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Natural Evil Before The Fall


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I'll continue a little longer for those who are finding it difficult to research the subject from the multiple perspectives of the reference I've already linked.

Your referenced article is not part of the conversation nor should that be the expectation. Suggesting that anyone is finding it difficult to research that linked article is . . . well I think you can discern how that sentence might end.

 

We enjoy hearing your own voice.

 

Dutch

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So if someone loses their child in a disaster and they question why God would allow their child to die, you would tell the grieving parent they're being selfish? If you did that, you would get a slap

“I don't agree, Soma, that we can't have good unless we have evil. This is your starting point, and you're entitled to your own beliefs as a Christian mystic. But I'm also a practising Christian mysti

Soma, your words here are very thoughtful and much more nuanced than the earlier statement you made about good and evil.   I have worked in the mental health field and have seen difficult challenges

I think the question of whether there is such a thing as natural evil or not is a red herring and irrelevant to the problem of evil. The problem with the traditional theistic god is not whether you can say a natural disaster is evil or not, but that a god that chooses to save some people from natural disasters but chooses not to save other people is either an incompetent god or an evil god. This is best summed up by Epicurus

 

Neon, I'd like to make sure I understand your point correctly. Are you saying the traditional understanding of God is the problem, or are you saying that God is the problem? Are you saying that you yourself believe that God (if he exists, in your view) must be either incompetent or evil?

 

Please clarify.

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Shouldn't we first establish the existence of something before we 'deal with it?' Why would you describe a hurricane as evil? What if it does no harm to a person? What if it also brings needed rain? What if it does both? I think it would be helpful if you defined 'evil.'

I personally think the notion of natural evil is a "human centered perspective." In fact, we have no other perspective to assert.

George

 

For this discussion, let's ignore moral evil since it does not present a tough theological question. Let's instead focus on natural evil and describe natural evil as anything that causes suffering that does not have a moral agent behind the suffering and does not have some greater good. This excludes small amounts of pain since pain is what keeps us alive and our hand away from the fire. What about the carnivorous animals though? Why create them when their only option is to cause suffering to others to live? Some suffering could have a greater good behind it or some suffering could have a moral agent behind it. But does a creating a carnivorous animal have that or some other explanation behind it?

 

NDEs are a form of lucid dreaming caused by increased activity in the left temporal lobe. If there's so much overwhelming proof of the existence of the afterlife and if being dead is so wonderful that we should praise it, why don't more Christians commit suicide so they can be with the Lord? Why continue living in life if heaven is so much better?

 

This does not take into account those who have flat-lined brain activity. Obviously killing yourself is against almost all religions beliefs but killing yourself would cause massive amounts of suffering to those left behind. It also would be ignoring that there is a reason for being here in the first place. Not to mention we have evolved to try to live.

 

Can you explain why it stands to reason?

We would agree that if God exists, God is all knowing right? You just think it does not apply to being good?

 

Is "good" a universal, objective state? When a wolf kills a lamb and feeds his family, is this "good" from the perspective of all? The wolf? The wolf's children? The lamb? An disinterested observer? Can we all say, "good!"

George

 

No, that is not good. To evaluate whether something is good, we simply follow the golden rule taking into account every individual in the situation. In other words, what would we want if we were the wolf. AND what would we want if we were the lamb? This is absolutely not good for the lamb to have to suffer. In a normal situation, we would say that the free will of the lamb is broken and the wolf killing the lamb is unethical. However, the wolf is not an ethical agent. But the more pressing question at hand is why the wolf was created as a carnivore in the first place. We can think of a world where carnivores do not exist at all or at least omniovores like us where we have a moral choice in the matter.

 

The problem of evil in regards to moral actions is easily shown to be no problem at all. Assuming we reject illogical logic (God cannot draw a square circle, therefore God is not all powerful), then it is easily shown why evil can exist similar to how Alvin Plantinga shows this. The problem of natural evil needs more discussion.

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Trust,

I offered a metaphorical connection between your view and mine. That seems to have been missed.

 

For the last 20-30 years I have been prophesying, whenever I am asked for an answer, that the answer is "37 true." People keep denying that that answer is relevant to their question. Are you also going to deny that the answer is "37 true". As long as we deny "37 true" we are gravitating toward a very human centered perspective.

Likewise I deny any meaning to "Natural Evil". I have already made my arguments.

It is nonsensical to me to include the story of Adam and Eve in the evolutionary history of the universe.

Did it happen before or after homo sapiens evolved?

Were Adam and Eve part of the first but unsuccessful move of homo sapiens into the Levant?

Did Adam and Eve live before Neanderthals?

Since many of us have a small amount of Neanderthal genetic material the answer seems yes.

So maybe Adam and Eve lived 500,000 years ago.

Good, Love and empathy were evolving before this so how far back would we have to put the Garden of Eden so it made sense in the ongoing history of the evolution of the universe.

It is a powerful story. To force it into evolutionary history deflates it.

Dutch

 

Can you put in laymen's terms why natural evil does not exist? Whether we call it by a different name does not really matter to me. Either way we put it, we see suffering that does not have an immediate explanation. Why create a carnivore? What is the purpose?

 

The only reason I mentioned Adam and Eve is to say that the original explanation for suffering we see in the world is traced to Adam and Eve. I reject this explanation in general since we know based on God's actual evidence that suffering and death existed for millions of years before this supposed Adam and Eve story. To me it is simply a story about how our choices matter and can be detrimental. Not a story explaining ALL evil.

 

Can evolution as designed by God with its infinite possibilities really be considered error whether in potential or growth? I think not in reality except in the conceptual and highly subjective mind of man who feels he/she must differentiate by arbitrarily choosing a point along a continuum where there is none. Where does that leave understanding?

Joseph

 

Evolution does not really have infinite possibilities since it is restricted by the laws of nature. This is probably a discussion for another thread but I never understood why Einstein would claim that "God does not play dice", or rather, why Einstein would think there is such a thing as "dice" to God in the first place. Einstein is much smarter than me so I must be missing something. Even if everything is proven to be completely random without an underlying mechanism, God would still be able to simply create the world however he wanted while still including free will. When looking at the big bang, he could have thought, "Meh. I don't like that outcome at this current time x. Let's go for x + 14040.5466 seconds where the story works out just how I want it". Time could really be any variable. Randomness is only what we see. Anyhow this is getting off track.

 

I think the question of whether there is such a thing as natural evil or not is a red herring and irrelevant to the problem of evil. The problem with the traditional theistic god is not whether you can say a natural disaster is evil or not, but that a god that chooses to save some people from natural disasters but chooses not to save other people is either an incompetent god or an evil god. This is best summed up by Epicurus

 

This in itself does not present a problem for me as there are plenty of explanations why this would be so. I already know God to be a Utilitarian so personally this has no hold on me. The problem for me is why create a carnivore in the first place? For us, we have a choice. We can eat plants which do not have a brain to imagine yourself as or a central nervous system to experience pain. To the carnivore, they have no choice and either cause suffering to others, or they die. That is not much of a choice.

 

One good explanation has been the idea that evil is simply the absence of God. Just like cold does not exist, cold is simply the absence of heat. Or how darkness does not exist and is merely the absence of light. This however still leaves us with needing to understand more. If the animals are simply a pawn in a game, then that itself would be evil just like if we were a pawn in a game. The animals must exist for their own reasons. What are those reasons?

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For this discussion, let's ignore moral evil since it does not present a tough theological question. Let's instead focus on natural evil and describe natural evil as anything that causes suffering that does not have a moral agent behind the suffering and does not have some greater good. This excludes small amounts of pain since pain is what keeps us alive and our hand away from the fire. What about the carnivorous animals though?

 

I agree with this definition with the emphasis on "moral agent." However, I would also add intentionality to exclude unintended harm.

 

I don't think there is a moral agent directly causing natural disasters. These are, IMO, just a consequence of natural processes. Whether there is/was an agent behind establishing the processes, I don't know.

 

It is our nature as humans to try to find meaning in whatever occurs. Sometimes, IMO, there is no meaning. What happens is just a consequence of the grand system. If we are the wolf, we are grateful for the provision of the lamb. If we are the lamb, we see "natural evil." Our perspective is too subjective and too limited to comprehend the big picture.

 

George

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We would agree that if God exists, God is all knowing right? You just think it does not apply to being good?

 

First, this assumes we are in a position to make a determination about the nature of God. I don't think we are.

 

Second, this assumes 'good' is some objective status. But, 'good,' IMO, is relative to the perspective of the describer.

 

Third, this represents a very anthropocentric point of view. This assumes we humans are the purpose and center of the universe. I am not convinced that this is true.

 

So, I have trouble ascribing any human devised descriptive to a cosmic level of which we can only see a small, limited portion (in time and space).

 

George

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Neon, I'd like to make sure I understand your point correctly. Are you saying the traditional understanding of God is the problem, or are you saying that God is the problem? Are you saying that you yourself believe that God (if he exists, in your view) must be either incompetent or evil?

 

Please clarify.

I would say that the traditional understanding of a supernatural god that picks and chooses which prayers he answers is the problem and there's never been a successful answer from traditional theists to the problem of evil. As I said earlier, the only solution to the problem of evil I've seen that has made sense to me has been either the Gnostic tradition of the universe being the product of an evil god or the deist position of the universe being the product of a distant god, though I lean more to the latter than to the former.
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What about the carnivorous animals though? Why create them when their only option is to cause suffering to others to live? Some suffering could have a greater good behind it or some suffering could have a moral agent behind it. But does a creating a carnivorous animal have that or some other explanation behind it?

 

It seems to me you second guess the mind of God asking why God would create the world as it is apparently designed. You seem to me to be doing this based on a human assumption that it is somehow a 'natural evil' because there is pain and your perception of suffering involved. You seem to equate the death of an animal by another as evil without knowing what is 'the greater good' or purpose. To me your question of why is flawed in that your initial assumption is that it is actually somehow evil. We can certainly talk about life and what is natural and pain and suffering and food involved in survival without putting a label of evil on it. Unless of course we know the mind of God in such things. Do we? And will calling such 'natural evil' make it so as if it is somehow a negative in God's eye?

 

To evaluate whether something is good, we simply follow the golden rule taking into account every individual in the situation. In other words, what would we want if we were the wolf. AND what would we want if we were the lamb? This is absolutely not good for the lamb to have to suffer. In a normal situation, we would say that the free will of the lamb is broken and the wolf killing the lamb is unethical. However, the wolf is not an ethical agent. But the more pressing question at hand is why the wolf was created as a carnivore in the first place. We can think of a world where carnivores do not exist at all or at least omniovores like us where we have a moral choice in the matter.

 

Do you also speak for the wolf and the lamb? Is what we imagine we would want if we were either one based on reality? Do you have experience as a wolf or a lamb or know their mind? Can a wolf be unethical? Just because you can think of a world without carnivores, does that make what is natural of the animal kingdom evil?

Some some thoughts in regard to your responses,

Joseph

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Trust

Can you put in laymen's terms why natural evil does not exist? Whether we call it by a different name does not really matter to me. Either way we put it, we see suffering that does not have an immediate explanation. Why create a carnivore? What is the purpose?

Evil requires intention. Nature has no intention. Nature needs no explanation as far as purpose or significance is concerned. However we suffer I have no need to find meaning. If knowledge about its cause could prevent a repetition then that is useful. But meaning and purpose are not.

 

I think the following questions fail to understand the process and power of evolution.

Why create a carnivore? What is the purpose?

Shouldn't the basic question be why does an organism need nourishment? Don't tell me that a carnivore is somehow worse because of its diet. Why does any organism need nourishment. Why does it take supernova (death of star on a scale that makes a carnivore look like virus) to create all the elements for carbon based life forms?

 

If something didn't die we wouldn't live. It can't be any simpler or have less meaning.

 

I reject this explanation in general since we know based on God's actual evidence that suffering and death existed for millions of years before this supposed Adam and Eve story

If you reject it then reject it. If you think it is only story then stop using it in discussing evolution.

If a literal reading of Adam and Eve is not your reading then stop.

Argue your own position not that of someone who reads the story literally.

 

 

Dutch

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PC friends,

 

I beg your pardons, if off the subject for a moment -

 

We’re all aware of how easily intentions can be misconstrued when participating in online forums. Many folks have long mused that e-dialogue suffers from the loss of clarifying overtones and nuances available with face-to-face communications.

 

Glintofpewter wrote: “Your referenced article is not part of the conversation nor should that be the expectation. Suggesting that anyone is finding it difficult to research that linked article is . . . well I think you can discern how that sentence might end.”

 

The link I posted did provide, imo, a valuable ( if admittedly broad) perspective on the subject of ‘evil’. I’ve no doubt that forum participants here are imminently capable of researching any reference links I might offer in ‘debate and dialogue’ or elsewhere, if they so choose. When I later commented that some participants may have found the suggested research difficult, this was in recognition that such an investigation could be daunting due to the perhaps confusing volume of in-depth material presented. Please forgive me if my fumbling efforts to serve have given offense of superiority or condescension in any way.

 

Neon Genesis wrote: Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world? (Epicurus)

 

It seems to me that this statement/question neglects a more plausible view:

 

God is omnipotent, good, and infinitely wise. Che knows that without the potential for evil and suffering, the exercise of choice by evolutionary mortal will creatures would be nullified. We would be deprived of the opportunity to cooperate with our indwelling spirits in developing souls of eternal survival value.

 

"The moral will creatures of the evolutionary worlds are always bothered with the unthinking question as to why the all-wise Creators permit evil and sin. They fail to comprehend that both are inevitable if the creature is to be truly free. The free will of evolving man or exquisite angel is not a mere philosophic concept, a symbolic ideal. Man's ability to choose good or evil is a universe reality."

 

"Shortsighted and time-bound mortal minds should be slow to criticize the time delays of the farseeing and all-wise administrators of universe affairs."

 

"Is courage – strength of character – desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments."

 

"Is pleasure – the satisfaction of happiness – desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present possibilities."

 

"Pain and suffering are essential to progressive evolution."

 

"The greatest affliction of the cosmos is never to have been afflicted. Mortals only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation."

 

"The apparent cruelty of a perverse fate that heaps tribulation upon some suffering mortal may in reality be the tempering fire that is transmuting the soft iron of immature personality into the tempered steel of real character."

 

It seems obvious that world conditions are some ages still removed from settlement in Light and Life. And yet, all is well with my soul.

 

Sincerely,

Brent

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Brent,

 

"They fail to comprehend that both are inevitable if the creature is to be truly free. The free will of evolving man or exquisite angel is not a mere philosophic concept, a symbolic ideal. Man's ability to choose good or evil is a universe reality."

 

I don't think it is at all reasonable to state that humans are "truly free." We are constrained by out genetics (which varies from person to person), our culture, our experiences and chance.

 

George

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George,

 

I know the subject of ‘free will’ has been approached and debated repeatedly, and I wouldn’t want to waylay a discussion of ‘natural evil before the fall’. But in short, my understanding of “truly free” is that it refers to spiritual-choice realities (within which, after all is said and done on this planet, we progress eternally) rather than physical, cultural, or particular environmental happenstance.

 

Best regards,

Brent

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But in short, my understanding of “truly free” is that it refers to spiritual-choice realities (within which, after all is said and done on this planet, we progress eternally) rather than physical, cultural, or particular environmental happenstance.

 

I don't think "spiritual choice realities" are "truly free" as well. It is not through free choice that more people in Alabama are Christian than in Saudi Arabia or Japan. Spiritual choices are heavily influenced by enculturation, social milieu and individual experiences.

 

George

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Trust,

 

To summarize a bit ..................

 

The term 'natural evil' is being attributed by you to natural processes of nature. Since there is no moral agent, the "evil" thus identified is evil only from the perspective of those affected that perceive it as an affliction rather than just a natural disaster or cause. Examples include cancer, birth defects, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. Therefore the reality of such a term as 'natural evil' can only be in the mind of the afflicted and to the one who insists on labeling it so. To me and from reading the opinions/posts of some others here, it seems to many to have no reality of its own as "evil"

 

You say you are simply trying to understand and say even with the partial answers you have received, the question still remains (in post #15) "Why is there no life without death". I would answer there is Life without death. Death is not the opposite of Life. If you want to talk opposites, the opposite of death would be birth. Life itself in my view has no opposite.

 

You also say in post 15, "The suffering of others is too intense for me to be at peace with it." Why choose that? You can do what you can to help alevaite suffering in the world and still be at peace with nature. In post #16 you identify what you call 'natural evil' as a problem. It seems to me, it is only a problem to the one who chooses it to be a problem. Reality is what it is.

 

I would say again, by all means, do what you can to allevaite suffering in the world but it seems to me there is no need to make a problem or "evil" of what is identified by you, as natural.

 

Just some of my own observations,

Joseph

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I don't normally talk about this with others because it's something that's embarrassing to me but I have a chronic skin disease called psoriasis. it causes my skin to inflamme and sometimes will start bleeding. It first appeared on my arms but has now spread to my feet, my stomach, and now it's going after my hands, too. Its causes are genetic and not contagious and while there's treatments that can help, there's no known cure for it. While it's not as bad as some other diseases out there, it does cause me a lot of embarrassment and it can be painful sometimes when my skin starts stinging and bleeding. Some bible scholars also think the disease condemned in the OT that is typically referred to as leprosy was a broad term that includes other skin diseases such as psoriasis. So if natural "evil" is somehow a necessary part of life and serves some sort of greater good in God's grand design, what is necessary about my psoriasis and what greater good does it serve God's grand design?

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...what is necessary about my psoriasis and what greater good does it serve God's grand design?

 

I know your question is rhetorical Neon, but it's the same question that many have been asking over the ages - what point is there to suffering?

 

There are those who believe suffering is somehow required to 'build one up' or that it makes us stronger (God will only give you as much as you can bear) and other such nonsen......er, beliefs.

 

But when you see suffering that does nothing but destroy families (e.g. famine in Ethiopia) and people who commit suicide because God has given them too much to bear, then suffering as a tool for improvement seems pretty ridiculous.

 

Personally, I think there is no evil but rather suffering simply is what it is. We are organisms evolving on a lump of rock billions of years old. Along with the 'good' comes the 'bad'. Everything doesn't roll our way, and all we can do is makes the most of it and continue on. We can choose to help our fellow humans to make the most of our time alive, or we can choose to wish it away waiting for 'better days' somewhere else, that quite possibly may never come.

 

'Evil' is what it is, and frankly I don't think there is evil. There's life in all its pros and cons. Here's hoping the pros in your life (and everyone's) outweigh the cons.

 

(Neon, please know I mean none of the above too, in any way, play down your psoriasis. I hope you cand find peace with it as best you can, but it must be majorly hard.)

 

Cheers

Paul

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First, this assumes we are in a position to make a determination about the nature of God. I don't think we are.

Second, this assumes 'good' is some objective status. But, 'good,' IMO, is relative to the perspective of the describer.

Third, this represents a very anthropocentric point of view. This assumes we humans are the purpose and center of the universe. I am not convinced that this is true.

So, I have trouble ascribing any human devised descriptive to a cosmic level of which we can only see a small, limited portion (in time and space).

George

 

I agree that good can be relative to the perspective of the describer. That is why we need to try to look at this from as unbiased a viewpoint as possible.

 

I also agree that we have a very human centered viewpoint. All throughout history we have just assumed that we are the center of everything. We have fought, sometimes violently, to prove that the sun revolves around the earth or that the earth is the center of the Universe. We are needing to re-evaluate whether we are the whole picture or simply a piece of the puzzle. Our ego has become inflated because of what privileges God has given us.

 

It seems to me you second guess the mind of God asking why God would create the world as it is apparently designed. You seem to me to be doing this based on a human assumption that it is somehow a 'natural evil' because there is pain and your perception of suffering involved. You seem to equate the death of an animal by another as evil without knowing what is 'the greater good' or purpose. To me your question of why is flawed in that your initial assumption is that it is actually somehow evil. We can certainly talk about life and what is natural and pain and suffering and food involved in survival without putting a label of evil on it. Unless of course we know the mind of God in such things. Do we? And will calling such 'natural evil' make it so as if it is somehow a negative in God's eye?

 

I am not so much second guessing the mind of God as I am simply trying to understand. If I never find out the reason for natural evil, then so be it. I have already given God the benefit of the doubt. I already know the end of the story where the wolf lives with the lamb and I even know the mechanism for how we will reach that here on earth. What I do not understand is the beginning and why natural evil exists. I would like to try to find out the answer though.

 

When cancer comes and attacks a small child, what do you call it? Suffering is suffering. I have no doubt in my mind that there was a reason for it just like there is a reason for moral evil. At the same time I don't want to act like it is some wonderful thing when anyone suffers, because it is not.

 

Do you also speak for the wolf and the lamb? Is what we imagine we would want if we were either one based on reality? Do you have experience as a wolf or a lamb or know their mind? Can a wolf be unethical? Just because you can think of a world without carnivores, does that make what is natural of the animal kingdom evil?

Some some thoughts in regard to your responses,

Joseph

 

Anyone who has spent some time around animals knows that they experience pain and suffer just like we do. Sure, we could claim that their screams are simply mechanistic reactions, but we could also claim the same about other humans. We have no way to prove that others humans are not simply robots. We can say with 99.9% certainty that animals and humans experience pain. That is enough for me.

 

My wife and I had two cats and a rabbit. One of the cats would protect the rabbit from the other cat. The other cat didn't really try to intentionally harm the rabbit as much as he tried to play a little too rough with him. The rabbit and one of the cats has since passed on. Yesterday, my wife was driving to work and she saw a cat in the middle of the road with something in its mouth. So she stopped the car in the middle of the road and ran out to try to help whatever was in its mouth. It turned out it was a rabbit and she could hear it sheeking. So she chased the cat until he dropped the rabbit and the rabbit ran off. In our world, we can sense when we are causing pain to others. Cats are carnivores and need to cause pain to others to live. I am trying to understand why God would do this. It is easy for us to try to ignore the suffering of the animals. But a grave mistake.

 

Trust

Evil requires intention. Nature has no intention. Nature needs no explanation as far as purpose or significance is concerned. However we suffer I have no need to find meaning. If knowledge about its cause could prevent a repetition then that is useful. But meaning and purpose are not.

I think the following questions fail to understand the process and power of evolution.

Shouldn't the basic question be why does an organism need nourishment? Don't tell me that a carnivore is somehow worse because of its diet. Why does any organism need nourishment. Why does it take supernova (death of star on a scale that makes a carnivore look like virus) to create all the elements for carbon based life forms?

If something didn't die we wouldn't live. It can't be any simpler or have less meaning.

Dutch

 

I believe in God. I believe that God allowed natural evil for some reason. I am trying to find out what that reason is.

 

The question is not, "Why does an organism need nourishment". The question is, "Why did God not design the world so that organisms can get nourishment without causing suffering to others"? You see on one hand that it is possible for humans to live without causing suffering to others. On the other hand, it is probably not possible to live without causing at least some death to others. However, I see this abused by people. The argument boils down to, "If we can't stop all suffering, why stop any suffering?" Which is obviously a terrible argument. Our goal should always be to cause the least amount of suffering to others as possible. Although I unfortunately do not do this myself, if we all ate plants, we would be able to only cause 0.4 (accidental) animal deaths a year. After we take the time to actually prevent small animals from getting in the crop fields, that number would drop even more. At the end of the day though, we would still be responsible for causing an innocent death because we lived. Why is life setup this way? Why must others die for us to live? And why do we think that this automatically gives us a license to then go on and continue to cause suffering to others?

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Trust,

To summarize a bit ..................

The term 'natural evil' is being attributed by you to natural processes of nature. Since there is no moral agent, the "evil" thus identified is evil only from the perspective of those affected that perceive it as an affliction rather than just a natural disaster or cause. Examples include cancer, birth defects, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. Therefore the reality of such a term as 'natural evil' can only be in the mind of the afflicted and to the one who insists on labeling it so. To me and from reading the opinions/posts of some others here, it seems to many to have no reality of its own as "evil"

 

This mostly summarizes it. You make a good point about evil being defined from the perspective of those affected. But no matter what we call it, suffering is still suffering. Why is there suffering allowed to take place that is not the result of free will?

 

You also say in post 15, "The suffering of others is too intense for me to be at peace with it." Why choose that? You can do what you can to help alevaite suffering in the world and still be at peace with nature. In post #16 you identify what you call 'natural evil' as a problem. It seems to me, it is only a problem to the one who chooses it to be a problem. Reality is what it is.

I would say again, by all means, do what you can to allevaite suffering in the world but it seems to me there is no need to make a problem or "evil" of what is identified by you, as natural.

Just some of my own observations,

Joseph

 

I think we agree here. I am simply stressing the importance of not accepting the status quo more since I know things can be changed. This just comes at the expense of some tough and uncomfortable questions. I like where you are coming from though.

 

I don't normally talk about this with others because it's something that's embarrassing to me but I have a chronic skin disease called psoriasis. it causes my skin to inflamme and sometimes will start bleeding. It first appeared on my arms but has now spread to my feet, my stomach, and now it's going after my hands, too. Its causes are genetic and not contagious and while there's treatments that can help, there's no known cure for it. While it's not as bad as some other diseases out there, it does cause me a lot of embarrassment and it can be painful sometimes when my skin starts stinging and bleeding. Some bible scholars also think the disease condemned in the OT that is typically referred to as leprosy was a broad term that includes other skin diseases such as psoriasis. So if natural "evil" is somehow a necessary part of life and serves some sort of greater good in God's grand design, what is necessary about my psoriasis and what greater good does it serve God's grand design?

 

I think everyone has to deal with things like this. I know I certainly have things like this I have to work through. Though we tend to only pay attention to the things that effect ourselves. This is a natural part of life. And there can even be human reasons for needing to overcome things like this.

 

I know your question is rhetorical Neon, but it's the same question that many have been asking over the ages - what point is there to suffering?

There are those who believe suffering is somehow required to 'build one up' or that it makes us stronger (God will only give you as much as you can bear) and other such nonsen......er, beliefs.

But when you see suffering that does nothing but destroy families (e.g. famine in Ethiopia) and people who commit suicide because God has given them too much to bear, then suffering as a tool for improvement seems pretty ridiculous.

Personally, I think there is no evil but rather suffering simply is what it is. We are organisms evolving on a lump of rock billions of years old. Along with the 'good' comes the 'bad'. Everything doesn't roll our way, and all we can do is makes the most of it and continue on.

We can choose to help our fellow humans to make the most of our time alive, or we can choose to wish it away waiting for 'better days' somewhere else, that quite possibly may never come.

Have you ever noticed that when we refer to helping others, we only refer to helping other humans? I know this is obviously just what we are used to saying and has nothing to do with much of anything, but I do hope we as a society can start encompassing all of creation. It seems they have been given the shaft throughout much of history. Regardless of them being slightly less evolved than us.

 

'Evil' is what it is, and frankly I don't think there is evil. There's life in all its pros and cons. Here's hoping the pros in your life (and everyone's) outweigh the cons.

 

While I certainly think there is evil based on our choices, I am not sure what to make of the suffering before human choice. We can def. agree on hoping that the pros outweigh the cons.

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my understanding of “truly free” is that it refers to spiritual-choice realities (within which, after all is said and done on this planet, we progress eternally) rather than physical, cultural, or particular environmental happenstance.

 

Yet, physical, cultural and environmental happenstance will dictate these "choices."

 

What are the spiritual-choice realities of someone born in Yemen? In Israel? In India? In the wilderness Steppes of Upper Mongolia? A small tribe along the Amazon River?

 

The fact that there are so many "choices" leads one to presume that none are "reality" - only a product of the environment and peer pressure.

 

So, the spiritual-choice reality thesis argues against triumphalist claims. Or, perhaps this is your argument?

 

NORM

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Have you ever noticed that when we refer to helping others, we only refer to helping other humans? I know this is obviously just what we are used to saying and has nothing to do with much of anything, but I do hope we as a society can start encompassing all of creation. It seems they have been given the shaft throughout much of history. Regardless of them being slightly less evolved than us.

 

Yet some of them taste so good, Trust :D

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This mostly summarizes it. You make a good point about evil being defined from the perspective of those affected. But no matter what we call it, suffering is still suffering. Why is there suffering allowed to take place that is not the result of free will?

Trust,

We are indeed curious creatures. You can continue to ask the question but it seems to me the question is still a conundrum. To me , the answer is unanswerable except to say... Evolution is as designed and the question i think we should focus on is... what can i, and what am i, willing to do to help the suffering of the world? This seems to me to be a more constructive question.

Joseph

 

Neon,

You are not alone in your struggles. We each live with our own afflictions. Pain in some form is present in my life also but how can i suffer unless i am in non-acceptance of that which is. When i do not resist, suffering disappears and sometimes the affliction also. It seems to me there is no need to be embarrassed over that which we have no control.

Joseph

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Yet some of them taste so good, Trust :D

 

Yes, they do. Which is a result of natural evil. I suspect that 99% of the public would agree that factory farms are disgusting. Yet we put 99% of the animals we eat through factory farms. I am hoping that something like cultured meat (real meat, just without the suffering) or changes in the human heart will eradicate this natural evil and replace it with the wolf living with the lamb.

 

Trust,

We are indeed curious creatures. You can continue to ask the question but it seems to me the question is still a conundrum. To me , the answer is unanswerable except to say... Evolution is as designed and the question i think we should focus on is... what can i, and what am i, willing to do to help the suffering of the world? This seems to me to be a more constructive question.

Joseph

 

I think this is certainly a good outlook until I find an answer to the question.

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... Therefore, Adam and Eve could not have created natural evil. (Although it might be argued that Adam and Eve were the first to experience moral evil). We know that natural evil is basically a precursor to moral evil. But why did God allow natural evil? ...

 

Hi trust ... I'll repeat my original post at this forum.

 

Adam and Eve were not kicked out of the Garden of Eden for becoming good/evil, but for learning of good and evil (starting to think in terms of good and evil).

 

So metaphorically speaking if we want to get back back into the Garden of Eden, We have to stop thinking in terms of good and evil.

 

Good and evil are concepts that are meaningless in the natural world! So that brings me to my thread and question is man part of nature? The rest of the Bible (especially the NT) tries to point us away from thinking in tems of good and evil - ie giving up judgement. And yet western society is entrenched in judgement and the parsing of this natural world into good and evil.

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