Hello, Christian. Thank you for being our guest to question this week.
I have an observation that I’m not sure what category to place it under, so thought I’d share it with you for your consideration.
I am currently taking the “Why Suffering” class in the RZIM Academy. I’ve heard several theories or explanations to date as to why God allows suffering… the latest one being Vince Vitale’s “Non-Identity Theodicy”.
As I was studying a different topic a few days ago, I stumbled upon a verse in Genesis 15:16 that said, " …for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." (KJV) God was promising that Abram’s descendants would return to Canaan, where Abram currently was dwelling. I have no Hebrew language training, so looked up a Hebrew lexicon to see what I could learn about the usage in this case of the word “iniquity”, or “avon”. To my understanding, it basically referred to a time of guilt to be punished which the Amorites were living out in their sin of enticing the other tribes of Canaan to worship idols. God was going to judge them when they would be driven out and destroyed by the Israelites who would inherit Canaan. I also looked up “full”, which is “shalem”, or “complete” in this usage. So, the Amorites’ guilt was not yet complete.
Next, I remembered how God punished all the Israelites who did not believe Joshua’s and Caleb’s report when they came back from spying on the land. God did not allow the next generation to cross the Jordan until the previous generation had all died. So, that generation’s guilt was not complete until they all had died, except for Joshua and Caleb.
When Jesus gave His prophecies regarding the last days in Matthew 24, He indicated that times were going to get worse before the world was judged.
So, what I’m hypothesizing, in terms of a possible explanation for why God allows suffering, is that the guilt of Adam’s sin has not been completed, and that times will get worse before God intervenes. Although the OT stories of the Amorites and the Israelites is on a much shorter timeline, Adam’s guilt is continuing to this day.
The Israelites were promised Canaan when the current inhabitants were judged. But the irony was that the generation of the exodus was judged, themselves. Both had a time of punishment that needed to be completed.
God is not willing that any should perish, (2 Tim. 3:9) and is the reason He is delaying the redemption of the saints and the judgment of the unbelievers. We are seeing increased evil and apostasy occurring in our generation, such as what Jesus foretold. Could God be waiting for Adam’s iniquity to be full before He intervenes by taking the saints to be with Him in heaven (as the Israelites were promised Canaan-the land flowing with milk and honey) and judging those left behind? Is the increased suffering and indifference indication that Adam’s iniquity will soon be judged?
I’m wondering if this could be a valid explanation for suffering and evil in the world? Of course, any explanation could be valid, but since I haven’t heard something similar to date, would the apologetics community accept it as plausible?