Saturday, April 30, 2016

Does God have no choice over natural evil?

On one view God allows various natural evils because they serve a useful purpose for the natural world. For example, what about tsunamis that kill people? Well this website says this (after talking about some earth science):

When earthquakes occur under the oceans, the plate's movement dissipates its energy through the ocean in the form of waves known as tsunami. When these waves make landfall, they can be up to 100 feet high and travel inland for several miles. The 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean caused widespread devastation to surrounding coastal areas, while killing over 200,000 people. A very large tsunami struck Japan, following a massive earthquake in 2011. We have already discussed the problems involved with stopping earthquakes and have determined that stopping them would result in a greater evil (lack of continental land masses and excessive solar radiation on the surface of the earth).

I’ll save my rebuttal for later, but first I’ll give a few other examples. Atheist philosopher William Rowe gave the example of a deer suffering a slow and painful death in a forest fire as a natural evil he argued that a good God would not allow.

Surely, a good God would want to prevent the suffering caused by fires.

As you learned in your elementary science classes (or Boy Scouts), fire requires three things—fuel, heat and oxygen. In most cases, the fuel is plant material. Obviously, God cannot eliminate plants, since all life is dependent upon the food and sequestered energy produced through photosynthesis.

Eliminating heat is problematic....One cannot eliminate oxygen from the environment

You get the idea. What about pain and suffering? From the website:

Atheist tend to assume that all pain, suffering, and death are bad or evil. However, physical pain is absolutely vital to our survival and well-being. If we felt no pain, we would do things to ourselves that could be very destructive.

One large problem with this is that God creating a universe of sentient creatures not susceptible to such pain and suffering seems to be within the realm of omnipotence. Why not create a world in which people are as invulnerable as Superman with there being no kryptonite? Moreover, what about heaven? Will people suffer horribly there because God can’t think of a way to do it better?