Why does God not relieve the acute suffering of a child? This example incites the jury. The child's suffering and mine during a flu episode only differ in degree. The question is why God allows suffering at all. In a world of inevitable death suffering is unavoidable and is therefore as natural as elliptical orbits. Suffering (like its twin pleasure) is morally neutral and a by-product of sentience--cruelty and indifference are not neutral. For God to intervene would be to change the natural order, thus depriving humans of a full range of experience, freedom to act, and full responsibility for those actions. The terms of existence are non-negotiable. God's moral law is the architect's plan for living with these conditions. Does my argument hold any water?

I think your argument has holes that prevent it from holding much water:

1. Our world need not have been a world of inevitable death. Any God capable of creating the universe from scratch is capable of creating its physical laws, so nothing forced God to make our universe one in which everything dies. The creation of a universe having that feature is entirely God's choice. Nor could any sin we humans later committed force God to institute death as a response. That response is not dictated to God by any law; it is likewise entirely God's choice.

2. "For God to intervene would be to change the natural order..." But, again, it's a natural order that God chose to institute in the first place.

3. "...thus depriving humans of a full range of experience, freedom to act, and full responsibility for those actions." As it is, humans don't have the full range of experience: there are things (including pains and pleasures) that we can't experience but other animals can. If the freedom to act is highly valuable in itself, and if the freedom to act makes suffering inevitable, then the doctrine of a blissful heaven is incoherent, for either agents in that exalted state lack that highly valuable freedom or else they experience suffering and not just bliss. Being fully responsible for one's actions is relevant to the problem of evil only if one is fully responsible for one's wrong actions. But being fully responsible for one's wrong actions is obviously not a good in itself, or else (a) God must lack that good, since God never acts wrongly, and (b) agents in heaven must lack that good (or else must act wrongly). So a good world need not contain that kind of responsibility.

4. "The terms of existence are non-negotiable." Nothing dictated those terms to God. If there are terms of existence, then God chose them. God is not forced to live with those conditions, and God need not force others to live with those conditions.

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