Universalis

Forest fires happen - the problem of unnecessary suffering

Forest fires happen, and forest fires kill animals. Some suffer horrible burns and die only after many hours of pain. To me, this pain seems unnecessary. To me, there exist cases of unnecessary suffering.

I've been thinking somewhat about the problem of evil lately, specifically, the question of whether natural 'evil' is really evil. I still think that this poses a problem for a rational person's belief in God. If God were good, it does seem that he would want to prevent unnecessary suffering. So why does unnecessary suffering exist? If you can share your thoughts on the above example, I would be very appreciative, as I cannot get around this problem.

6 comments:

Daniel said...

Just because we don't know or can't find the reason for a particular instance of suffering doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

ChrisYeo said...

Daniel: Your reply is therefore simply that there must be some reason to animals suffering in forest fires; it is not unnecessary after all.

William offers a possible reason. Perhaps the question of 'why' leads us to Good and God.

But this reason may not be good enough for some. Surely there is enough evil being created by us humans to ask already the question 'why'. Why does God cause or allow further natural evil?

ChrisYeo said...

"Just because we don't know or can't find the reason for a particular instance of suffering doesn't mean it doesn't exist."

I hope that one appreciates the point that there is actually a big reason for why particular instances of suffering exist. That reason is that a perfectly good god does not exist. I feel that the onus is actually on the believer to show how belief in God, in the face of unnecessary suffering, is still a reasonable and rational position to hold.

Daniel said...

My reply stems from the simple belief that God is in charge of all that happens and the suffering that he causes are necessary for some reason or other. It comes from a belief that God has a reason for everything, and that not everything is privy to human knowledge.

Of course it's not that I have not asked the question. I have, and for now, I'm simply contented to know that God's in charge and doesn't do things without a reason.

Hence the conclusion is that there is no unnecessary suffering. Just suffering that we don't know the reasons for.

It's not that different from Will's answer, because it's a constant reminder in the face of suffering, that God has a reason for it. All that's needed is to believe. And trust.

After all, such reasons for why instance of suffering exist might simply be too complex for the human mind to fathom. And since when was God required to explain his reasons to humans?

will chong said...

Why does unnecessary suffering exist? But why does suffering exist at all? Why? The ‘why’ in the face of sufferings stems from intrinsic good. In that respect, ‘why’ is an image of Good. That’s not the point I suppose. Or it might just be.



Is there ever an absolute answer to suffering? Perhaps the problem of suffering points to an epistemology that can only be situated in a theological context, Christology in particular. The ‘why’ was on the lips of Jesus of Nazareth at Golgotha. In the OT, God responded to Job – ‘what do you know?’ What can we know?



In my opinion, I don’t think there’s anyone who can ever “get around the problem” of suffering in the face of suffering, when suffering. The soteriology that Christ offers is one of faith – “believe.” Believe, that is, in Him who is subject to none. In the face of suffering perhaps there’s only the reality of love and compassion. Suffering may silent the wisest, but it cannot as it were silence Love. It only heightens Love. So it isn’t a violation against rationality to believe, to trust.



Still, there is only the ‘why’ in the face of suffering, when suffering. And the ‘why’ in itself is the passage to hope.

najesusluv said...

God is the opposite of evil. So many blame God for the evil that is in us all. What we fail to see is that God will not force us to do right. he gave us our own free will to choose to serve him. He could have put it in us all to serve him without a choice but what kind of worship would we give him? Robotic. Unfelt, meaningless worship. the evil you see in the world is the evil that the enemy, satan created before the earth was even formed. Just like God has angels helping Him to reach his people, the enemy has demons helping him reach as many people as he can before the return of our lord and Savior, Jesus Christ