Gnostic Doctrine

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Suffering

Suffering

Underlying all the loose thinking on the subject which has been surveyed so far is one basic assumption: it is that suffering is evil in itself. It is this belief that suffering is the essential evil that lies at the root of Buddhism. The Bible view is radically different: suffering is not evil in itself, but a symptom of a deeper evil. The Scriptures portray suffering as a consequence of sin: not necessarily the sin of the individual who suffers, but sin in the history of man and in human society. Its origin is succinctly put by the Apostle Paul:


"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).


The sentence upon the woman after the disobedience in Eden says:


"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."


To the man God says:


"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" (Genesis 3:16,19).


The teaching is simple. With man's disobedience there came a dislocation in the relationship between the Creator and the created; the relation between God and man is out of joint. The first sin brought a fundamental change which affects all with the evils which are common to man. Death is universal: God does not modify it for the particular individual. The Bible teaching is that men are left to their own ways and the working of natural law, though there may be times when natural disaster is divinely directed as a judgement upon man and for the cleansing of the earth. The outstanding example is the flood in the days of Noah.


At the same time it is true that in the Bible, for those who seek to serve God, suffering takes on new meaning; they are in a new relationship to the Creator, and will learn to see tragedy in a new light. What is it?


The literal meaning of the Hebrew expression translated “slow to anger” (“long-suffering” in some translations) is “length of nostrils [where anger flares up].” (Ex 34:6; Nu 14:18; .) The Greek word ma·kro·thy·miʹa (long-suffering) literally means “longness of spirit.” (Ro 2:4Int) Both the Hebrew and Greek expressions denote patience, forbearance, slowness to anger. The English word “suffering” in the word “long-suffering” has the sense of “putting up with, permitting, tolerating, holding up, or delaying.” “Long-suffering” means more than merely enduring pain or trouble. It does not mean merely “suffering long” but involves deliberate restraint

 Creative Suffering (as in contrast to unnecessary suffering): All suffering is primarily an expression of energy. When such energy is producing change, purification or growth for a person, such energy expression is creative.

Useless, unnecessary suffering in human beings is not entirely useless and unnecessary; it is useless and unnecessary to the Earth and to the individual person, but it becomes food for the moon.

Useless, Unnecessary Suffering: The worst thing that can happen to any person (except that we "feed the moon"). Unity equates this with the opposite of God's will for man. This is the type of suffering which man does not need but which does create for himself. The energy of this type of suffering does not go into man's creative growth but is drained from him for purposes other than his own benefit. In Bible symbolism, useless, unnecessary suffering is called damnation and suffering in hell.

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