Thursday, Jan 9, 2020. What is causing trouble for our life? Why are we facing this trouble. What is the origin and cause of the trouble and pain we face? Let us look into different levels of causality with respect to the distress of human life.
Asking for understanding the origin and cause of our trouble is an important question for each of us personally. It is also an important question for the groups we are in, for our family, for our job environment, for our town, our region, our state, our country.
From Nature to Human Decision …
First of all, we need to note that nature itself causes pain and trouble. When you look through human life, you find some pain in the very beginning. The birth is pain for the mother. It is also pain for the child. This pain seems to be part of human existence as it is.
There are challenges when a child grows up. We are adventurous. We try things. And we fail with this and that. When a child starts to walk, at the age of 1 year, it will fall down. It will hurt itself, a little or sometimes in a serious way. That couses pain, it causes trouble. This type of pain seems to be part of human nature as we observe it.
Assume that a humans would be completely harmonic with each other. What trouble, pain and distress would still remain? When you take a brief tour through a typical human life, you will still find the trouble of the natural environment. We find weather related hazards. There is cold and heat, storm and hail and strong rain, flooding, drought etc etc. We are living in an environment which to some extent is a threat to us. Earthquakes and other environmental desasters are part of human life. We are not the cause of most of these desasters. We are living on a beautiful planet, but it is also a dangerous planet.
There are animals, which might be dangerous. Animals search for food. They try to protect their own life. They might fight us. You can think about larger animals, wolfes, lions, snakes. But there are also the insects, which search for blood as their own food and they transmit diseases and illnesses. In general, there are many diseases which can cause trouble, pain and death in our human life. Bacteria play an important role, but they can also be a threat to us.
Finally, humans have a limited life time. Everything in this world is bound by the circle of growth and decay. Everything is bound by a circle of birth and death. In the non-tropical latitudes you find the yearly cycle with spring, summer, autumn and winter to reflect the circle of life. But this circle is there everywhere, for each and every human being. And it causes pain and distress when we grow old, when we find that our body does not do fully what we hope it to do. It is distress to experience death coming, and it can be pain to die. This type of pain is given to us by natural causes, by human nature as we experience it.
Human Mind and Human Cause …
There is also pain and distress caused by the way humans function. Humans are a very complex being. When we grow up, we realize that we are struggling with who we are. Discovering our own personality is a big challenge to us. Being in a social environment, and finding a place, is one of the big tasks for every human individual. It can cause a lot of trouble, a lot of pain, a lot of distress as well. What are the causes for this distress? Are the causes the others? Is it that if you get enough love, you have no problem? That could be an illusion. A human developing to an adult is trying to find and develop his own character. There are many decisions involved, and it can be a lot of trouble, in particular when everything seems to be well-set.
There is sometimes pain caused by our own decisions. Pain can come from the way we act. An example is given by the New Testament itself. Jesus is going into the wilderness. And he gets very hungry after a long time of fasting:
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4, 1-4)
Of course, there is further trouble in human life. We live with others, and the interaction is not always smooth and without conflict. Human conflicts are a major source of trouble, of pain and distress in our life. You do not need to talk about war and physical violence, even verbal violence, ignorance and hatred can cause a lot of pain. Our mind is an important part of our existence, so are our feelings, our character, the way we see ourselves in the framework of social interaction.
The bible does not promise humans a life free of pain or trouble. But it promises that in all our pain and trouble God wants to be there, he wants to be a shepherd and companion. He wants to be there to help and to interact with our trouble and with our pain. In the story of Jesus' temptations, we also see that even here, where the son of God was in trouble, God chose not to miraculously remove the trouble, but to put it into perspective and use it to dig deeper into what is important for human existence. We should further pursue this very important line of thought …, we should broaden our view to understand God's way and perspective for our life in more depth and breadth … (Roland Potthast)
This is part of the trilogy project “Faith of a Scientist”.