All creation groans : a theodicy for suffering animals.


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Philosophers and theologians have long tried to reconcile belief in a perfect God with the fact of widespread, horrific, and seemingly pointless suffering. However, relatively little thought has been given to animal suffering, which, though perhaps less significant than human suffering, nevertheless raises serious questions about God’s goodness. Many of the reasons given for why God allows human suffering do not seem to apply to animals. Their suffering (in this life at least) does not teach them any profound lessons, facilitate moral development, or draw them closer to God. Indeed, the thought that God is responsible for the world and all its miseries—that he made a world full of natural disasters, famine, diseases, and predation, that he seems utterly indifferent to the suffering of innocent animals—tends to provoke a sense of moral protest. This dissertation will develop and attempt to answer two arguments against God, each based on moral outrage at animal suffering. I will discuss some of the commonly-given reasons why God would create a harsh world like ours, rather than a more idyllic one and why God allows particularly horrific evils that do not seem to serve any good purpose. While some of these insights help calm my moral outrage somewhat, I will argue that they are unsuccessful by themselves. Thus, I conclude that if God is loving and if God is worthy of faith and worship, then there is good reason to think that God will redeem animal suffering in heaven.



Animal suffering, Problem of evil, Theodicy