Arguments from evil, such as the logical problem of evil or the evidential problem of evil, aim to demonstrate that certain forms of suffering in the world are either unnecessary or gratuitous. Advocates of this argument contend that if it's conceivable to imagine a world with slightly less suffering without sacrificing any greater good, then an all-powerful, all-knowing, and wholly good being would prevent such instances of unnecessary suffering. For instance, proponents might argue that if a deer, like Bambi, endured one less second of agony in a wildfire in which it got caught without affecting any greater purpose, a benevolent deity would intervene to spare that needless second of suffering. Even if one nanosecond of suffering could be spared without compromising a greater good, it would be spared. However, skeptics point to the plethora of suffering and evil worldwide, both in nature and society, suggesting that for sure at least one instance of suffering must be gratuitous. Or at least that's the abductive argument they purport to make: that at least one instance of suffering could have been prevented, but it wasn't, therefore a wholly good God cannot exist.

This motivates my question: Are Christians theologically committed to the belief that every iota of suffering and evil in the world necessarily serves a profound purpose, and that no suffering or evil is without justification, not even a nanosecond of it?

Clarification: I'm interested in an overview of theological responses to this question.



You must log in to answer this question.