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Causes of suffering

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The ultimate cause of suffering is sin, which has brought violence, disease and death into the world. All suffering, however, is under the sovereign purpose of God, who is able to use it for his glory.

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The ultimate cause of suffering is sin

Genesis 3:14–19 KJV 1900
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

It need not be the result of particular sins:


Suffering as a result of human wickedness


Genesis 4:8 KJV 1900
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
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Matthew 26:67 KJV 1900
67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,


Psalm 109:3 KJV 1900
3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; And fought against me without a cause.
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Genesis 37:4 KJV 1900
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
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John 15:20 KJV 1900
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
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Psalm 71:4 KJV 1900
4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
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Jeremiah 50:22 KJV 1900
22 A sound of battle is in the land, And of great destruction.
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Ezekiel 9:9 KJV 1900
9 Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not.
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Ecclesiastes 4:1 KJV 1900
1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
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Matthew 6:19 KJV 1900
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
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Broken relationships

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Suffering as a result of misfortune


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Genesis 48:1 KJV 1900
1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
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Hunger and want

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Natural disasters

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Suffering through old age and death


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Suffering through anxiety

Proverbs 12:25 KJV 1900
25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: But a good word maketh it glad.
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Suffering through foolishness

Psalm 107:17 KJV 1900
17 Fools because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
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Suffering through Satanic activity

The influence of Satan

Genesis 3:1 KJV 1900
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
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Suffering brought about by God himself

All suffering comes within his will


Some suffering is for his immediate glory

John 21:19 KJV 1900
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Jesus Christ’s suffering produces salvation

Isaiah 53:10 KJV 1900
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
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Christian suffering produces good fruits

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God’s people must be disciplined

Hebrews 12:7 KJV 1900
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
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The wicked must be punished

Romans 6:23 KJV 1900
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Suffering accepted voluntarily

By Jesus Christ

1 Peter 2:21 KJV 1900
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
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By his people

2 Corinthians 12:15 KJV 1900
15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
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For the good of others

John 15:13 KJV 1900
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
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