God must be evil

According to the world’s major religions, God is omnipotent, omniscient, and ‘all good.’ (Whatever the last one means). If so, then why is there suffering in this world? Is it because he didn’t know his creations would create suffering? Or was it because ‘he’ couldn’t create a world without suffering as a motivator for mankind? Or is it that suffering is good and we just don’t recognize it? (If you think that this last one is true, then kick your desk as hard as you can with your bare feet, and re-answer the question). All of these scenarios would violate the omnipotent, omniscient, and all-good claims, which would pretty much make him a liar.

Could it be that he gets some cosmic kick out of watching suffering, which he should know will occur if he is omniscient?

If he is omniscient, then do we truly have free will? Otherwise the future must seem uncertain even to god. If the future is uncertain, then has he been lying to us for the last few millenums? Does this make him all good?

If god has limitations, then could we, over time, topple him like a dictator?

There is considerable controversy among believers when it comes to your first two descriptions of God (omnipotent, omniscient). If a God does exist, we really do not understand the nature of existence of that God.

As far the creation of a perfect world, it is difficult to guess the intentions of a being who may or may not exist and whose basis for existence is unknown to us but (As in - I’m going to give it a flying guess anyway) there would be little point to a perfect world. Much of suffering is the result of the actions of others. To eliminate this suffering would require the removal of free will leaving you a mere puppet. Natural diasters and other tragedies that arise do cause much pain and suffering. But they also make us stronger. We are presented with tremendous obsticles to overcome. We are given scenarios in which some humans must face their cowardice and others become heros. Be it rescuing a child from a fire or stepping up to the tremendous challenge of caring for a dying parent. Triumph and tragedy offers us a chance to excel, to become more than what we are. We could never understand the value of something unless we knew the possibility of its loss. We could never feel any pride in success unless there was the possibility of failure.

This is supposedly a ‘deadly’ sin anyway. I would think He would censor it for your protection, not create a world of hardships in order for you to feel ‘pride’, which separates you from God (or so they say).

You have to take in consideration that in nature, which could also be defined as God, everything must be balanced. You cannot have light w/o dark, happiness w/o sadness, hate w/o love and to top it off suffering w/o pleasure.

If there was no suffering, would there be pleasure, and if so, would you know it? Think about it: if you lived in a world w/ no evil, nothing to harm us or any such action, would you really believe it to be happiness and perfection if you have nothing else to measure or compare it to?
We live in a world that is set in black and white w/ solid gray at the center, and every shade in between, all of which defines us as a unique individual. Without such, we would be nothing more than puppets.

I’ve never been satisfied with the explanation that evil must exist in order for good to exist. It doesn’t explain why so much evil is necessary. White can be made visible juxtaposed against gray – you don’t need black. Put another way, the existence of the joy of creation, the taste of hot fudge sundaes, and sexual orgasm doesn’t require the existence of the death of innocents by torture and incurable disease.

How could God be rightous and just in all He does if He forced His ways on everyone? Where would be the good in that? How could there be true love and trust if we were forced to do it?

sojourn26 makes a good point. If there is evil, there must be a good to compare it to. Right?

To both sojourn26 and CalMeacham: who knows we don’t live in a perfect world already? It is true you can’t measure one thing without comparing it to another. Maybe the combination of pleasure and pain as we know it, is absolute bliss compared to an alternative that is spared from us. If you compare white to gray without ever knowing black, you would see gray as the darkest colour and therefore be calling that black. It is all a matter of perspective.

And also, how could we ever have any good movies if there wasn’t any evil in the world? :wink:

As we’re discussing in This thread, there’s a difference between “pride in success” and Pride as one of the SDS (which might more accurately be called Hubris). There’s no reason for God (whatever that may be) to not want us to be pleased by our accomplishments - with the caveat that the J/C/I God of course wants us to give Him some credit for our successes. (IMHO - YMMV).

However, as most often “God(dess)” is a construct created by humans to give us some way of understanding Divinity, He/She/It must perforce reflect humanity, and therefore will have the same capacity for Good/Evil/Neutrality as humans do, existing on a continuum of white to black. (IMHO - YMMV).
(Aghris, ;))


All I can say is that I’m glad I don’t live in that Universe where they drill out your eyeballs every time you ask a question. By comparison, this universe is benign.

Of course, that starts an infinite regress. Now that I live in this “wimpy” universe, I see all sorts of things that could do with changing. So the question still remains as to why so much apparently needless and pointless suffering exists in this universe we inhabit. A truly omnipotent God could eliminate it, without it affecting our free will.

And before you say it, the gray will always be there. The opposite of joy, I’ve been told over and over, isn’t pain, it’s apathy.

Um, the purpose of suffering is to teach you not to kick your desk really hard with your bare feet?

A little tiny part of the answer to the OP is that pain/suffering has a purpose, in warning us when something isn’t right or teaching us not to do stupid stuff.

Any idea on how He would do this? The notion of omnipotence is somewhat misleading. For instance, God could never create a rock bigger than Himself, as it is impossible to create something larger than the infinite.

So is there a truly a way that God could eliminate suffering, without affecting our free will that is within the realm of the possible?

To swing this back to the OP, the reason that there is suffering is a result of our actions and free will. One may argue that if everyone CHOSE to follow the teachings of Jesus and Christianity then there would be a lot less suffering. 'Course, one could argue that there would be MORE suffering, but for the sake of argument let’s assume the former.

It seems that the definition of evil would have to be explored. Neither of these examples constitutes an evil nature in God. Yes, we live in a temporal universe where things pass away and bodies get sick and die. It is particularly sad when children die, but it’s not evil. It’s part of the nature of living in a mortal world. The torture of innocents is the possibly evil deed of people, not God. They are acting on their free will to perfom evil, something God allows but certainly does not cause or encourage. He created us to choose happiness and do the right thing, but does not force us to be His robotic servants.


You say:

Any idea on how He would do this? The notion of omnipotence is somewhat misleading. For instance, God could never create a rock bigger than Himself, as it is impossible to create something larger than the infinite.

So is there a truly a way that God could eliminate suffering, without affecting our free will that is within the realm of the possible?

Ahhh, now you’re asking me to play God. I don’t know how God works, so all I can offer is my own pocket-universe scenario, a la Theodore Sturgeon’s “Microcosmic God”, or some computer simulation.

I can, in those circumstances, eliminaqte needless suffering by making death from fatal illness occur almost instantaneously and before significant suffering has taken place. I assume that disease fatalities are needed for biological balance. This can be an “automatic” method. If you allow that, as an ominscient and omnipresent God, I would KNOW when this was the situation, I could shut down each ailing body on a case-by-case basis. I syill don’t see how this affects Free Will. If you do, perhaps you can enlighten me. One effect of this would be to eliminate suicides by those in terminal pain from terminal disease. Such people would no longer go to Eternal Damnation (if you are Catholic, and accept that suicide is a Mortal Sin) for a situation they are not responsible for. That seems eminently more acceptable than the current situation.

But a lot of diseases that were fatal only 50 years ago are now not. At what stage should God make you die? When the stage of the disease reaches incurability? But that could shift as well. What if someone reached a stage that was incurable and died that instant, but only a day later, a new medical discovery was made that would cure you. Wouldn’t that be evil, then? Killing a person the day before a discovery was made that could cure them?

Same thing for suicide, would it be good or evil to allow someone to kill themselves the day before a cure came out?

only on her good days.

Dal Timgar

I don’t know about normal day to day suffering caused by people on other people. However, I’m sure he could eliminate natural disasters like earthquakes and cyclones, which are utterly beyond our control but still cause immense suffering, without infringing on our free will. Whilst by no means ridding the world of suffering it would at least count for something IMO.

Hasn’t this been discussed at length in about 5 000 000 threads recently? Don’t people read before posting?

I suggest we open the uberthread “The Problem of Evil” and just put all these posts in it.


You’re reaching. For the vast expanse of human history there was no cure for most of these diseases. People died in horrible pain for no moral purpose that I can ascertain. If God operated in the method I suggest, our advances in medical science would not have been necessary – or at least, AS necessary. But I don’t think you’re arguing that God let diseases be the way they are in order to spur scientific research.

In fact, I could keep the diseases as fatal as they are, but remove the physical pain. That would answer your purposes just as well. I repeat – there’s no obvious way that this prolonged suffering seems to serve a moral purpose, or is necessary for any reason. Your last post does not suggest any.

Yeah, I’ll admit that last post was a little desperate. But it was late, I was tired :smiley:

So I’m going to change my tack here a bit. I wholeheartedly agree with you that I think your world would be better, even in the last post. Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t come up with a good argument, but who knows.

I’m going to focus on your statement that you don’t know how God works. Yeah, no one does. Perhaps there is a moral reason, but because we’re not God we don’t know it.

Anyhoo…I concede that there is suffering in the world (when I said my free will thing, I was referring to human caused suffering)and that God could probably do something about it if He wanted to. What I reject is the label of evil.

You can’t assign the evil label until you know the motives of someone, and since we can’t know God’s motives you can’t know why He allows suffering.

I would also like to point out that when God created the world in Genesis there was no suffering. It was man’s disobedience that caused suffering. Not that I’m a creationist or take the Bible literally by any stretch of the imagination, I’m just trying to get the last word in :slight_smile: