Theists, why does God allow suffering..

by The Quiet One 742 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • The Quiet One
    The Quiet One

    ..specifically, the suffering of animals. You can talk about free will/sin/people choosing to not listen to God etc to explain human suffering being allowed.. But how can you love a God that allows animals, that haven't sinned or chosen to not have anything to do with God, to have their short lives ended in often long, drawn out, painful ways. I could list stories I've read that would probably make you feel ill, but I'm not looking to shock anyone or start an emotional debate. I just want to sit back and listen to your views..

  • Yan Bibiyan
    Yan Bibiyan

    ..Um, because, um, that's the way it was, um, designed...

  • cofty


    Who trusted God was love indeed

    And love Creation's final law --

    Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw

    With ravine, shrieked against his creed.

    --Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  • darthfader

    If we were to assume that the god of the bible exists there can be only 1 answer.

    This life we live has no value in god's grand plan. After we die, we will either live in heaven with him or on some "better place" that makes all this suffering worth it.

    I say no thanks :)

  • cofty

    Remember the thread is about animal suffering or "natural evil".

    Its a very good question.

  • Phizzy

    I posed the "Question of Evil" to an active JW a while ago, he is one ofthe rare ones who can reason up to a certain point, he left me, rather abruptly I think because all he could say as he scuttled away was : "There is no answer".

    I think he has thought it through much further than most JW's by saying that, and I hold out hope that eventually his intellect will freee him from the W.T

    What was on the tip of my tongue, but before I could utter it he was out of earshot, was : "Unless the answer is that the Universe is truly random, and therefore as well as good things, sh*t happens".

    Great thinkers of the past have wrestled with the problem of evil, and the more you think about it, it leaves no room for the kind of god any thinking, compassionate person would want to worship.

  • darthfader

    Cofty... ya know... I read TQO's Original Post and had a blankout (was reading too many other threads).

    Unfortunately there is no good explaination for the suffering of animals if you try to account for divine creation.

    From a scientific approach, "with tests come improvements". So previous generations of animals tested by the environment will adapt so the next generations will "suffer less".

    cheers all!

  • TimeBandit

    ...because he's a sick bastard?

  • Chariklo


    ..because he's a sick bastard?

    The WT's God definitely is. See my posts elsewhere. Not my God, though.

    I'm a theist, and I have an answer. It is, well, er....I don't think I know.


  • Tater-T

    I remember from being in the ORG.. the scripture where Jesus say's " don't worry about what you are to eat... doesn't God take care of the birds ...."

    or something like that... then I found out Birds and other animals can starve to death... Living here in Idaho.. we have to feed deer and elk or they will starve to death... So God really doesn't take care of all the animals .. Did Jesus not know this? one of the first things that made me wonder ..


  • Ding

    I think C.S. Lewis devoted a chapter to animal pain in his book The Problem of Pain.

    If you're interested in various perspectives on this topic, his comments would be worth a read.

  • I Want to Believe
    I Want to Believe

    @Tater-T: yeah, there's a scripture that not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him knowing... which means He see the millions upon millions of acts of violence and death in the animal kingdom every day, far more than all the human suffering. But if He actually cared about animals, He wouldn't have designed them to be eaten -- the entire concept of a food chain shows He doesn't give a [crap] what happens to animals. I mean, after having the animals saved in the Ark the first thing He said was kill some as sacrifice and start eating the rest. They weren't created in His image, so why should He care?

  • The Quiet One
    The Quiet One

    Thanks to everyone for replying. Excellent quote, Cofty.. I love the way he depicts in a single sentence the savagery we witness in nature.." Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw" . Has anyone read the recent WT article on how God cares for animals?

  • Fernando

    As a simple Jesus follower, who is dysfunctional in more ways than I am currently aware of, I admit the question of "natural evil" is bigger than me and any of my own ideas.

    One of the many things I have learnt on my own personal faith journey is that we are in the midst of the ugliest, messiest, most protracted and most complex "legal custody battles" of all time. This is the real theme of the Bible. It is fought by means of two diametrically opposed or antithetical messages: religion versus the gospel.

    The "god of religion" (Satan) desired and (using deceit) took legal custody of the children of the "God of Abraham" (Yahweh) when the children listened to the former and ignored the latter.

    A ransom was arranged and paid so that those who so desired could return to the family of the "God of Abraham". It is a process with various stages of restoration.

    First believers are and have been saved from the authority of Satan, sin (dysfunction), sickness, suffering and death. Secondly believers are being saved from the power of Satan, sin (dysfunction), sickness, suffering and death. Finally believers will be saved from the presence of Satan, sin (dysfunction), sickness, suffering and death.

    On a scale of eternity 6,000 years of dysfunction will eventually pale into insignificance except as an eternal and rock solid legal precedent that can never be successfully challenged again. No evil ever again - natural or not.

    This was written from the heart and in all sincerity - without any intention to offend those with strong alternative views.

    Jesus did not coerce others to accept his views. We are invited to examine the gospel as an alternative to religion if and when we are ready. Jesus did not denounce sinners but rather religion/ists for keeping people away from the "God of Abraham" and his many priceless free gifts available to anyone who would graciously accept.

  • cofty

    Fernando you have completely missed the topic. Its not about human suffering that christians beleive was caused by the naked lady eating the fruit, its about the suffering of animals.

    Animals don't die of old age. They die of starvation, predation, disease and parasites. The myriad ways that "nature" has contrived to maximise animal suffering are beyond imagination.

    Here are just a few of my favourite examples...

    1. Great Egrets often have enough food for only two chicks, although a mother egret typically bears three. By sometimes allowing their older children to kill the youngest, the parents guarantee that they raise two well-fed, strong chicks who have an excellent chance to mature and reproduce. The two oldest egret chicks are destined for success even before birth. Douglas Mock and colleague Hubert Schwabl recently discovered that the first egg to form inside the mother egret always gets the highest dose of the hormones, or chemical messengers, that trigger aggressive behaviour. The second egg in line gets the same dose. But egg number three gets only about half the amount. With less tendency to be aggressive, the youngest chick is less able to defend itself against its more aggressive siblings.

    2. Female sand tiger shark produces 400 to 500 embryos at a time. While still in the womb, these embryo sharks grow razor-sharp teeth, the embryonic sharks start to eat other embryos. Within a few months, three to four dominant sharks engage in a life-or-death struggle until only one survives. By the time it is born, the sole-surviving shark pup has become an experienced predator. Amazing film taken inside the womb recently appeared on UK television clearly demonstrating this behaviour.

    3. Dr. Manfred E. Rau of McGill University in Montreal, recently found that two types of closely related parasitic worms can dramatically influence the behaviour of mice to suit their own needs. One worm will prompt the mouse to become hyperactive, scampering through fields so frenetically that it attracts the attention of a predatory bird that will eat the mouse and the worm with it. When the bird eats the mouse, it provides the necessary next home for the parasitic larvae. By contrast, the related worm species will cause a mouse to become sluggish, heightening the chance it will be easily stalked down by the carnivorous mammals this worm prefers for its second shelter.

    4. Other parasitic larvae have been found to drive host snails mad, forcing the creatures to make a suicidal ascent to the top of a blade of grass, rather than hiding underneath the foliage. At the same time, a few of the invading larvae migrate to the snail's antennae, turn bright colours and pulsate, transforming the hapless gastropod's feelers into a reasonable facsimile of a caterpillar. That resemblance catches the attention of birds, which then consume the infested snails. Once in the guts of the birds, the larval worms can mature and reproduce.

    Every anatomical feature of animals, from their skeletons, camouflague, jaws and teeth, digestive systems to the specific molecular structure of the myosin in their muscle fibres are "designed" to kill or escape predation.

    This has always been the way for millions of years before Homo sapiens made an appearance.

    If the natural world displays god's "invisible qualities" what does it tell us about god?

  • I Want to Believe
    I Want to Believe

    "If the natural world displays god's "invisible qualities" what does it tell us about god?"

    That Earth was designed as His personal Thunderdome.


    This 'God' that you earthlings talk of.

    Could you explain what it is to me.

  • tec

    I do not know the answer to this question. Which in itself is not a big deal, nor a suprise considering my age and (in)e x perience and the age of the universe. There have been plenty of things (and still are) that I didn't know the answer, but that I came to understand later. I also don't know enough about the universe and how everything within it works to make more than a guess.

    The answer is there; I just don't know it.



  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    This is very interesting. Animals never fell, according to the Bible. Is it b/c God is an animal and knows no better way? Certainly philosophers must have discussed this one. I don't recall reading anything though. The Tennyson quote is good.

  • The Quiet One
    The Quiet One

    Thanks for adding deep and insightful comments Cofty, as well as for actually staying on topic, unlike somebody who shall remain nameless .. Ah well I suppose it's bad karma for the last thread I hijacked, lol. Thank you Tec for your honesty and sincerity, as ever.

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