How can God be called loving?

Thank you so much for answering my questions! A friend asked how can God be a loving God if animals eat animals. They feel pain and their life is cut short? This friend believes animals have thoughts and respond to humans. Thank you!

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That’s an interesting question. Thanks, @j_bitty_17, I am not sure if I have the correct answer but this is what I think. Perhaps someone else can provide a better answer.

When God first created the earth, it was quite a different place. In Genesis 2: 15-16, God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. The Lord told him that he was free to eat from any tree in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I believe at that time, animals are not for human consumption. It’s possible that animals also do not eat other animals at that time. After the fall of Adam and Eve, they were driven out of the Garden and things started to change. But, it was not until Genesis 9:3, after the flood, the Lord said to Noah, “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you, just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” I think that was the time men started to consume meat. It‘s possible that was also the time animals started eating other animals. Perhaps, all the plants needed to be replanted and it took time to grow.

While we are on earth, God created this eco system that sustained all different species of life form. I believe all life forms feed on another species of life. Plants are lives too. I understand that when we slapped a mosquito, we don’t feel anything, but it is always hard to watch on the Nature film when a tiger caught up with a beautiful deer, rip it apart and devour it. However, on the other hand, if the tiger did not spot the deer, he may go hungry for days. Don’t forget, the animal of prey also preys on humans as well. It was the result of sin that Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden. The Lord told Adam that “through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” At the time, Adam was only eating the plants, but God warned Adam of the hardship and pain that we will be facing in this world.

It is the love of God that provided salvation for us. The life of suffering on earth is just a tiny, small segment of the eternity. As Christians, we know the eternity will be full of hope and glory. We will all face death one day before the second coming of Jesus. God never promised that there will be no pain in this world. In fact, Jesus went through the most excruciating pain himself. Physically, He was flogged and crucified on the cross. Emotionally, He felt the separation from God through death. I cannot imagine how horrible that pain must have been. Therefore, I am certain Jesus knows all about the pain and suffering for us as well as the animals. I also trust that He has the best plan to make all things work out for the best.

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Hello JoEllen

Good question, this question also has as its cousin the question of; why do people suffer in the world that we live in. :thinking:

Built into this question is that if there is pain and suffering then there must not be a God, or if there is one He does not care for the world we live in and therefor is not worthy of getting to know, or worship. :anguished:

Initially I like to reflect on these types of questions from the position; if there is no God, what does that say about the world that we live in? If there is no God the answer to this question is quite simple….life is about the survival of the fittest. We cannot even call meaning to the suffering people, because there is nothing in a lion or deer or a person that gives them intrinsic value. We are all here because of a giant cosmic accident, with no bigger purpose or plan. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
Therefor if we are here because of a cosmic accident, the question itself is meaningless.

But then I would point out that obviously your friend sees value in animals and I assume people. Where does this value come from? How much value do we put on the suffering of people or lions or deer? Why do we put value on the suffering of these creatures and people? :thinking:

The foundational answer behind these questions is that animals and people have value because we were all created by God. If God created all things than He gets to assign how much value there is assigned to people or animals.
For me this does not eliminate God from the picture but points to the reality that there must be a God.
The question that needs to be answered then is; in the sovereignty of God why does He allow the suffering in the world that we live in?
I would be interested in engaging in that question with you if the answer to the first part has any meaning to your friend.

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I will try to answer the question with simplicity for the sake of your friend. Some people view human suffering as the proof that there is no God. If there is a God, why does he allow so much suffering in the world? Some people think God is distant and have little or no concern for whatever is happening in the world.

But we can know the answer if we think about it in the light of what the Bible tells us. The theme of suffering can be found in almost all religions. The answer can be found only in the Bible. Suffering is an effect and the cause is sin. This is quite similar to the law of science which states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Sin entered man through Adam. That sin has contaminated not only mankind but the entire universe. Hunger and poverty, wars and strife, sickness and death, oppression and persecution, injustice and natural disasters and calamities like earthquakes, cyclones and floods, and so on.

We have so many problems, some personal and some universal. But death is our greatest problem. Physical death is inevitable. Because of sin, from dust we were made and sooner or later we return to dust. But worse than physical death is spiritual death. Spiritual death means eternal separation from God. We deserve both physical and spiritual death because of the sin of Adam (the original sin) and because of the sins we commit in thoughts, deeds and words (the personal sin). But God in his mercy and grace provided us a way to salvation. Through the precious blood of Jesus Christ we can be reconciled with God. Salvation is by the grace of God, which means unmerited favor from God. We don’t deserve it but God still offers it to us freely. It is a gift received through faith in Jesus Christ… the greatest gift of God to mankind.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

This verse explores the depths of the love of God. We find it in the cross of Christ. God’s love for us, the sinners, is fully demonstrated by the crucifixion of Christ, the sacrificial lamb, on the cross as the atonement for our sins. The love of God was demonstrated in action on the cross. The infinite love of God is demonstrated by what he did. He sent his only begotten son into the world. We were neither righteous nor good; but impious and wicked. Yet Christ died for us. He took our place on the cross. Whoever believes in him will partake in life eternal in heaven.

Jesus is coming again not to crucified again but in glory and with power and authority to judge the world and establish the New Jerusalem. In that kingdom there will be no tears and suffering, no thirst and hunger. Death will no longer exist.

When Jesus calmed the storm, the people who witnessed it wondered who he is that even the wind and the sea obey him. The reconciliation of mankind and the world with God will bring an end to natural disasters and calamities. Plants and animals will thrive and flourish in the glorious light of God.

Isaiah 11:6-8
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.

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Thanks. @SelieVisa. I cut off too quickly and did not make it clear. Thank you for clarifying that. Yes, my point was that the situation we have is only temporary. When Jesus come back again, in the New World, we will be back to the way of Garden of Eden, as @SelieVisa quoted Isaiah 11 said, there will be peace and harmony. We will not need to see any death anymore.
Hope this topic leads to the opportunity for you to evangelize your friend, @j_bitty_17, as @don58.baker also suggested. Best wishes to you.

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