Philosophy; Religion; Science
Why does God permit suffering in the world? If God is wholly good, omnipotent, and omniscient, why would He not intervene to prevent us from suffering? These are questions that pertain to the problem of evil: how to reconcile the existence of God with the evil occurrences of this world, without sacrificing any of His divine attributes. The most potent version of the problem of evil is a recent formulation known as the evidential argument from evil. The evidential argument states that while the existence of God is not logically incompatible with the fact that there are evil occurrences, there are particular instances of suffering that lower the probability that God exists altogether. In the most noteworthy formulation of the evidential argument, William Rowe designates these particular instances of suffering as gratuitous suffering: any sort of unnecessary or pointless suffering that a being could undergo and which serves no greater good. Rowe declares that gratuitous suffering counts as evidence against the existence of God. I intend to offer an explanatory defense of God in light of Rowe’s evidential argument from evil. I will contend that no suffering is gratuitous and that Rowe’s argument is unsound.