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"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice." - Charles Darwin (1860)

If God is benevolent, why did he deliberately create a natural system in which animals have no option but to cause other animals suffering?

Why did he deliberately allow birth defected children to be born (both animal and human)?

Why did he deliberately create all these viruses and bacteria that cause both human and animal suffering?

And from a religious perspective, will the suffering of such animals be compensated?

And regarding natural disasters like hurricanes, it is difficult to believe that they are sent to remind people or warn them of sins because many victims of these disasters are children and people who have lived relatively good lives.

I would prefer that you guys don't cluster these questions into one question and rather answer each one specifically, unless you believe your clustered response is sufficient to address all these problems.

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And regarding natural disasters like hurricanes, it is difficult to believe that they are sent to remind people or warn them of sins because many victims of these disasters are children and people who have lived relatively good lives.

And if those people you speak of then go to heaven, isn't that a good outcome for them? My problem with a lot of these kinds of questions is they seem to presuppose naturalism, so that getting ill or dying prematurely is the worst possible outcome, which is not the case for the believer.

And from a religious perspective, will the suffering of such animals be compensated?

Why should it be? If a potter breaks his pots, does he need to compensate them? And on atheism, what is suffering anyway? Some chemical reactions, some atoms moving about... It's hardly unique in the universe. The only reason we place so much importance to it is because we relate to it so much.

Why did he deliberately allow birth defected children to be born (both animal and human)?

Why did he deliberately create all these viruses and bacteria that cause both human and animal suffering?

The honest answer is that nobody knows for sure (although we can try to speculate if we want). I don't see it as a problem though, because I don't make the assumption that it is necessary for me to understand all of God's decisions to believe in Him, any more than I would need to understand every natural phenomenon in order to be an atheist. These would only be serious issues for me if they were logically inconsistent with some other aspect of my belief in God.

 

I think we need to view things from a slightly higher vantage point. To make an analogy, imagine if creation is all essentially a computer program, and what we call pain is just a reaction that is programmed into us (and therefore doesn't really have any reality outside of the program). Now, if someone 'dies' in the program, they are then recreated in some other program (heaven or hell), or others may simply be deleted (for example, animals). Would it makes sense for the characters in the program to question whether they have been programmed, simply because they don't like elements of the program? Or to say that the programmer needs to compensate elements of the program for what has happened to them? Or would it makes sense for the characters in the program to refuse to believe that they are actually programmed unless they could understand every element of the program, and what the programmer had in mind when he made this or that decision?

I think we need to reflect on what the difference between 'creation' and 'creator' is. We as humans have far too high a view of ourselves, and seem to think we are owed a lot more than we are.

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From the Quran , the answer is quiet simple "Everything is a sign for those who think"

The centre of attention of creation is us , and the world around us is subjugated to us but not for the sake of subjugation but as a means by which to know God, a question to the mind

"Do ye not see that God has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made his bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen? Yet there are among men those who dispute about God, without knowledge and without guidance, and without a Book to enlighten them!"

"it is He who has made you a vicegerent on this earth"

Furthermore the Imams have said "If there was no death, no disease, no suffering etc on this earth people would not believe in a God"

So it is for us a sign , something that makes us think 

And it does its job REALLY well more so then many other things, because almost EVERY person has been caused to think because of it , believer and non believer alike has pondered about why is there death and suffering and always almost tired that question to the question of God 

If it didnt exist, we would say "How can there be a God if everyone is happy and perfect? and we would be saying we dont need a God, what for? "

So it is a very powerful sign that has challenged almost EVERY living human and thing , it is a means by which we can know God and are always lead to think about Him 

Edited by mightymask

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The people born with unfortunate things who are patient will be compensated. Same for being born in poverty, being struck with disease (hadith). Mostly we do not see things on the grand scale of time or forget what we know. This world and this phase of life is shorter than a dream. These disabilities and sufferings are really insignificant if we could only realize and believe. Without belief and knowledge, each slight variation is a calamity. Then baldness or white hair is also a disasterous turn of events and a suffering. Not winning a lottery would tell you that God hates you. Then your life becomes a miserable mouse and circumstances become a cat, playing with it, and you feel like Darwin.

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7 hours ago, Three-One-Three said:

"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice." - Charles Darwin (1860)

If God is benevolent, why did he deliberately create a natural system in which animals have no option but to cause other animals suffering?

Why did he deliberately allow birth defected children to be born (both animal and human)?

Why did he deliberately create all these viruses and bacteria that cause both human and animal suffering?

And from a religious perspective, will the suffering of such animals be compensated?

And regarding natural disasters like hurricanes, it is difficult to believe that they are sent to remind people or warn them of sins because many victims of these disasters are children and people who have lived relatively good lives.

I would prefer that you guys don't cluster these questions into one question and rather answer each one specifically, unless you believe your clustered response is sufficient to address all these problems.

Lads,

Trust you are all well

To put it broadly—God didn't.

The universe developed to be as it is over billions of years. Darwin had his suspicions it were so. There is no moral quality to an act done by an animal. A lynx eating a fox is neither good nor evil. That's just how some species of animals, carnivores and omnivores, chose to survive over millions of years. It isn't personal and it is morally indifferent.

As to moral evil—Orthodox Christianity teaches that man introduced that into the world by sin.

1. Animals have lower level of sentience than us; they're not so complex as we are. Their brains and nerves are less like ours than most imagine. They feel pain but not like we do.

As well, they are not self-aware, they are not conscious they are suffering. Have you ever killed an animal? It's all instinct as they die. They have an impulse to stay alive and they fight like mad to stay so, but the fox isn't thinking "O Good God! I never even had children! And I could have avoided all this by just walking that way instead of through these trees. So many regrets! And what next? Ahhh! It hurts so bad. O my God! O my God! I can feel the blood in my lungs."

The smaller you get, the less sense for pain there will be. Caterpillars wouldn't really feel anything I suspect.

2. How dare you. Are you not ashamed of yourself? You are seriously suggesting that some people are inferior or ought not to live if they have a disability? They are less human?

Everyone is exactly as they should be. And lovely like that.

Do you know the cause of birth defects? No, not God. But good guess. It's genetics, smoking, environment. All ultimately traceable back to—us. Man not God.

Darwin chose to marry his cousin. Not God. His daughter was sickly as a consequence and she died. How is this God's fault?

God will however bless her immortal soul and give her eternal life and endless peace and happiness. I can't say if Darwin is where good girls go; he himself personally seemed not to want to go there.

3. Biology, not God.

These things regulate the world. We need to die. So do animals. The earth can't sustain us indefinitely. That's the problem now. We're already overpopulated and our life-span is getting longer. There's an order here. A cycle. Things die so other things can live.

This is just how the universe played out over a long, long time.

No point in being a baby about it. Die when you do and be grateful for having lived at all—and more still for the offer to do so eternally in a place of pure bliss.

4. I believe so. I mean, they don't need "compensating." Imagine it!

Archangel: Seems here Mr. Tiggles you were only ever fed dry-food.

Mr. Tiggles: Lamentably so my heavenly host, so lamentably so.

Archangel: Well as a house-cat you're covered by the Domestic policy which has a pay-out of ten thousand tins of meat and assorted fish varieties.

Bet that's just how it is in Heaven.

Anyway, I do believe they'll exist after they die and that they'll be happy. Lord God doesn't like to destroy things. Maybe they'll even be reunited with good owners.

The Holy Orthodox Church doesn't have any defined stance on this, because we can't know until after we have the good luck to die.

5. A hurricane is only a storm. It has completely natural, physical causes. God doesn't brew one up and send it at a city.

Angels might. Some holy fathers say so. That they act unseen over the elements. And if they do send you a hurricane it is for some good purpose, I assure you.

It's probably better that way. I've suffered a lot and often. Especially as a little boy. I was an orphan—no one to dress me, no one to bless me. I'm better for it.

Your trouble is that you seem to think God magically does stuff all the time and then you completely ignore the physical and human causes and their repercussions.

Synergy is the word in the Church's theology. Lord God cooperates with nature and humanity.

Most of what you have brought up fall within His permissive providence. That is to say, He does not cause it but also does not suddenly go against nature or deprive someone or something of their free will. He permits it to happen and has made all things such that good can come of it that otherwise would not have been possible had it not occurred. At least where human beings are involved. And I said can come of it. Because we need to do our part as well. If we don't then no good comes.

For the rest, nature runs its course as it pleases nature to run it.

And it's rather beautiful. Infinitely interesting too you know.

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6 hours ago, Haydar Husayn said:

If a potter breaks his pots, does he need to compensate them?

You can't compare animal suffering and death to pots being broken. Shall we go around and start torturing and killing animals because they're nothing but pots being broken? Surely God is better knowing and sympathetic of their condition and sensations than this. Just because He created them, it doesn't mean He should be a sadist regardless of whether He has the right to.

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6 hours ago, Retribution said:

You can't compare animal suffering and death to pots being broken. Shall we go around and start torturing and killing animals because they're nothing but pots being broken? Surely God is better knowing and sympathetic of their condition and sensations than this. Just because He created them, it doesn't mean He should be a sadist regardless of whether He has the right to.

To us there is a difference, and obviously we can't go around torturing animals. Just to start with, animals are not our creation, and God has not given us permission to do what we want with them. They have rights, and we are to treat them well. However, to God we are just as pots. He created us, and is free to do what he wishes with His creation. Or do you think that having created things, God then has some 'moral obligation' towards them?

There is a difference between how things are to us living within creation, and how things are to God, who is outside of it. It's a matter of perspective, and you can't apply human principles to God, which is one of the problems with these discussions. People talk about God as if He were just some kind of ultimate human judge, who needs to abide by our idea of what 'fair', 'just', and 'merciful' is. Somehow people don't see the absurdity in that, even though they would probably not think that a microbe has the capacity to understand our actions and thoughts. But somehow, we should be able to comprehend God, when there is more gap between us and Him than between the microbe and us. I guess that's human arrogance for you.

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8 hours ago, Haydar Husayn said:

To us there is a difference, and obviously we can't go around torturing animals. Just to start with, animals are not our creation, and God has not given us permission to do what we want with them. They have rights, and we are to treat them well. However, to God we are just as pots. He created us, and is free to do what he wishes with His creation. Or do you think that having created things, God then has some 'moral obligation' towards them?

There is a difference between how things are to us living within creation, and how things are to God, who is outside of it. It's a matter of perspective, and you can't apply human principles to God, which is one of the problems with these discussions. People talk about God as if He were just some kind of ultimate human judge, who needs to abide by our idea of what 'fair', 'just', and 'merciful' is. Somehow people don't see the absurdity in that, even though they would probably not think that a microbe has the capacity to understand our actions and thoughts. But somehow, we should be able to comprehend God, when there is more gap between us and Him than between the microbe and us. I guess that's human arrogance for you.

I agree to disagree. I believe the reasons that God (S) attributed to Himself as being the Most Just and the Most Merciful was because it was of His wisdom that He found it to be of what was necessary if He was to create such a creation in such a condition and so far there is no proof of God believing that His creation are like pots, neither have I found it in the Qur'an nor have I found it taught by the Prophet (S) and the Ahlul Bayt (A). Rather what I've found is that among His names are the Most Just, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent, the Most Compassionate and the Most Loving. These names are proofs that it was from His wisdom that He found it to be necessary to have such attributes for His creation. And until you provide authentic proof from my religion against me, I will not believe otherwise. The reason I said that we can't go around torturing and killing animals was not because I had not known that He had not allowed us to, it was because I had known and I wanted to point towards the reason why. There is no reason I can find other than that it is due to Him being against animal suffering and torture and not just because whether we had partaken their creation or not, He doesn't make it illegitimate for such a low reason. Think about it again, why can't you apply that ideology to the trees? He created them yet He still hasn't revealed a verse of being merciful to them as He had revealed a verse to be merciful to the animals, is it because they are not His creations and they are ours this time? Can you apply your theory that we can't go cutting any single branch from a tree or uproot any plant because they are God's creation? There is a difference between an animal and a plant, let alone an animal and a pot and I think God is Omniscient over not knowing such common sense of what He made known to mankind. You say He gave them rights, isn't it because of their condition being different than that of the plants? And I'm sorry but God has called Himself a Judge and the Most Just One multiple times in the Qur'an and ordered His prophets, messengers and guides to emphasize upon that. You see it as being absurd but I see it as being of the utmost necessity of what God had decreed. We have the famous tradition where when God had completed His creation, He wrote upon His throne, "My Mercy has overcome My Wrath" and it's one we should keep remembering whenever we return to Him in repentance. You can continue believing that it's due to my human arrogance that I am disturbed by such a view of God and I'll continue knowing that it is only because it disturbs my image of the justice and mercy of God.

I believe that God only does what is necessary and He does not play around with pots.

And We have not created the heaven and the earth in play. [Qur'an 21:16]

He decreed it necessary that His mercy embraces all things.

My Mercy encompasses all things. [Qur'an 7:156]

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22 minutes ago, Retribution said:

I agree to disagree. I believe the reasons that God (S) attributed to Himself as being the Most Just and the Most Merciful was because it was of His wisdom that He found it to be of what was necessary if He was to create such a creation in such a condition and so far there is no proof of God believing that His creation are like pots, neither have I found it in the Qur'an nor have I found it taught by the Prophet (S) and the Ahlul Bayt (A). Rather what I've found is that among His names are the Most Just, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent, the Most Compassionate and the Most Loving. These names are proofs that it was from His wisdom that He found it to be necessary to have such attributes for His creation. And until you provide authentic proof from my religion against me, I will not believe otherwise.

I don't understand what you are saying here? Are you trying to say that God made Himself Merciful and Just? For our benefit no less? I can't believe you really think God gave Himself attributes.

That would also seem to imply that you believe that there is some objective notion of justice outside of God. Is that the case? Because to me good is whatever God says is good. I don't believe there is some kind of ultimate notion of 'goodness' out there, that God just happens to agree with.

22 minutes ago, Retribution said:

The reason I said that we can't go around torturing and killing animals was not because I had not known that He had not allowed us to, it was because I had known and I wanted to point towards the reason why. There is no reason I can find other than that it is due to Him being against animal suffering and torture and not just because whether we had partaken their creation or not,

God is against animal suffering? Well then you really do have a problem with why he made animals in such a way so that they are forced to inflict suffering on each other. Just think about it. In order to eat, they need to kill each other in the most brutal way possible. How is that for being against animal cruelty?

 

22 minutes ago, Retribution said:

He doesn't make it illegitimate for such a low reason. Think about it again, why can't you apply that ideology to the trees? He created them yet He still hasn't revealed a verse of being merciful to them as He had revealed a verse to be merciful to the animals, is it because they are not His creations and they are ours this time? Can you apply your theory that we can't go cutting any single branch from a tree or uproot any plant because they are God's creation?

What verse about being merciful to animals are you talking about? I haven't been able to find it. There is this verse about why God created animals though:

And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat. And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture]. And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful. And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know. [Qur'an 16:5-8, Sahih International]

So the Qur'an says very clearly that these animals were created for our benefit, but of course we know that there are responsibilities that come with that.

As for trees, as it happens I don't believe that Islam allows you to uproot trees for no reason, anymore than you can kill animals for no reason, or waste any other resources without reason. We aren't even supposed to waste water, let alone trees. There are also ahadith on the virtues of planing trees, and there is a story of a tree in the Prophet's mosque in Madina that is said to have cried after he died. I don't consider trees or plants to be things we can do as we wish with.

22 minutes ago, Retribution said:

There is a difference between an animal and a plant, let alone an animal and a pot and I think God is Omniscient over not knowing such common sense of what He made known to mankind. You say He gave them rights, isn't it because of their condition being different than that of the plants?

From our perspective, yes, there is a difference. What is the difference from God's perspective? God created animals and He created trees. Do you believe that having created animals, they then become independent entities that God has an obligation towards? Consider what an animal or a tree is in the context of the whole known universe. It's nothing. A tiny spec in a vast universe. So if that is what these things are to the universe, what are they to God?

 

22 minutes ago, Retribution said:

And I'm sorry but God has called Himself a Judge and the Most Just One multiple times in the Qur'an and ordered His prophets, messengers and guides to emphasize upon that. You see it as being absurd but I see it as being of the utmost necessity of what God had decreed. We have the famous tradition where when God had completed His creation, He wrote upon His throne, "My Mercy has overcome My Wrath" and it's one we should keep remembering whenever we return to Him in repentance. You can continue believing that it's due to my human arrogance that I am disturbed by such a view of God and I'll continue knowing that it is only because it disturbs my image of the justice and mercy of God.

I believe that God only does what is necessary and He does not play around with pots.

And We have not created the heaven and the earth in play. [Qur'an 21:16]

He decreed it necessary that His mercy embraces all things.

My Mercy encompasses all things. [Qur'an 7:156]

I'm not sure what exactly disturbs you so much. All I am saying is that God created everything, as can do as He wishes with His creation. Do you not believe that?

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One thing to note, is that in every type of existent and experience, has a share of beauty and glory of God.  Everything glorifies and connects itself to God. One of the visions in the journey to God, is the vision of the spiritual world. It's there you see the reality of things as they are. We being veiled, Satan may whisper to us, this is how a tree is, this how a mouse is, but we cannot know their true reality and the treasure they been given, unless, we see the malakut ourselves.

There is not a thing but with God is it's treasures and valuable gift, and everything he has portion a portion of his mercy and descended water from his abundance. 

Before the creation of the universe, everything was tested, and we in a way created through God's permission, our own souls and capacity.  We humans being created in the best capacity have the greatest responsibility and we also have the highest risk to falling and corruption. 

We don't see everything through the name of God glorifying God. However, the Quran says everything glorifies God. We don't understand their particular Tasbih, but God sees them and sees their value. God is the most appreciative and thankful, and he appreciates all good from his creation. 

There is also a verse that shows a certain bird of Sulaiman could of disobeyed him, which perhaps, show animals have a degree of "free-will" to the degree they love and submit to their creator, and the degree they are attached to it's beauty, majesty, and glory. 

 

Edited by StrugglingForTheLight

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1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

I don't understand what you are saying here? Are you trying to say that God made Himself Merciful and Just? For our benefit no less? I can't believe you really think God gave Himself attributes.

If you thought that I believe that God created Himself, you have misunderstood. I believe that He decreed for things to be the way they should be and they are the way they should be because He willed for them to be. He did not start at a condition for that would imply that He had a beginning. His name being The First is due to Him always being before any first of the creation due to His eternity. As for if it was for our benefit, I believe that His mercy is for our benefit because He is the Most Beneficent who benefits from nothing, for He is greater than benefiting or relying on His creation in anything. His creation benefits from Him and they benefit him not and He relies on nothing, all things rely on Him. And this goes for our worship as well, He orders us to worship Him that we may benefit from Him.

1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

That would also seem to imply that you believe that there is some objective notion of justice outside of God. Is that the case? Because to me good is whatever God says is good. I don't believe there is some kind of ultimate notion of 'goodness' out there, that God just happens to agree with.

What is justice is what God has decreed to be. The goodness out there that God agrees with is the one that He says is good due to Him being its maker and having all knowledge of it.

1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

God is against animal suffering? Well then you really do have a problem with why he made animals in such a way so that they are forced to inflict suffering on each other. Just think about it. In order to eat, they need to kill each other in the most brutal way possible. How is that for being against animal cruelty?

I believe that the Prophet (S) says nothing out of His desire and He is a revelation that is revealed as God had revealed through the Qur'an in 53:3 and the Imams are immaculate and inform us of what God wills for us to be informed with. I do not separate them from the Qur'an and what I can authenticate to be from them, I believe in it. I refer to them as to whether God is against us causing suffering to animals or not. I have a list of traditions I can share with you, if you're not willing to research for yourself but these are two of them by the Prophet himself according to Nahj al-Fasahah:

Verily, the Exalted God created one hundred sets of mercy the day he created the heavens and earth, every one of which covering the distance between the earth and sky, and placed one of them on the earth for mothers to be kind to their children and for wild animals and birds to be used to each other. He has kept ninety-nine sets of mercy for the Day of Judgement to be completed by the mentioned one.

Whoever unjustly kills an animal, a bird and so on will be called to account by God in the Day of Judgment.

The second narration clearly shows that God is against injustice done to animals.

As for as to why God has created the ecosystem in the way it is out there is what this thread was opened for and I hope we can reach a satisfying conclusion with.

1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

What verse about being merciful to animals are you talking about? I haven't been able to find it. There is this verse about why God created animals though:

And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat. And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture]. And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful. And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know. [Qur'an 16:5-8, Sahih International]

So the Qur'an says very clearly that these animals were created for our benefit, but of course we know that there are responsibilities that come with that.

The verse turned out to be a narration I had mixed with some Qur'anic verses. May Allah (S) forgive me and thank you for mentioning this. I don't deny that they were created mainly for our benefit as pointed out by the Qur'anic verse and another one I've read but what I believe is that it wasn't entirely completely just for our benefit but it was also for their benefit as well due to to his beneficence.

1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

As for trees, as it happens I don't believe that Islam allows you to uproot trees for no reason, anymore than you can kill animals for no reason, or waste any other resources without reason. We aren't even supposed to waste water, let alone trees. There are also ahadith on the virtues of planing trees, and there is a story of a tree in the Prophet's mosque in Madina that is said to have cried after he died. I don't consider trees or plants to be things we can do as we wish with.

Here is where I disagree with you with. You seem to imply that the reasons are always exactly the same whereas I believe the reasons are different. While the plants have their reasons as to why they are not be wasted, when it comes to the judgment of the animals, the obvious difference in their condition from the plants should also taken into account.

1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

From our perspective, yes, there is a difference. What is the difference from God's perspective? God created animals and He created trees. Do you believe that having created animals, they then become independent entities that God has an obligation towards? Consider what an animal or a tree is in the context of the whole known universe. It's nothing. A tiny spec in a vast universe. So if that is what these things are to the universe, what are they to God?

No and neither do we. You see, that's one of the things that I find God to be worthy of worship for. He can do whatever He wills and yet I believe He does what is right, even if my intellect is to feeble to comprehend it. He has no obligation towards His creation, yet He still does what is right. That's one of the things that should make one admire Him for.

1 hour ago, Haydar Husayn said:

I'm not sure what exactly disturbs you so much. All I am saying is that God created everything, as can do as He wishes with His creation. Do you not believe that?

What disturbs me is when someone tells me to believe that God is doing evil because He has the right to. What I believe is that God has no obligations yet still does what is good.

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On 12/24/2015 at 4:14 PM, Three-One-Three said:

"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice." - Charles Darwin (1860)

If God is benevolent, why did he deliberately create a natural system in which animals have no option but to cause other animals suffering?

Why did he deliberately allow birth defected children to be born (both animal and human)?

Why did he deliberately create all these viruses and bacteria that cause both human and animal suffering?

And from a religious perspective, will the suffering of such animals be compensated?

And regarding natural disasters like hurricanes, it is difficult to believe that they are sent to remind people or warn them of sins because many victims of these disasters are children and people who have lived relatively good lives.

I would prefer that you guys don't cluster these questions into one question and rather answer each one specifically, unless you believe your clustered response is sufficient to address all these problems.

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