Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Friday, July 06, 2007

My Theology In 60 Seconds

My Theology In 60 Seconds

This is a fairly long article that is nonetheless condensed in order to simply and quickly explain my whole theology and ideas to readers, with a paragraph per major idea. Readers can skip to sections that interest them. There is a link in most questions to a much longer in-depth article addressing the topic.

Last Edited 11/28/07

Why Is God Good?

I think it's rather interesting the way humans always see selfishness as the natural state of things. When we think of rational models of agents, we tend to assign them selfish, self-maximising values. I happen to think this view is completely unwarranted and that the opposite is true; that the natural state for rational entities is perfect goodness. Consider: you evolved. Your genes are selfish. If your genes weren't selfish, your ancestors wouldn't have survived. Consider a computer. Is it selfish? Would it ever be selfish if someone didn't program selfishness into it? I think of God as a pure rational will, the most simple kind of being imaginable, having no desires. But because God has no desires, he cannot possibly ever imagine doing anything evil to another person. Why would he? He has no selfish (or any) desires! Thus, since he knows other beings have their own wills, he would incorporate a perfect upholding of other persons' free will in his will, because he could never conceive of a practical reason to restrict it. And this, for a human, is a will of perfect goodness towards someone. He thus would honour our free will, and (implicitly) desire it to be fulfilled, as a most basic characteristics of His being.

Why Would A Perfect God Create Anything?

[Answer redone 11/27/07]. As said before, we have good reasons to think of God as being perfectly good, (in my opinion), should any God at all exist. But why would He (or It, rather) create? One possible reason would be that whether or not other beings apart from God actually exist, God must be consistent in his attitudes. And God's attitude towards other persons would be one of perfect goodness, as shown above. So whether or not the contingent beings God can imagine exist, God has to have the attitude of perfect goodness towards them. Now, at this point, I think that God went from having the attitude that he would fulfill the desires of these contingent beings he can imagine to actually fulfilling them - and thus creating them. (It may seem odd to think of this world as one whose purpose is to fulfill the desires of contingent beings, but I think I address this in what follows.)

Why Didn't God Create Perfect People?

The beings God created couldn't be perfect, like him, in rationality, because only God can be perfect. This manifests itself in those beings having desires that cause them to bizarrely (from God's point of view) want to do something wrong. I put it simply that this is a logical limitation on God's power - no matter what he does, he cannot create perfect, rational persons outside himself. I am not saying God is limited, but I think we should rethink what we understand omnipotence to be capable of. This does not hinder Christian theology because we can receive the Holy Spirit to make our characters perfect in the afterlife with acceptance of Christ, which will replace our evil desires with perfect love. So God created Adam and Eve very good, but not completely perfect. And because of their (small) imperfection, Adam and Eve fell, as they had to.

If God is all powerful, then why isn't everyone saved?

As mentioned, God can't create anyone perfect. This affects everyone differently. Some people are imperfect in the sense of never being able to accept God's offer of salvation no matter what God does - they are unsavable by logical necessity. Their imperfection creates desires that are generated by their imperfect character and leads them to be necessarily unsavable. These are people God can never save in this world, so he doesn't try to. This distribution of savability/unsavability occurs out of people God creates, so he can't cheat by only creating savable people. Also, this ratio is out of all the people God will ever create, and not out of people born, let's say, every hundred years. God allocates savable and unsavable people into history according to his will.

If God gives everyone a choice to go to heaven and hell, then why do some people go to hell if they can avoid it?

It is true God does give everyone a choice to go to heaven and hell, and this choice is always available for anyone to make in this life or the next. However, heaven entails a cost and hell is not as bad as it's made out to be, which is why some people choose freely to go to hell. As mentioned, because of the necessary imperfection of any being outside of God, our characters have to be joined with the Holy Spirit in some deep way to live with God in a perfect community forever, otherwise we'd remain flawed and sinful. However, given our fundamental imperfection, this necessarily entails losing a huge amount of autonomy under God's complete sovereignty. Hell is not painful, but consists of neither joy nor pain. Given this, many people rationally choose to exist in a limbo-like state forever rather than lose a significant amount of autonomy. This is how some people end up in hell. Finally, some atheists might say they would accept the loss of autonomy to go to heaven, but no one can really imagine what this involves (how serious it is) given that we have no experience with such a thing, and it's a deep internal kind of choice, so it's quite possible they're wrong.

If people choose to go to heaven or hell, then why is belief in Christ so important?

Belief in Christ is important because it is perfectly correlated with the choice to go to heaven in the afterlife and join with the Holy Spirit, and rejection of Christ is perfectly correlated with choosing to go to hell. Why exactly does God make belief in Christ so important? I don't know, but there is no reason to suppose that there may not be some important reason why, given the rest of the theology I will outline, and making it not important wouldn't help him achieve his aims in any way.

Why didn't God create us originally in heaven?

As mentioned, every intelligent being that is not God, or connected to God in some way is imperfect, as a matter of logical (inherent) necessity. The first problem with this objection is that heaven is God's presence, and any imperfection cannot exist in God's presence, but has to be at a distance from God. So since God has to create imperfect, God cannot create any intelligent being in heaven. The second problem with this objection is that there are also severe difficulties for God with making everyone perfect so that they can enter heaven later. People experience their necessary imperfection in different ways, and only a minority experience this necessary imperfection in a way that doesn't prevent them from accepting God's grace and being saved (which as we saw involves accepting a significant loss in autonomy.)

Why does evolutionary evil exist, which existed before sin?

Because God was logically limited in having to create imperfect people, he had to create humans imperfect. If it's plausible that every being God creates has to be slightly imperfect, then it's possible to extend that beyond creatures to moral experiences of realities, by saying that moral realities also have to be created somewhat imperfect. That obviously leads to the conclusion there would have to be some 'background' imperfection in any reality God creates which equals evil in reality, which is a perfect fit for many years of suffering by animals before sin.

Why does natural evil, which is not related to moral evil, exist?

As mentioned above, since we're all necessarily imperfect, our moral experience of reality is also imperfect. Ah, but then one might say, this implies a very limited God, who is so ineffectual he must allow tsunamis. Not so. God can eliminate evil, but only by fixing our imperfection. But, unless he makes someone a robot, he can only fix the imperfection of the people who can and will choose to be saved, which comprises a minority of people God creates. He can't get around this by creating only savable people, because the distribution of character traits is out of created beings. Therefore God allows evil for a greater good, the creation of a lot of savable persons, which necessarily entails natural evil. [This paragraph's ideas are more recent than the article referenced.]

That may explain natural evil, but what about spectacularly evil freely willed events like genocide?

As mentioned, God has to allow a certain amount of evil in our reality because of our necessary imperfection, and has to allow it in the world as long as unsavable people exist in it. Now, this may explain natural evil. But it may also explain any kind of moral evil. Consider, does God have a choice about where the natural evil falls? It seems likely he would have that discretion. So for example, God could choose instead of a thousand people dying of a heart attack early in their lives, that a natural disaster could happen in some country. But it seems to me, one way of redistributing evil according to his ineffable plan might be to give much more authority to do evil to certain humans than he should ordinarily in any right frame of mind. So in other words, allowing a massacre to happen doesn't increase the total amount of evil humanity experiences. Rather, God gives evil people the authority to accomplish horrible, evil things to fulfill that 'evil quotient', the evil of which would, necessarily, have happened anyway, in this case by some means other than natural evil, to fulfill whatever his mysterious plan is.

Why does God hide himself?

This argument is obviously based as a core assumption on the idea that there is some reason for God not to hide himself. But in considering the theology here outlined I think this premise is entirely questionable. First of all, it won't save one extra person. It's not a matter of beliefs that determine whether you are saved - you're either saved or not depending on whether you make up the minority or majority of people God creates who are savable or unsavable. And God can save those people entirely well without appearing to anyone, just by making them believe by sheer force of omnipotence if he wants. So it won't save one extra person. Nor will it help deal with evil - we have evil in reality, of all kinds natural moral and evolutionary, because people are imperfect, and that can only be fixed once the savable and unsavable people are separated forever and the savable people made perfect. Appearing to people won't help make any person savable who isn't and so won't help deal with evil. So in the end, why would God make himself obvious? Plus there is another consideration. Let us say having a Christian belief enforces the choice to be saved. Therefore if there were people who believed in Christianity, but who didn't want to choose to be saved (which involves a huge loss of autonomy to overcome our necessary imperfection), their free will would be violated. So there is no positive reason, and at least one negative reason, for God not to become divinely apparent.

Why did God create anything knowing all the evil that would result?

A basic premise of the free will defense, or any defense to the problem of evil, is that a good being, even a perfect being, is free to allow evil if that evil is a necessary though unfortunate byproduct to achieving an even greater good. An example often offered is moral evil being an unfortunate consequence of free will. So there is nothing essentially impossible about God creating humans knowing all the evil that would befall us if he had good enough reasons. My answer to this is that in regards to people ending up in hell, people who go to hell freely choose to go there over heaven, and so God can't be faulted because that's their own choice (see previous answers.) Regarding horribly evil natural, moral, and evolutionary events, I believe we can give a good answer to those problems, as described in this document.

Why did God allow the Fall?

As mentioned earlier, God had to create any creature that he created imperfect, because of a necessary limitation on his power. Therefore God did the best he could, but the Fall must have been, I think, inevitable.

If God knows what we will do before we do it, how can we freely choose?

This argument falls prey to a modal fallacy, which is that 'will' doesn't equal 'must'. I.e. the fact that I 'will' do something doesn't mean that I 'must' do something. No matter how certain the 'will' is, it still remains 'will' and not 'must'. A second answer can be seen below.

How is free will possible given determinism issues?

Some philosophers have defended free will based on our strong instincts that libertarian free will exists. I prefer to say that our libertarian instincts are the result of internal protection mechanisms that are used in the human mind to tell whether someone else's action is 'agent' based or 'originates outside the agent'. It is an evolutionary mechanism. So free will may not exist in the libertarian sense. I have a compatibilist view of free will which I think works with Christian beliefs.

How exactly does a single sin - excluding the salvation given by Christ's work on the cross, damn one to hell for eternity?

I think sin should be conceived in two senses in which a single sin could damn one to hell for eternity. In the first sense, if you commit a sin, then you show yourself to be imperfect, and an imperfect person cannot live in a community with perfect individuals for eternity without causing hurt and pain and contributing to the breakdown of that system. So if you show yourself to be imperfect by sinning, then God will not let you into heaven unless you can be made perfect because you will be a danger to whatever community is there that is perfect. The second sense of sin I would use is that sin may not be a 'guilt' process, but more like an 'inevitability' process. Sin is kind of like getting the Ebola virus. It doesn't matter how you get it, if you get 'sin', you die spiritually. It isn't a matter of retribution of right and wrong - people who sin simply die. Under this view, whenever you sin you catch spiritual 'Ebola' and without Christ's work on the cross you die spiritually.

How does the atonement work?

I think that Christ does substitute for us on the cross, but this isn't a moral substitution, but just plain old substitution, in line with the point above. 'Past deeds sin', the 'inevitability process' I talk about, isn't a judgement from God but is more like catching the Ebola virus: if you sin you die. If sin isn't moral, but is like in some ways catching a fatal disease, then you can substitute it unlike with moral crimes. On the cross, all of our sins, that should have caused us to die spiritually were put on Christ. To do this, it is necessary to have a connection with Christ, which is the free acceptance of Christ as saviour. Those who don't wish to go to heaven when they die (as mentioned above, accepting the costs of heaven in loss of autonomy) never gain belief in Christ in this life and hence die spiritually.

Why doesn't God our answer our prayers if he loves us?

If God doesn't answer our prayers and it isn't related to an evil, then it's possible God may simply have his reasons. But there is a problem regarding prayers relating to evil, because it seems God should intervene for that. The answer is that if you accept my explanation for evil (natural and moral) mentioned above, then you accept that there is a certain amount of evil that must exist in the world as part of our necessary imperfection affecting reality. No matter what God does, God cannot reduce the quantity of natural evil in the world without removing our imperfection, which he won't do because that would mean forcing us to be perfect by accepting the Holy Spirit which is a violation of free will. Nor can he only create savable people because the form of the imperfection is out of the people that God creates. This doesn't mean God can't help us, it means that God can't reduce the amount of total (natural and moral) evil in the world. So when you pray, you are essentially asking God to redirect natural evil from one location to another, from e.g. someone to someone else. Given this limitation on God, God is understandably reluctant to answer our prayers regarding natural evil because it simply redirects evil rather than eliminates it. This explains God's reluctance for miracles.

Isn't the concept of God contradictory for XYZ reason?

Arguments the concept of God is self-contradictory in some way rests on a definitional fallacy. The basic idea of God is the 'greatest conceivable being' and it seems to make a lot of sense that the greatest conceivable being could have many attributes of a God, at least to me. So then why do people say that one attribute contradicts another? By defining the greatest possible being as having X attribute, which necessarily contradicts Y attribute. But wait a second - why must X attribute be defined in such a way that it is contradictory? The problem with these arguments is that they beg the question by defining the attributes in ways that raise problems, or are contradictory. The fact is, that in philosophy no definition is ever really very good about any question fundamental to philosophy, and the definition of God is no exception. If we can't even define what 'good' and 'evil' are, how on earth are we going to be able to define correctly the attributes of God? Basically, if we don't know how to define things well in philosophy, and if our definitions of God don't work very well, then that's probably a problem with the definitions, not God.

Why does the scripture contain mistakes in it if God has every reason to author it perfect?

This is an interesting question and I have no definite answer as yet. But I might point out that although it's very confusing as to why God would allow mistakes in the Bible, it's not impossible that there may be a reason for it. This is a subject of continuing research for me. Plus, it should be noted that if my answers above to problems of hell in Christianity are valid, then no one loses their faith because of the scripture, but because their necessary imperfection ultimately takes form in a certain way (see above).

Monday, July 02, 2007

Evolutionary Evil

Evolutionary Evil
Will G

What Is Evolutionary Evil and Why Is It A Problem?

There is quite a large difference between natural evil, like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and unpreventable diseases, and natural evil that has nothing to do with humans and cannot plausibly be related to humans in any way. This post concerns animal suffering that cannot be related to humans or humans' existence, because it existed before humans existed or before humans sinned. Although many philosophers would also classify that as natural evil, I am making a distinction here between human related and non-human related evil.

Evolutionary evil is a problem distinct from natural evil, because evolutionary evil existed before the Fall of Mankind, which is described in Genesis, and thus existed before, and exists independent of, any evil that humans have done, including sinning for the first time. Thus evolutionary evil seems to exist without humans doing anything to bring down any judgement on either humanity or the animal kingdom. This is puzzling. If evil existed before humans, and before the Fall, before the first human sin, then why would God create a world with evil in it before any sin?

Creationists have an easy answer to the problem of evolutionary evil - it never existed, and there is no evil apart from natural evil. Evil came into the world through the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden and from nothing else. This explanation is a complete refutation of evolutionary evil, since obviously if evolution didn't happen, then you can't have evolutionary evil. Since I don't believe in creationism, the task for me is to explain why God created evil before any sin, before humanity's Fall, since it is so strange and inexplicable from any Christian perspective as to why God would allow evil in reality before sin.

Must Some Evil Necessarily Exist?

One response to evil I have lately come to appreciate as being particularly effective has been to argue that God is limited in creating morally perfect creatures outside himself. This approach, which I discuss here, is to basically say that apart from being unable to do some logically impossible things like make 2+2=5, God is limited by other logical limits. This is not to argue that God is logically limited in some ways, and is also limited in non-logical ways, because that would imply God is restricted from doing more than what is logically impossible. What I mean to say is, that if we understood reality and our own concepts better, we would know that just like making 2+2=5 is logically impossible, these other limitations on God are logically impossible in a similar way. It's just that due to our lack of understanding about logic and necessary concepts of God, or God's nature, or what-have-you, we don't immediately grasp why God cannot create perfect beings outside himself. But this limitation does exist.

Now, I have no evidence from the Bible that God cannot create perfect characters outside himself, but why not if it doesn't undermine Christianity to say this, or any Christian doctrine, and also is possible from our perspective? What I am doing is limiting God more than others have limited him, but unlike some others, like process theologians, my limitations actually don't interfere with Christian theology. So it doesn't hurt my faith to believe that God cannot create perfect characters outside himself, as long as we can be perfected in the future by receiving the Holy Spirit, which connects us to God. It also is possibly true since we don't know that much about God except in a very intuitive and Biblical sense and for all we know these strange logical limits do exist. I mainly take this route because it is possible and helps explain why a lot of evil exists.

Based on this perspective, I would say that God is logically limited in creating perfect creatures outside himself, which explains why there is any moral imperfection in any creature at all, because God would definitely try as hard as possible to create creatures with perfect characters. The question is, can this be applied to God also being limited in having to create evil in any universe he makes that could be plausibly described as evolutionary evil?

The next step of my argument would be to apply the idea that God is logically limited in creating perfect characters, to somehow argue that any reality God creates must contain some evil, as a matter of logical necessity.

For one thing, I find it plausible if we're allowing a limitation that God cannot create perfect characters, that we might, via the same kind of thinking, believe that any reality God creates has to be imperfect but with experience as opposed to character. Like with morally flawed characters, you somehow get a morally flawed experience - a reality containing suffering. That would explain evolutionary evil, since any universe God creates must contain some 'background' evil, which is explainable as evolutionary evil.

Another explanation could be that the reality of all creatures is determined by their moral goodness, so since any creatures God creates are slightly morally imperfect, their reality is slightly morally imperfect. This is panentheistic, an approach I touch on in this article here. In this panentheistic view, the structure of reality is determined by the minds of the people inhabiting it - reality is fundamentally like an idea. And because of our moral badness, and the fact that reality ultimately is contained in God, then our reality possesses imperfections in it which come across to us as evil. So when God created Adam and Eve (or the original humans) they were slightly morally imperfect and hence their reality contained a slight amount of evil - let's say evolutionary evil, as a background thing.

A third explanation would be that just not being in God's presence leads to a small amount of evil in reality, since being away from God's presence leads to suffering inherently, for creatures made in the image of God, and we have to be away from God's presence because of our necessary imperfection. Our necessary imperfection explains why we cannot 'live with God' and inhabit a world without any evil, either now (natural evil) or in its past (evolutionary evil.)

Whatever the answer, I take as valid the idea that God is logically limited in creating some evil in any reality that he creates, regardless of whether any creatures in that reality have sinned. So when God created our universe, to place humans in it, he necessarily had to create it slightly imperfect with some evolutionary evil, which is the background evil we observe, which is the long history of animals suffering by evolution up until now. This is my basic theory in this essay.

Given this theory, there are some questions.

Problem 1: Isn't There A Bit Too Much Evolutionary Evil for This to Work?

Now, in this idea, just like God is logically limited in creating perfect characters outside himself (i.e. any character that is not God or connected with God is slightly imperfect) so God is limited in creating a perfect reality without any suffering. Now, if you recall my original article here detailing why God can't create perfect characters, I said that God can create characters that are *very* good, but not absolutely perfect. In other words, Adam and Eve or the original humans were 99.999% good, but very slightly evil, just enough evil to lead to the Fall of humanity. But if you apply the same kind of standard to a moral experience of reality, then it is obvious that nature is not 99.999% good, but is in fact 'red in tooth and claw' (Mill) and is filled with all kinds of evil of animals inflicting pain on another animals. So even though hypothetically my explanation might work to explain why there might be some evil in any reality God creates, it does not explain the vast scope of evolutionary evil.

One response to this is to say that once you remove from God an absolute burden to prevent evil, that is, once we're speaking in terms of proportions of evil to good in the world rather than God preventing all evil or not existing, then the situation could change radically. One issue with the problem of evil is that any gratuitous evil at all spells the necessary nonexistence of God because a good God would prevent any unnecessary evil. But we see here how a small amount of gratuitous evil might be necessary, so it is no longer a question 'Why would a good God create a world with evil in it' the question is 'Why is the proportion of good to evil so small?' But is it small? Consider all the good experiences in your life versus all the bad experiences of your life. Most people would surely have vastly more good than bad, as recorded as individual units of contentedness and pain measured somehow. For animals, years of peacefully grazing for a gazelle is not outweighed by one minute of pursuit by a predator and a quick death. And many animals cannot experience pain, or not to the extent certainly of humans. See a very good article on this here by Glenn Miller. I think that we have a bias in thinking there is really much more evil in the world than there actually is, because evil is so horrible we tend to remember it more than good things, but ironically this is that case because evil is so rare. Just like the way people think the world is going to hell in a handbasket by reading the daily paper, when in fact people in the world have generally never been better off and society is actually going OK.

A second response would be to say, so? Maybe God is logically limited not in creating creatures 99.999% perfect, but maybe let's say, 90% perfect, much less perfect. We really don't know. It could be true that the necessary imperfection is actually quite significant.

I take it that these two responses offer good possibilities to rebut this point.

Problem 2: How Does This Fit in with the Fall?

Now, under this explanation it seems you could explain a certain amount of evolutionary, or 'background' evil in reality, before and independent of any sin by any creature. But then what if you factor in an actual Fall as well - an actual sin by a creature and Fall by humanity? Under this model, it would seem to be the case that there would be a massive increase in evil in the world with the Fall of humanity. But actually, animals are not any worse of, if evolution is to be believed, after the Fall, whenever that happened, because there's still just as much animal suffering now as 500,000 years ago. So why doesn't the Fall lead to more evil for animals?

I think we probably can explain how the amount of evil in reality went up significantly after the Fall, but not its directionality - i.e., only towards humans. Evil in the universe went up significantly because evil suffered by humans is much, much greater than evil suffered by animals, even for the same physical happening. For instance, an animal caught in a bear trap might suffer 100 units of evil, whereas a human caught in a bear trap, because of our greater cognitive ability, our intelligence, etc., suffers more units of evil. So after the Fall, for whatever reason, the amount of natural evil in the world did actually increase massively, because for the first time humans began to experience great amounts of natural evil. Instead of natural disasters not affecting humans, they started to affect humans greatly. But why did all this new evil only affect humans and not make life more painful for animals? I don't really know, the best I can say is that's just a property of the Fall for whatever reason. On this point, I'm strongly inclined to say it's not a judgement from God but is just something that has to happen. Somehow, as a result of the Fall, we began to experience what animals had been experiencing until then, and the reason why is contained in a much fuller understanding of the Fall.

Problem 3: How Is It Necessary from My Argument That The Universe Be 14 Billion Years Old?

What I have hoped to establish here is an argument for why God would have to allow a certain amount of 'background', which I understand to be 'evolutionary', evil in any reality he creates for intelligent creatures. This is a good thing if true for understanding why God allowed evil in our reality without humans sinning. However, does it explain why the universe is 14 billion years old, which science indicates it is?

Consider, under my explanation all that is necessary in terms of evil is that God creates the world and has to allow a certain amount of suffering in it. But why would he create that world in 14 billion years rather than 6 or so days? Why not create the world in 6 days, and let humans live in bliss with low levels of animal suffering relative to animal happiness, until the Fall? In other words, there is no necessity in my view that the world be as old as it is, although it is necessary in my view that it contains the same good/evil ratio under either model of God's creating, with or without evolution.

One answer to this problem I might suggest, is that this objection/question is irrelevant. The point is - why does pre-Fall evil exist. The question of how long that pre-Fall evil has existed for, 6 days plus the length of time before the Fall, or 14 billion years, is irrelevant, because no less or greater evil results from creating the universe quickly or slowly. And since the amount of evil relative to good would be the same however long God took to create the universe, then we may in this instance, since there is no real problem of evil, simply shrug our shoulders and say, well, there may be an explanation. Not knowing this explanation know doesn't matter that much, because we know that however long God took, the world would still contain the same amount of evil, so we can be released from the obligation of having to come up with an explanation in this instance and refer the matter to the mysterious ways of God.

Another response might be to say, as a very sketchy explanation, that actually it makes more sense for God to take a very long time to create the universe, with very many generations of animals, in order to create more happiness overall if there is more good than bad in such a world for animals. Now, given the imperfection argument, you cannot eliminate all evil in reality, but you can ensure a very high ratio of goodness to evil. So from God's point of view, it is justified to create a universe with necessary evil because perhaps one gazelle peacefully grazing for all its life would rather live and experience that joy even though it experienced a few minutes of being killed by a predator much later on. This makes sense, I believe. I mean, if you have 99 seconds of happiness for one second without happiness, I believe that most people would rather enjoy those 99 seconds if they have to experience not being happy for that one second. So in other words, it's a very profitable transaction for God, from the perspective of happiness, to create an animal world with more good than bad overall, and prolong it for a long time. I mean, it's like investing in a company. If you invest a certain amount of money in a company, and you get a high return, then it stands to reason if you had much more money you'd do the same thing for an even greater return. So just like the investor massively expands the amount of his investment if he is sure he will receive a more profitable return - in order to make that return much greater, so God massively expands the experience of animals in the universe by making the universe older, because he is sure he will receive a profitable return on animal happiness, that is, there is more good than bad in the animal world. So maybe a universe that is 14 billion years old has much greater absolute levels of happiness, than a universe that is only 6 days old.


This is an interesting exercise in a hypothetical theodicy for evolutionary evil. Although, at this stage, I think this article is very speculative, it may be that it can be used to create a sound defense against the existence of evolutionary evil in the world.

I should also note as an addendum, that I think if you could explain evolutionary evil under a Christian worldview, then one of the two great reasons why Christians don't like the theory of evolution could be effectively rebutted, which is that evolution does imply an evil God in a sense, as a God who creates life in a process involving great suffering. The other objection to evolution from Christianity of course being, that scriptural inerrancy seems to imply a non-evolutionary view.


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