People often suffer terribly because of things like disease and natural disasters. Is this fact incompatible with the belief that there is an all-powerful God who cares about people? My answer to this question is that the suffering of people because of natural forces such as disease and natural disasters does not mean that there is not an all-powerful God who cares about people. In the main monotheistic religions today such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam, people believe that human beings are the favourite creation of God, and this belief makes it difficult to understand why an all-Powerful God would allow his creation to suffer from natural causes.

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One argument that can be used for these religions is that God is like a wise parent, who wants his children to experience some suffering so that they grow and become stronger, and learn important lessons. By subjecting humans to suffering such as disease, for example, an all-powerful God might be caring for humanity by pushing them to develop their knowledge of medicine and so become stronger. Or, an all-powerful God might cause humans to suffer from a natural disaster such as an earthquake to bring people closer together and help them become a stronger community. Another argument might be to look at other cultures’ religious beliefs, where humans are not always the favourite creations of God. In this argument, by causing humans to suffer God is still showing his care and love for other parts of his creation.

For example, a river flooding might be suffering for humanity, but might show care and loving to the wildlife in the area who would benefit from the soil being made better by the flood water. In this example, God is being caring towards one creation and that means causing another creation to suffer, so in using his power God needs to make choices. Therefore, the idea of a caring, all-powerful God is not incompatible with the fact of human suffering from natural causes.