From the Revd Professor Alasdair Coles
Sir, - Canon Angela Tilby is right ("Carrying the cost of
freedom", 9 January) to feel liberated by the fact that most
cancers cannot be attributed to genetics or lifestyle. It is bad
enough to have cancer, let alone be made to feel guilty that it was
caused by our choices.
But she is wrong to think that there is no reason for cancers to
exist. They - like many diseases - arise through random genetic
mutations, interacting with environmental insults. The same
mechanism underlies evolution, the means by which our Creator chose
to create us. So God mandates disease and disability to be the
necessary consequences of human existence.
At the heart of the process by which we are made in the image of
God is suffering.
Professor or Neuroimmunology in the University of
Department of Neurology
Box 165, Addenbrooke's Hospital
Cambridge CB2 2QQ