Darwin and the Problem of Evil
"Why is Chavonne suffering?"
“Why does God allow such suffering in the world?”
Christians (minus the great theologians and philosophers) have sometimes offered very ethereal answers to the questions above. At its ugliest, individuals try to search their own or others' hearts to discover what they have done wrong which allowed for such suffering in the first place. This is the wrong track. The whole moral of the book of Job is that some things happen that are no fault of our own.
It is true that suffering can result from our actions. If you spit into a strong wind, you are likely to get some on yourself. But you do not need to look to God for an extra bolt of lightning along with it. 😊
When Darwin initially solved the frontier of biology with Evolution, he ended up offering Christians a gift (And much earlier Occam helped here too). The gift is that we do not need to look for spiritual causation as to the “why’s” of all the bad things that happen in the world. Why did Levy get cancer? The answer is not, “Because God is punishing him.” Rather, it is something like, “his cells were taken over by an invasive disease?”
Why did Gelissa get into a car accident? Simply because someone ran a red light. End of discussion! The causation trail really can end in the natural and then push us to bigger and broader philosophical solutions to why reality is this way in the first place. That broader question is still worth reflecting, and next week I write about that.
Until then, Christians could be grateful to Darwin for this contribution that causational based explanation ends in the natural.
If you are interested in exploring Darwin’s gift some more, I want to encourage you to pick up the book “Darwin’s Gift” by Francisco Ayala. Ayala is a Biologist and is also a believer.