Some thoughts on the problem of evil

I don’t think there’s one single theodicy that explains away all evil. It tends to be “Well that theodicy doesn’t explain X”. Well so what? I mean God can certainly have more than one reason for allowing evil.
The character building theodicy might not cover X but it explains Y whereas the freewill theodicy doesn’t explain Y but explains X.
A lot of theodicies might lack explanatory scope all by themselves. But when combined with other theodicies the scope covers almost if not all cases of evil.
Of course someone can always bring up a terrible suffering like Hell or the Holocaust. But these are actually not good objections. For both of these cases have to do with human libertarian free-will. Therefore, humans are obviously responsible not God in these cases.
But is God also responsible in cases like this? I don’t think so. A lot of times we do say someone is guilty for example if they know Jones is going to go murder someone, yet they it back and watch it happen. Some like to say this is the case with God and the Holocaust.
But I think that analogy assumes that it is always the case that people are wrong for not intervening when someone does something wrong. But this is clearly false. Sometimes, at least, (and maybe even the Holocaust), intervening could very well have disrupted everything for the worst. God can’t always intervene. If he does, then free-will isn’t free-will.
The opponent needs to show that God intervening in the Holocaust wouldn’t have damaged any further goods and that it wouldn’t have caused greater evils down the road.
Well what about certain evils like cancer and the like? Well for the Christian theist, he can immediately point out that there is no natural evil. What I mean is that every single evil is ultimately man’s fault, tracing back to original sin and its effect on the world.
But why can’t God lessen the degree of “natural” evil?
Well this is a loaded question. It already assumes that he hasn’t. Truth be told, we all agree that life is worth living. If that is the case, then there can’t be as much suffering as we like to say there is.
Even if God did lessen the amount of suffering, we would still ask the question. That’s because I think we know there’s more good than evil in the world. Yes, there’s a bunch of suffering in the world but a lot of good. We notice suffering and call it really bad precisely BECAUSE it’s the exception, not the rule.
Besides, it’s not the quantity of suffering that would render God’s existence improbable. Rather, most philosophers of religion agree that it’d be the quality of suffering that would render God’s existence improbable. I’m speaking of pointless suffering. But of course the burden of proof is on the atheist to show that there are cases of suffering that are pointless or meaningless.
Well what about animals? Why do they have to suffer for what humans did?
Well it is true that it seems unfair that animals do have to suffer. More on that in a second.
But there’s a potential worry here that this objection is out to make animals almost human like in the way they experience pain.
However, in his book , “Nature Red in Tooth and Claw”, Michael Murray points out that this is false.
In other words, there’s no good philosophical or scientific evidence that says animals suffer like humans. In fact, all the evidence seems to be to the contrary, according to Murray.
But back to the point about why they even have to suffer to begin with. If it is true that humans are responsible for animals suffering. Than whether animals are innocent or not, we still can’t blame God. Humans freely chose to bring suffering in the world. Not God. It’s obviously wrong. But the blame is on humans inflicting innocent pain, not God.
But didn’t animals predate humans from the evidence that we see from evolution? Michael Murray points out that this seems to be the case. However, he points out that various theologians including Lewis and Augustine have a response.
We can attribute the responsibility to Satan himself who could have very well messed up God’s design in nature before animals started to come onto the scene. Now this isn’t ad hoc because this theory was around before Darwinism ever came on to the scene. Nor do I think it’s bizarre. For in the book of job and all throughout Jesus’ ministry, we see the great power that Satan has. Nowhere near God’s power. But still way more powerful than humans. And as a supernatural creature by definition, it isn’t that hard to imagine what he can do to nature.
But is it probable that Satan exists?
This objection is confused. The theist can appeal to his own worldview in order to solve the problem since the very problem of animal suffering is for the theist. So it’d make no sense if a theist couldn’t appeal to supernatural forces to explain certain phenomena.


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