Theodicy: the 'good' view of viruses (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, November 12, 2021, 08:17 (15 days ago) @ David Turell

Under “sensing autonomic activity

DAVID: But all the errors are molecular!!! I fully believe God produced the only system that can work and produce life. Bad actors in bacteria and viruses are 'bad' when acting in the wrong places, part of the freedom of action they have.

dhw: Why must I repeat the fact that the problem of theodicy is not confined to molecules, or even to bad viruses and bacteria? Some of us regard natural disasters as “bad”, animals killing others for food, the cut-throat struggle for survival, self-interest culminating perhaps in all the “bad” we humans get up to - theft, murder, rape, war… How could a first-cause, all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing God have created a system that he knew would lead to all of this "bad"?

DAVID: 'Bad' is a human interpretation of facts. Animals have to kill each other to eat. Animals like humans have free will. God did not want automatons. Without earthquakes no continental subduction, no life. You don't recognize the trade outs to have Earth like it is. Lightning kills but those storms produce needed rain. I could go on. Humans can handle these challenges and that is enough. How do you know God is all-good? I don't.

With your various posts, you have now offered various possible answers to the problem of theodicy, which asks why an all-good, all-powerful God created a world full of what we call bad. Here are your answers: 1) We should focus on the good and not the bad. 2) What we call “bad” might not be bad. 3) The all-powerful God could not control the bad caused by his system, hard though he tried. 4) He is not all-good.

My own suggestion, for what it's worth, is that (assuming he exists, of course) the all-powerful God deliberately designed a system whereby at all levels - ranging from their responses to changing conditions (resulting in evolution) to human free will - all life forms had the ability to work out their own destiny. (But he could dabble if he wished.) The outcome is the higgledy-piggledy history of evolution, and many of those features of life which we consider to be bad and which have arisen inevitably from the self-interest which governs the fight for survival. Like you some of the time - when you are not harping on about his good intentions - I would not touch on whether he himself is what we would call "good".

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