One of the curiosities of the modern era is the way that the debate about whether a good God would allow human suffering, the eternal question of theodicy, has become a persuasive argument for atheism (or at least against Christianity) at the same time that actual physical suffering has in many ways declined. The world of mass infant mortality, rampaging disease, and endless toothaches had more confidence in God’s ultimate beneficence than the world of increasing life expectancy and effective pain-management techniques.

The real Christian answer to the “problem” of suffering is that we have the problem all wrong.