Q & R: God’s agency

Here’s the Q:

[I think] you do not believe God causes things like my cancer, or tsunamis, which is helpful (and I think I have read you to say something like that before). But I still have trouble with a God who would appear to only answer prayers related to one suffering child, but not the many many others. And the same for a God who created the world as it is, with this much suffering, which seems beyond anything that is necessary. Some believe that suffering came about because of man’s fall, but I suspect you might agree that death and decay seem to have been baked into the universe even before man evolved.

Here’s the R:
The question of suffering challenges us to rethink first the issue of God’s agency (the kind of relationship we think God has with the universe – one of dominating control? crushing will? disinterest and distance? guiding presence and suffering solidarity?) and then the issue of God’s character (is God understood more as a dominating potentate … or as a suffering, indwelling, saving, guiding, loving presence … or ?) It’s a huge subject, too big for a blog post, but I think you’ll find a lot of wisdom here … http://www.ravenfoundation.org/blogs/in-the-beginning/suffering-and-the-god-of-love