I thank RJS for some clear thinking. Good points.
I go farther. Suffering can obviously have good effects sometimes. Regardless, suffering of itself is not bad. It is not evil.
If I cause suffering, I am evil, but the sufferer is not evil. The suffering is not evil. It is unpleasant. It is undesirable, but it is not evil.
If one insists on blaming God for suffering, well, that makes a problem, but I don’t think it is God’s problem, because I don’t blame God for suffering, except that is where the “buck stops.” Sure, in the ultimate sense, God is the cause, the only ultimate cause for all.
However, I think we err when we look at it that way.
It is all bigger than we can think. We cannot comprehend the universe. It is vast beyond hope of comprehending. Time is beyond our full comprehension, but a few billion years past, and perhaps that much future, maybe even several times over, is something we feel we can comprehend because we know what billions means when we consider things like the human population. We know we cannot have any sort of omniscience about it, but we can hold perspective with regard to time, even with our very short lives. The natural universe is not so. It is bigger than imagining.
God’s purpose is obviously even beyond that.
There is only one truly important question. Why?
Why is the ultimate question, and the one we are beginning to realize that we probably cannot answer, not ever, especially not in this life, probably not even in eternity.
Farther up and further in, Reepicheep cried.
That is all I know.
Farther up and further in.
There is so much more, and it just seems to me that the problem of evil is really just a misnomer, an artifact of just not really being able to figure any of it out in an ultimate sense.
Nature simply moves to eliminate imbalance. Imbalances arise from all sorts of conditions. Imbalances cause problems for us humans, especially with regard to necessities and health. Phenomena emerge to increase the efficiency of alleviating imbalance, and nature cares not one whit how nor what comes about because of the alleviation. Emergent phenomena can become quite complex. You and I are good examples. Nature doesn’t mind taking the long road. We are obviously rather inefficient in some regards, and we cause imbalance in so many regards, but overall, we fill a niche in nature that hastens the ultimate balancing. It is only a slight simplification to give the inevitable balancing a name, Time. In time, all will balance, or be uniform. Either it will fly apart to nothingness, or it will coast apart to a near-zero cold death, or perhaps some other possibility physics and cosmology suppose, or will supose. We shall see.
In the meantime, we have time. Make more of it than arguing about the age of the earth and supposed problems with God, evil, and creation.
You were made for more. Endeavour to fulfill your role in making nature better, especially try to make the lives of your fellow man better. Good triumphs over evil. Do your part to make it so.
Live justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
Suffering is an undeniable part of life on this planet. Accident, natural disaster, predators, and old age. If the earth is 4.5 billion years old all of these are part of God’s creation independent of any sin of Adam and Eve. If evolution is responsible for the diversity of life we see around us disease, cancers, and defects can be added to the mix.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson reflected on this is a famous stanza of his (long) poem In Memorium A.H.H. (Canto 56)
Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law–
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed–
If God is love as John attests, and good and powerful, how could, or why would, He create a world with ages of suffering before mankind even came on the scene?
Mark S. Whorton reflects on this question in Chapter 10 of his…
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