An atheist has argued with me that suffering is going against "intelligent design" in humans and animals.

He would agree that pain is vital for our nature to indicate when something is wrong, but he is saying that people are experience deep suffering which can change someone entire life and some people can never recover (like huge depression, mental illness etc.) Also there are unnecessary suffering like, why suffer when someone dies?

He said that if God is perfect in creation we shouldn't have this experiences...

I was defending in two ways:

  1. original sin
  2. unknown reason God may have to allow this, since he is all knowing, we cannot argue that we are imperfect, because we do not see the entire picture and we cannot understand fully what is the purpose we were made for... Therefore our current features could actually be perfect for a specific purpose.

I'm wandering how would you answer this question; Is suffering a flaw in intelligent design?

  • Atheists almost always argue there is no God from the morality point of view. It is incompatible with an atheistic world view and yet they continue to use it anyway. There are numerous YouTube videos online relevant to this topic. Essentially, atheist state "if there is a God, then he must be responsible for all the tragedy in this world, if there is no God..."(they rapidly go blank at that point!) One of the best arguments against them remains the statement, God gave us all free will!
    – Adam
    Feb 23, 2021 at 23:42
  • Neither Adam nor Eve nor their progeny would have suffered a thing had they not transgressed the words of God : and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it -- dying thou dost die.' Genesis 2:17 YLT.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 24, 2021 at 6:08
  • Why are people downvoting? At least let me know what is wrong with the question...very weird :(
    – V. Sambor
    Feb 24, 2021 at 8:27
  • I would say the downvoting is because this question might be considered "opinion based".
    – komodosp
    Feb 24, 2021 at 13:28
  • The point of human life beginning in the garden was to experience sin - that's why the 'serpent' was in there from the start. God can create perfection - but He chose to do it another way that would ensure a better outcome - the choice of good rather than an enforced good.
    – steveowen
    Feb 24, 2021 at 22:25

1 Answer 1



I don't really have references for this I will just answer it by logic alone. The atheist is making quite a few assumptions to make the leap from suffering to no Intelligent Designer (or indeed God).


  1. The Designer's morals are the same as his, and by extension the Designer's desire is to have no unnecessary suffering (from a mortal point of view).

Actually, we have no idea what the motives of the Designer is. We have our own idea of what is right and wrong but it might not be the same as the Designer's. There is no reason to be sure that they don't want people to suffer. It certainly doesn't preclude their existence.

  1. Life on Earth is a major part of existence

However, assuming that there is an afterlife, an eternal one in fact, one's life on Earth is just an insignificantly tiny part of our overall existence, being less than a 100 years out of, well, infinity! Trillions of epochs from now, that short period of suffering will seem like less than that itch you scratched when you were 3.

  1. It is within the Designer's ability to prevent suffering.

But the Designer might not be the almighty/all-knowing God of the Bible that we're so familiar with. The point of Intelligent Design "theory" is that it's more of a generic theory stating that an entity powerful and intelligent enough to create a planet or universe and life, did so. They may have been able to invent sophisticated life-forms, but not been able to rid them of all "bugs", as it were. Just because they can create life doesn't mean they can wave a magic wand and make all disease disappear.

  • thanks for the answer :)
    – V. Sambor
    Feb 24, 2021 at 20:58
  • I dissagree in part with this answer. We absolutely know why God created this planet...he tells us in Genesis and throughout the entire plan of salvation. He created man "in His (Our) image" for the same reason Jesus gave His life for our sins (an act of redemption)...love! It can best be described by our human family. Is there any greater joy or act of love than your own family?
    – Adam
    Feb 26, 2021 at 20:01
  • @Adam You may be falling into the trap that the OP's atheist friend did. I.e. God loves us therefore an act of non-love (e.g. to allow suffering) means there is no God and therefore no creator. But this doesn't work logically.
    – komodosp
    Feb 28, 2021 at 11:17
  • @colmde...you are confusing Gods love in allowing suffering with our "free will". Suffering comes because of free will and it is because of this that He (God) doesn't immediately stop suffering. Remember the story of Job? God is on trial, his accuser is Satan. If atheists don't believe in God, to whom do they assign/blame for all suffering? We absolutely know why God created the earth...love. he did not however make robots!
    – Adam
    Mar 4, 2021 at 19:36

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