I asked my atheist friends why they did not believe in God, and one of the more common reasons had to do with suffering. If you start thinking about it, there is a lot of suffering. People die painful death due to cancer, Covid, and other illnesses. Many are homeless and those who have a home often do not have a happy family life. Then there's pollution, abuse of workers, and all sorts of other problems.

So if God is almighty, he does not seem to be doing anything loving with it. Torturing people in hell for not believing in Jesus sounds excessive.

For now asking for answers according to JW doctrine: what reason(s) is/are there to love this God?


3 Answers 3


In case you are not aware, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in hell as a place of punishment. They say hell is merely the grave and that there is no conscious awareness for the dead. So, the question of hell does not even arise in JW thinking with regard to the matter of suffering.

Likewise, when you comment, "So if God is almighty, he does not seem to be doing anything loving with it" - that is not what JWs or a billion or so Christians in a variety of denominations think. Atheists might, but you are not asking for an atheist answer, so the question of whether God is "doing anything loving" does not arise here either. They would all testify to experiencing God's love themselves. No atheist could even begin to think God's love might be experienced now.

That only leaves the question with one leg to stand on - the basic question of, "What reasons do J.Ws have for loving Jehovah God?" One has already given an answer to that short question. I summarise that as:

God created this earth with the intention of making it a paradise for his people. He has promised that one day very soon there will be a resurrection of the dead and the original paradise will then be restored. Most people who died in the past will get a second chance to earn God's favour over 1,000 years on earth with no Satan or demons around.

(Sources: Reasoning from the Scriptures - Suffering pp393-4 & pp70-71 & Your Relationship with God pp179-80, 2009 edition.)

For JWs, the prospect of all that happening in the imminent future is reason to love Jehovah God. They are fully focused on that, so whatever suffering takes place here and now only serves to help them concentrate harder on getting into that paradise earth. Although I'm a Christian who is not a JW, and I would answer the question very differently, I'm confident JWs believe the Bible shows God to be loving.


A long answer:

Imagine someone gives you a huge plot of land, with enough resources to build a house, houses, gardens, basically everything to sustain, and have a happy life. You work hard, build your house, some houses, you plant gardens and make it a really nice place. Just you feel a bit lonely and isolated, so after some time you decide to invite some other people to live in the territory. Which is nice at the start, but after the people you invited, are having fights with each other, are mistreating the animals, are polluting the garden. You try to make some rules for them, in order to live healthy in peace and happiness, but they ignore those and things are getting worse and worse. Should you force them to listen with violence? What can you do? You keep warning them and mention that listening to your rules would be for their own good. But they react who are you to decide what is good for us, what would make us happy. So you decide to stop your support to them, you do not provide food any more, you stop to take care for their plots of land, in order should bear the consequences of their actions. They start to complain to you and accuse you of behaving as a dictator, trying to force them to live according to your rules. You react that you just want what is best for them, but they are free to do what they want; listening to your rules would make them healthier, happier, and it would show some appreciation for being invited and having the possibility to live in such a wonderful place. They react: what is wonderful about this place; the earth is poisoned, the animals are suffering, the houses are slowly becoming ruined, it is dangerous to go outside because of the violent people. Why should we be thankful to you for living in this miserable place?

This story is just a fictitious brief illustration, but it has many similarities with the situation of mankind and God. God and his heavenly helpers designed the universe and the forces of nature to establish life on earth. And he asked people to expand the paradise garden, giving few principles and rules (Genesis 1-3). But people had freedom of choice decided to do things their own way:

Genesis 6:5,6 Consequently, Jehovah saw that man’s wickedness was great on the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. 6 Jehovah regretted* that he had made men on the earth, and his heart was saddened.

So basically the present world and its suffering are just the consequences of the decisions and actions of people living around us and before us. In the time in between God created several times possibilities to have a sort of "restarts", with Noah (for all of humanity), with Abraham and Mozes (for a specific nation), with Jesus (just for a subset of people who voluntarily want follow his ways). He gave detailed rules (Leviticus), and he gave principles:

Matthew 22:37 He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”

But in the end, people only listened locally or temporarily as a collective or (small) subset. The difficulty is that even if individual people try to go by the principles and listen his rules, they are still suffering the consequences of actions of the many other people who are not listening and who are causing suffering, pollution and even persecute those who try to follow Jesus way of life that leads to unity with God's purpuse.

That is why Jesus prayed the following in John 17

17 Jesus spoke these things, and raising his eyes to heaven, he said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son so that your son may glorify you, 2 just as you have given him authority over all flesh, so that he may give everlasting life to all those whom you have given to him. 3 This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4 I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was. 6 “I have made your name manifest* to the men whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have observed your word. 7 Now they have come to know that all the things you gave me are from you; 8 because I have given them the sayings that you gave me, and they have accepted them and have certainly come to know that I came as your representative, and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I make request concerning them; I make request, not concerning the world, but concerning those whom you have given me, because they are yours; 10 and all my things are yours and yours are mine, and I have been glorified among them. 11 “I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them+ on account of your own name, which you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.

So Jesus know that it was going to be hard and difficult to live in a world of suffering. But God send Jesus to tell us a message of "good news" that in the future things will get better, and Jesus asks God to help his followers until that time.

John 5: 28 Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.

so there will be a resurrection, and

Revelation 11:18 But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time came for the dead to be judged and to reward your slaves the prophets and the holy ones and those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”

So Jesus and God, will clean up the earth, for a good cause:

Revelation 21:3,4 ...The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. 4 And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

So to summarize a short answer:

Reasons to love God are that he created the earth to be inhabited by people and animals in Harmony, with the intention to establish a Paradise for a society of humans. But humans have a free will, and until now most of them messed it up. However, God still want to pursue his goal, he gives principles to live by that help to even now live a relatively healthy and happy life in a miserable world, moreover, and he promises that one day there will be a resurrection of the death and the intended paradise will be restored.


As to hellfire, we do not believe that God tortures anyone in hell. Besides not being in line with God's personality toward humans, passages like Ecclesiastes 9:5 and Psalm 146:4 tells us that dead people are not conscious of anything at all.

References to fire in Bible are often symbolic and are to be understood figuratively. See for example Revelation 20:14 that says that concepts such as death and the Grave were hurled into the lake of fire. That verse also explains that the "lake of fire" symbolizes "the second death".

Current state of the world was not God's plan but he has allowed it for a limited time

Some points we can learn from the Bible regarding Jehovah God and wickedness is that

  1. We can see Jehovah's love for humankind in how he prepared life here on earth. God could have created just one or two food types, for example, but instead we have a large variety of plant-life suitable for food.

    Also his love can be seen in the requirements for Adam and Eve. They were not given a multitude of laws or required to work 40 hours per week for the food or the heating and sunlight. The only thing that was asked was that they do not do something (i.e. not to eat from that one tree).

    The tree of good and bad symbolized the right for humans to determine what is good vs bad, i.e. to set their own standards. Essentially through obeying God's law in reference to that tree, Adam was saying that God had the right to set those standards.

  2. Wickedness did not originate from God. There is nothing in the Bible that says that God somehow wanted or expected Adam to fail. We also know that sex was not "the original sin" because Genesis 1:28 says

    Further, God blessed them, and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it...

    In that passage God blessed the first human couple with the intent that they would subdue the earth. This is something he would not have done after their sin (after their sin the earth was cursed, as stated in Genesis 3:17). Also God told them to have children and "fill the earth" so his original purpose was for humans to use their procreative powers.

  3. When wickedness first appeared, God took steps to ensure that it will exist only for a limited duration. In Genesis 3:18 Jehovah said to the originator of the new situation (Satan) that

    And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will strike him in the heel.

    In that prophecy God foretold a future end to the new situation that had developed. This same future endpoint was later again referenced in passages such as Daniel 2:44, Matthew 24:14, and Revelation 16:14.

The problems in this world also stem from that it is ruled by Satan

The situation that developed after the original sin is that the earth ended under the dominion of Satan (John 12:31). This can also be seen in Luke 4:6 where Satan offered Jesus the rulership of earth, saying

I will give you all this authority and their glory, because it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

Jehovah could have ended this current situation hundreds or thousand of years ago

Another point is that God could have ended this situation at any time. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus said however that

And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

We could think about, why would Jehovah care about that the gospel/good news is preached before the end comes? After all it is not he who would suffer.

But one reason for this is given in 2 Peter 3:9 where it says

Jehovah is not slow concerning his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.

This same sentiment is expressed in Ezekiel 33:11 that says

Tell them, '"As surely as I am alive," declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that someone wicked changes his way and keeps living."'

Jehovah did not have to send his son to die in our behalf

Also, Jehovah did not have to send his son here to die in our behalf. He could have, for example, abandoned us to an eternal cycle of birth and death. As he was not the cause of Adam's rebellion, he was not really responsible for fixing it either.

This is why the Bible says that his motivation for sending Jesus was, not that he was somehow forced, but as stated by Jesus in John 3:16

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son

Jehovah’s willingness to provide the ransom shows that he is willing to put our future and welfare ahead of his own emotions.

Jehovah did not have to provide the hope of resurrection

Again as Jehovah was not the cause of Adam's rebellion, he was not really responsible for resurrecting any past dead humans either. Technically he could just have left those who are dead "where-ever they are".

However, the Bible tells us that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous (Acts 24:15). This means that people of all races will eventually be resurrected, as Anne wrote. This would include people that were considered "inferior" or "less evolved" by people from countries that considered themselves "superior".

Because to Jehovah God there is no difference between human races; what matters to him is the inner person.

Human life is not disposable to Jehovah

A reason for Jehovah's behaviour toward humankind can be found by considering Matthew 6:28-30 where Jesus spoke about how he took care of clothing plant-life like lilies. In Matthew 6:30 Jesus said:

Now if this is how God clothes the vegetation of the field that is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith?

The point here is that plants are referred to as something disposable, in contrast to humans. Human life is not disposable to Jehovah. Rather, even a sinner's life has value in his eyes and we know this from that he sent his only-begotten son to die in behalf of sinners. Romans 5:7, 8 says that

For hardly would anyone die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone may dare to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The fact that human life has value in Jehovah's eyes is the reason why he said to Noah and Noah's family about shedding human blood, in Genesis 9:5, 6

Besides that, I will demand an accounting for your lifeblood...Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image He made man.

It is also the fundamental reason why the previous world was ended by a Deluge, as stated in Genesis 6:13

After that God said to Noah: "I have decided to put an end to all flesh, because the earth is full of violence on account of them, so I am bringing them to ruin together with the earth."

The same issue is behind the reason why he told the Israelites to take over the land of Canaan. Psalm 106 talks about the Israelites adopting the religious customs of Canaan and one of the results from this was what is stated in Psalm 106:38

They kept spilling innocent blood, the blood of their own sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with bloodshed.

So again one could ask, why does it matter to Jehovah if humans are violent toward each other? It matters because to Jehovah human life is not disposable. This fact is visible in his behaviour toward humankind and is a reason why we can love him and why we can have a hope for the future.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .