Why does God allow his creatures to suffer?

Another great post from Christian Apologetics UK. This thing is so full of arguments, it’s hard to choose what to excerpt!

I’ll choose something from Section 2:

Third, there is the free-will defence. Love is only genuine when it is not coerced. True love requires the ability to exercise free will. Thus, to facilitate the ability of free creatures to genuinely love God requires that one take the risk that these free creatures will choose to reject God or to violate His commandments. 

Fourth, as suggested by proponents of Molinism, it is possible that only a world which was suffused with a certain amount of evil and suffering would result in the maximum number of people freely coming to know God. The doctrine of divine middle knowledge attests that God has knowledge of counterfactuals: That is, God has knowledge of what His free creatures would do under any circumstances. If this is the case, then it is possible that God has chosen to actualise a world — out of an array of possible worlds — in which the maximum number of people would choose to know God as their Creator and Saviour, without being in violation of their rights of autonomy and existential freedom of the will.

Fifth, God often uses evil and suffering to accomplish his ends. One classic example of this is in the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, an incident which set in motion a chain of events which ultimately led to Joseph being falsely accused of a crime and subsequently being thrown into prison. Later, Joseph is promoted to the position of Pharaoh’s right-hand man, and is in a unique position to be able to administer food during times of severe famine: Including the saving of his family. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Everybody needs to know how to answer this objection, so read the post.

Here’s an excellent lecture on the problems of evil and suffering by Doug Geivett, if you want something to listen to. And here’s a good text post on the problem of proving that God doesn’t have a morally sufficient reason to permit suffering.

2 thoughts on “Why does God allow his creatures to suffer?”

  1. I think so far nobody has been able to properly tackle the problem of evil. If God is good, then why is there so much evil? The answer mostly given by the theists is just the one we read here: God wanted us to have free will. But having free will means having freedom to choose between good and evil. But if there is no evil, then there is no more freedom of choice for us. Thus we are not actually free. Therefore evil must have to be there in order that we may have free will.
    But the real story is something else. Evil is there not because God has given man free will, but because God is fully free. God is fully free means God has got full freedom to create. Similarly He has got full freedom not to create. But a good God can never have freedom not to create, because in order to do justice to His own good nature a good God is always bound to create, and thus He is not fully free. How can a good God be called good if He cannot do any good to anybody? So, in order to do good to others a good God will always be bound to create others. So He can never have freedom not to create.
    Similarly it can be shown that neither can an evil God have freedom not to create. An evil God cannot be properly called evil if He fails to do any evil to others. But if God wants to do evil to others, then first of all there will have to be others. So here also He is always bound to create for doing justice to His evil nature.
    But for a God who is neither good nor evil there is no such binding that He will always have to create. Here He can freely decide whether He will create or not. Thus a really free God is neither good nor evil. Like Hindu’s Brahman He is beyond good and evil.
    Now, if we accept that God is fully free, then we will have to admit that He is neither good nor evil. In a universe that has originated from a God who is neither good nor evil there will always be good as well as evil, as there will always be positive energy as well as negative energy in a universe that has originated from zero energy.
    Most of the theists frequently claim that their God is all-powerful. But actually they pretend as if they are more powerful than their all-powerful God. That is why by labeling their God as all-good they dare to curtail God’s own freedom, His freedom not to create.

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  2. the bible says god made the world good.he knew evil was the alternate choice of good,evil exists cause its good gone bad,an we dont have to know evil to commit it.within our free choice we can commit evil,but its that free choice that alllows us freedom to love the creator.there is no other explanation possible then a supreme being(my opinion the god of the bible) who sets the standards of what is good an evil.otherwise we humans could wipe the earth out an say ,oh well thats the way it goes.thats pure nonsense.thats why atheists have no answer for good an evil.in the bible it talks about how with man evil can become good,an reverse an how that will lead us all to destruction.its innate within all men the idea of good an evil.god had to allow us the potential to do evil so that real love can be understood.without the abilty to choose we would all be robots. the fact that we can say i dont love you,gives real love its force.where the heck did all of this come from?why is there something rather than nothing.read the bible,trust in jesus an you wont have to worry about all of this.outside of jesus we have only ourselves to be our judge.i for sure would never condsider myself good.who is good? no one.thats why jesus came!!!

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