Has anyone read this? Check out the NPR interview:
I think that the Bible's 'explanations' for suffering, as well as common christian explanations like Free Will, fail because the bible teaches in its first three chapters that we had a perfect world to begin with. According to Genesis, in the beginning suffering was not redemptive or necessary to feel pleasure. There are indications that man did not have evil in his soul (Genesis 3:6-7, the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil was good for gaining wisdom, and after they had eaten, "their eyes were opened"). We now come upon a contradiction. If eating the fruit was evil, then they should not have had it in their hearts to do evil. If it was not evil, they (and us, their "seeds") should not have been punished for doing no wrong. Christians must conclude that we suffer because of a remote ancestor's sin. Fair and Loving, Huh? Christians may argue that we would have done the same thing if we were in the garden of Eden, so this is why we were never given a perfect world to begin with. But don't we have free will? Since we are innocent to begin with (having done no wrong before we are born), why are we not given what we deserve (a perfect world)?