The Problem of Evil or Suffering by Apetivist
Is it not possible for Yahweh to have created us all with a sense to do the right thing and also give us the idea of what constitutes wrong things? If Yahweh created the Universe as it is then he intended the world to have evil in light of his omniscience. Free Will Defense is not a good excuse either. Alvin Plantinga's argument states that "It is possible that God, even being omnipotent, could not create a world with free creatures who never choose evil. Furthermore, it is possible that God, even being omnibenevolent, would desire to create a world which contains evil if moral goodness requires free moral creatures." With advances in neuroscience and physics we are beginning to see indications that free will might be illusory and that indeterminism actually means that we are not as in control of the electrochemical reactions in our brain as we may think. This will make for another discussion later.
But that means that Yahweh is not omnipotent and it even calls into question his omnisapience. Surely even I can imagine a world where humans could think of doing evil but any attempt to carry it out would be thwarted by some measure. They have the free will to act as they may but there would be no ill effect on themselves or another if they so choose to do so.
Take an example regarding moral evil. I decide I want to stab a person with a knife. But the moment I try to do so the knife would dematerialize. Imagine that I try to push a person down a flight of stairs and the moment I touch them my arm passes right through them with no effect whatsoever. Evil could be considered but not carried out with any effect. Eventually people would realize how pointless evil would be. Free will should not be so important that it takes away the free will of another person.
Equally I can imagine a world with no moral evil or natural evil. Can’t we all learn the importance of life without pain and suffering? We can challenge our character without experiencing physical pain. There could always be challenges but they need not involve suffering.
Why in the Garden was Adam and Eve created ignorant of good and evil? Why couldn’t Yahweh have placed that within them? Could he not of trusted his own creations to do what was right? Especially if they knew what was right? Surely, they could think of doing otherwise but as I said before they could be physically prevented from ever carrying it out. In fact, they could have knowledge of doing every act of evil imaginable but it would only serve as a way to appreciate the good life that they had.
If I can imagine this can’t an omnisapient and omniscient deity be able to do so? It seems that Yahweh is more concerned with the free will of a rapist in our world than the free will of the raped. In our world the toll and consequences of moral and natural evil is beyond measure. Even if we get a heaven later does that mean that we are properly compensated? Even if compensation seems fair would that in and of itself rectify the justification for evil in the first place?
If Yahweh knew all along that there would be no evil or sin in the New Heavens and New Earth then why didn’t he just make it that way to begin with? Skip to the end. Why even create people that are destined for Hell? Why even create a Hell? It is all so senseless especially given the so-called omnisapience of Yahweh. It also paints Yahweh as being evil. Only an evil deity would create a Universe where there is evil. An omnibenevolent deity would never create a Universe whereby evil would exist.
For those that say I’m being idealistic then you forget that Yahweh is being idealistic with the New Heavens and New Earth. It makes no sense whatsoever to put trillions of animals through suffering if it never was necessary to begin with. That is why I say that if Yahweh exists as described in the Bible then he is a malevolent deity. We could imagine a Deistic god though that is either unaware or apathetic of our existence. This Deistic god could have just set things into motion and left it all to play out perhaps to a desired end or to no ends whatsoever.
However, until we have any evidence of a god of any sort then we are left with no other choice than to withhold belief in such a being and go with what is available to us through naturalistic observation and measurement. Science (hard and soft and in-between such as psychology) and most of useful philosophy helps us better understand the world around us in such a way that religion could never have. It tells us that we live in a naturalistic universe and there are physical causes for what happens. If a person chooses or carries out involuntarily a moral evil against another person it isn’t because of some demon compelled or influenced them to do it is because that person is either intentionally violent, mentally unstable, or mentally deficient to do otherwise. What caused them to do it can be complex thus we have all different fields of study that can help shed light on such reasons if there are any to be discovered. It goes without saying that some events happen for no apparent reason but that just means that presently we don’t understand it and perhaps soon by asking the right questions, research, and testing we may eventually know.
An omniscient and omnipotent deity could well have created the Universe but without evidence of such we are left with more questions. Why would this deity or deities place us in a Universe where there would be suffering? If this deity is omnibenevolent then what has it to gain in such a creation? The less absurd hypothesis based on available evidence proposes we live in a naturalistic universe. It may not be comforting for the religious to entertain this but it does make more sense than the more complex creator hypothesis. Occam’s Razor.