Alexander Pruss's Blog: The blink of an eye response to the problem of evil

Alexander Pruss's Blog: The blink of an eye response to the problem of evil

I want to confess something: I do not find the problem of evil compelling. I think to myself: Here, during the blink of an eye, there are horrendous things happening. But there is infinitely long life afterwards if God exists. For all we know, the horrendous things are just a blip in these infinitely long lives. And it just doesn’t seem hard to think that over an infinite future that initial blip could be justified, redeemed, defeated, compensated for with moral adequacy, sublated, etc.
It sounds insensitive to talk of the horrors that people live through as a blip. But a hundred years really is the blink of an eye in the face of eternity.
Wouldn’t we expect a perfect being to make the initial blink of an eye perfect, too? Maybe. But even if so, we would only expect it to be perfect as a beginning to an infinite life that we know next to nothing about. And it is hard to see how we would know what is perfect as a beginning to such a life.
This sounds like sceptical theism. But unlike the sceptical theist, I also think the standard theodicies—soul building, laws of nature, free will, etc.—are basically right. They each attempt to justify God’s permission of some or all evils by reference to things that are indeed good: the gradual building up of a soul, the order of the universe, a rightful autonomy, etc. They all have reasonable stories about how the permission of the evils is needed for these goods. There is, in mind, only one question about these theodicies: Are these goods worth paying such a terrible price, the price of allowing these horrors?But in the face of an eternal future, I think the question of price fades ......
Here is an interesting response to the problem of evil. Certainly, humans don't look at "good" as always a total absence of any "pain". For instance, sacrifice is not considered an evil but a good; hard-work is praised as a good and not as an evil. But, when it comes to a much greater recompense of good that is done (be it the good of enduring pain to do something noble), the future glory infinitely outweighs the present pain.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Rom 8:18,19)
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Co 4:17-18)
See Also:
The Problem of Evil as Evil
The Problem of Evil


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