say that if God is subject to his own self-imposed intention doesn’t that mean that God’s self-imposed intention is greater than God and that therefore, since nothing is greater than God, that God cannot be God.
However, God is not a man. His being is multidimensional. One dimension of his being can have a self-imposed intention while another dimension of his being retains the ability to end that self-imposed intention. Since God is God the power dimension of God dominates the dimension of self-imposed intention. There is much, much more we can say on this subject but we believe this is enough for now at least.