42. Why does God allow animals to suffer?

Cat eating birdThe Bible doesn’t say too much about why God created animals, other than to say he did, and gave mankind dominion over them (Genesis 1:26). Whatever his reasons, God obviously chose not to spare animals from pain and suffering. Why?

Human suffering vs. animal suffering

In many ways, the problem of animal suffering is even more problematic than the problem of human suffering, because many of the standard explanations offered for why humans suffer are worthless when applied to animals.

For example, Christians often say that humans suffer as a consequence of sin, and because we are all sinners. But the animals never sinned against God, and thus they should not be punished as if they share our guilt. They seem to suffer only as collateral damage in a conflict between man and God.

Other Christians say suffering must exist in order for humans to experience the full extent of free will, but what is free will to an animal?

And still other Christians reason that it’s okay that humans suffer, because God will reward us eternally in heaven, but what eternal reward awaits animals?

Is God guilty of animal cruelty?

What is perhaps most alarming about animal suffering is just how many diseases and defects are endemic to specific kinds of animals. It’s as if predation and accidents alone were not enough suffering, so God had to design specialized bacteria, viruses, parasites, and diseases to multiply the suffering of animals.

Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour DiseaseTake, for example, the Tasmanian Devil discussed earlier. Even at birth, poor design ensures that his odds of dying outnumber his odds of surviving. But those that do survive are more than likely to contract Devil Facial Tumour Disease, a fatal contagious cancer that causes large growths on the devil’s face, making it difficult for them to eat or see, and putting the entire species at risk of extinction.

Why? What his this innocent animal done to offend God? Did its ancestors partake of the forbidden fruit? Does its suffering help to increase its faith? Or help it to experience the full extent of free will?

If God created this world for humans, why include the animals in our suffering?

Can we trust a God who abuses animals?

The fact that innocent animals suffer through no fault of their own should be very disconcerting to the faithful, for if God is willing to allow the innocent to suffer, why should we believe he will reward the guilty?

If the innocent are made to suffer without cause, then God cannot be benevolent, because a benevolent God would never allow suffering that wasn’t absolutely necessary. The believer is in the unenviable position of having to explain why a good God has chosen to extend human suffering to innocent animals, and believers have come up with several justifications.

“Animals don’t feel pain!”

17th-century Catholic philosopher René Descartes once argued that animals were just like machines, that did not feel pain because they did not have a spiritual mind (an idea that later became widely accepted).

Modern theistic philosophers like Michael Murray still argue that animals cannot feel pain at the same level humans do because they lack self-awareness (a highly controversial philosophy).

Dog

Professor Bernard Rollin disagrees, and facetiously recommends that anyone who denies animals feel pain should test their hypothesis by using a pair of vice grips to squeeze the balls of a large doberman.

While animals can’t tell us directly that they feel pain, it can be inferred by their similar reactions to it. If you’ve ever accidentally stepped on a dog’s toes or tail, you know they respond to pain. Animals vocalize their pain, they withdraw from it, and they will even change their behavior to avoid it. Animals can also experience the opposite of pain, like a dog who enjoys having his belly rubbed.

We can also infer that animals suffer pain because they share much of the same anatomy and neurological makeup as humans, and they even respond positively to the same pain relievers we use. These similarities make it obvious that animals do feel pain, and there are numerous peer-reviewed studies that have reached the same conclusion.

Speaking from personal experience, I once witnessed a dog get run over by a car. He laid there in the street, yowling in agony for several minutes (in much the same way a human would). I can’t imagine looking at this dog and saying, “That dog didn’t really experience pain because he has no soul!” or “That would’ve been significantly more painful had he been self-aware!” No matter the degree, that dog was clearly capable of suffering. And for all we know, not being self-aware may even make pain more confusing and stressful.

“Maybe animals go to heaven.”

Many Christian theologians have already ruled out this possibility:

“Our souls are rational–theirs aren’t–and ours are rational because they’re spiritual, not material.”
Catholic.com

“…if the word ‘soul’ is used to refer to an immortal soul that one day will inhabit heaven or hell, then no, animals may not be said to possess a soul. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn, respecting the instruction on the subject found within the Word of God.”
ApologeticsPress.org

And the Bible does seem to segregate men from the animals:

Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.
1 Corinthians 15:39

But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.
2 Peter 2:12

So it doesn’t seem to matter that a 40-year-old chimpanzee is much smarter and has suffered longer than a 3-day-old baby, if they both die, it’s the human that goes to heaven, and the chimpanzee that “perishes.”

But what if animals did go to heaven?

tumblr_kr2tk66FEH1qzmd3ao1_500_large

Just for kicks, let’s imagine that’ the case. This raises a lot of interesting questions, like: Do all animals go to heaven? Elephants? Horses? Apes? Chimps? Dogs? Cats? Snakes? Rats? Birds? Mice? Mosquitoes? Ants? Gnats? Plants? Amoebas? Bacteria? Or does God draw the line somewhere?

If single celled organisms are allowed into heaven, do all the cells that make up my body go to heaven? Or just the soul they hosted? (Because they have served me well, and I think they deserve a vacation from all my abuse.)

If single celled organisms are not allowed into heaven, how many cells must an animal have before it does qualify for heaven? 10? 1000? 1,000,000?

Or perhaps it’s not a matter of cell count, but intelligence. If that’s the case, is that 40-year-old chimpanzee worth more to God than the 3-day-old baby?

AnglerfishAnd what about ocean life? Do whales and dolphins go to heaven? How about fish? Even ugly fish? Like the anglerfish? Or do ugly fish go to hell? Does heaven have an ocean for these occupants? Or do they just float around us in heaven? Even the ugly ones? Because I don’t want ugly fish floating around me in heaven.

What about extinct animals? Will heaven be filled with friendly t-rexs, pteradons, and trilobites?

And finally, even if all animals did go to heaven, no amount of heavenly reparations could ever change the fact that what God did to them was wrong. If a man murders a child, no amount of apologies or reparations will ever justify his murder, the act will always be wrong. Even if we come to forgive the murderer, that doesn’t mean we think murdering children is okay — his actions were still wrong, and they forever will be. Likewise, even if all the animals forgive God for torturing them when they were not guilty, it will always be wrong for God to have done so.

Allowing animals into heaven may help us feel better about their suffering, but it’s not Biblical, and it seems to raise more issues than it solves. And even if God did allow animals into heaven, it doesn’t change the fact that what God did was wrong.

“Humans need animals.”

The majority of animals don’t need to exist to ensure human survival. If life was perfect for animals in Eden, God could’ve left most of them there after evicting Adam.

But even assuming humans can’t exist without animals (and God was unable to design any other alternative), this still doesn’t explain why God didn’t just design all animals as herbivores, to limit their suffering (and constant fear of being hunted). It also doesn’t explain why he would choose to inflict additional kinds of diseases upon them.

“Animals should just be grateful that God didn’t make things worse.”

There is a Calvinistic idea that animals, like humans, are basically deprived creatures that should feel lucky that God shows them any grace at all. But I would argue that God’s benevolence obligates him to extend grace, especially to his innocent creations.

The argument of last resort

Finally, when all else fails, the believer can still claim there is an explanation, even if we don’t know what it is. This reasoning sounds like this:

We do know that God is just and that when we get to heaven we will find ourselves in complete agreement with His decision on this issue, whatever it may be.
GotQuestions.org

This is like saying, “Never mind that God’s actions seem nonsensical and cruel, just keep believing! And when you die, you’ll find there really was a good reason for all those animals to suffer, just as there really was a good reason for God to allow children to be raped and murdered! There’s no absurdity God can’t explain away!”

As I’ve said before, if we accept that all nonsense can be explained away in the afterlife, then all religions become equally viable, since all their absurdities (the reasons we have come to denounce them) can also be explained away in the afterlife.

Conclusion

I can only imagine a couple scenarios in which one might justify the suffering of animals, but both are problematic.

1) Animals don’t actually suffer. If animal suffering is an illusion, then God has mislead us with a deception. And why would God deceive us?

2) Animals deserve to suffer. Since animals can’t intentionally do evil, the only plausible explanation is to suppose that before they were animals, they had the mental capacity to sin. But if animals don’t have immortal souls, this doesn’t seem very likely (and most Christians don’t believe in reincarnation).

Dead baby gorillaIf God exists, he appears to be a sadist, for he creates suffering for no other reason than it brings him pleasure. God was not forced to design animals, or to give them the capacity to suffer, or to design predation or specialized bacteria or viruses or parasites… but he did.

Still… we don’t know what we don’t know, and God may have a good explanation. Assuming he does, he is still guilty of placing us in a deceptive environment, one that leads us to conclude he is evil, for only an evil creator would torture the innocent. We only know what we know, and what God has given us to know is a creation that that bares false witness against its “benevolent” creator, which again would lead us to conclude that God is malevolent.

If there is no God, the fact that animals suffer is nature’s testimony to the fact that nature does not distinguish between humans and animal. Nature has no mind to respect one and curse the other, they are all the same.

Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals.
~Ecclesiastes 3:19

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452 Responses to 42. Why does God allow animals to suffer?

  1. Anonymous says:

    There is no god.

    • Charles McGrath says:

      Then you must be a god to know such a thing.

      • There is no Tooth Fairy.

        • Charles McGrath says:

          What’s that got to do with the reliability of the bible as God’s revelation of Himself through redemptive history for those who really want to know Him?

          • Hi Charles,

            There is no way to disprove the existence of the tooth fairy, just as there is no way to disprove the existence of God. But just as you can reasonably deduce there is no tooth fairy (without being a god), you can do likewise for God.

            How? Well, for starters, we know that humans have a long history of inventing gods to explain various events. Humans write fantastic stories about these gods, and these stories have the power to compel millions to believe in made-up gods.

            If this is the NORM, we should assume the Jewish God is no different. He too was forged through storytelling, and defended with excuses (like being invisible, or having an irrational need for his followers to believe without any evidence).

            We can also look at all the contrary evidence, such as the unnecessary cruelty played out upon innocent people an animals, and assume that this God must not exist, or he is not as described.

            That said, if you want to believe the tooth fairy is real, I mean, if you REALLY believe, you will see signs and find reasons to support your belief (e.g. https://www.quora.com/Tooth-Fairy-Does-the-tooth-fairy-exist). But that doesn’t make it true, it just makes you a believer.

            500Q

            • Charles McGrath says:

              Whether you can “reasonably” deduce anything depends on the universal assumptions on which your deductions are based. Often reasons that sound good aren’t good sound reasons. We both have the difficulty that our world view skews how good reasons sound and therefore how much weight we put on them. This would probably be very evident when we examine the evidence for the resurrection of Christ.

              You are correct that humans have invented gods and used god to explain gaps in the unknown and to justify many unjust wars and other manipulative power plays. The bible often speaks of false gods and gods many. Martin Luther said we are idol factories. The existence of man-made false gods does nothing to prove or disprove whether there is a true God revealing in the Bible.

              I’m not interested in using the behaviors of humans or human likes and dislikes to determine whether God has used the Bible to reveal Himself and his plans for His Creation. As Norm Geisler once said when asked about the Crusades, “Christendom refers to a bunch of dumb Christians, but Christianity is about Christ.” Would Jesus lead the Crusades? What humans do in the name of anything does not prove or disprove whether a transcendent God has broken through the barrier between the physical and metaphysical to reveal as much of Himself as we need and are able and willing to comprehend.

              Pain and suffering are not evil just because you don’t like it. Only if the agent causing the suffering has moral culpability and evil intent can any effect be called “evil.”
              So to determine if something is “evil” you need an objective moral standard and also to prove malicious intent. With God’s revealed character and desires as the standard, a mother causing pain by removing an embedded splinter has no evil intent and done no evil. The bible says God’s intentions are always good.

              Apparently you think God should stop the things you don’t like in this sinful, corrupt, temporarily partially-judged world awaiting final judgment and restoration.

              • “The existence of man-made false gods does nothing to prove or disprove whether there is a true God revealing in the Bible.”

                Likewise, the existence of man-made false gods does not disprove the existence of Zeus.

                If an individual had a long history of telling tall tales, you would question his next story. It might actually be a true tall tale, but you’d have good reason to question it.

                If it is the very nature of man to make up stories, and for others to believe in them, we must ask ourselves if we too have unwittingly fallen into the same trap.

                “The bible says God’s intentions are always good.”

                The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster says the FSM’s intentions are always good. Anyone can write anything, it doesn’t make it true.

                “Only if the agent causing the suffering has moral culpability and evil intent can any effect be called ‘evil.'”

                In other words, “Unless you’re God, you can’t PROVE that all the horrible things that happen aren’t good! The raping and killing of children, the suffering of innocent animals and children, the genocide of various populations, animals eating one another, disease, viruses, famine — all good! You just don’t understand why!” It’s easy to say “God has a good reason,” when you never have to give one.

                While we can never prove God WON’T give us his good reasons after we die, I think we have plenty of reasons to be skeptical. There are lots of evils in this world that would seem to defy any future explanation. Why cause an innocent child to suffer and then take it’s life? Why curse animals with diseases, custom made for them? Why have animals eat each other, when they could all be herbivores? Why strike people with diseases, and then allow us to cure them? If a disease is necessary for God’s plan, it should remain. If it’s not, he should prevent us from ever curing it.

                While one can never PROVE that God does not exist, or that he ISN’T allowing evil for good reasons, there is evidence to the contrary.

                “Apparently you think God should stop the things you don’t like in this sinful, corrupt, temporarily partially-judged world awaiting final judgment and restoration.”

                Actually, I don’t think God is likely to exist, and the whole thing about sin and judgement was just made up. But if God DID exist, and he was perfectly good, I imagine he wouldn’t create us at all (to avoid producing something less than perfectly good). And if evil were necessary, I imagine we’d live in a paradise where the only evil was that which was perpetrated by men. Men would kill, and steal, and rape, but no children or animals would ever suffer from disease, nor would animals consume one and other. It would be clear that it was man that was the problem. There would be no need for the innocent to suffer.

                500Q

                • Charles McGrath says:

                  Apparently you didn’t read my separate (longer) post that sets the groundwork to counter many of your objections. Not sure why it was never posted. I will just leave it that I think the Christian world view best explains the world as it actually is. It’s not about my or your likes, dislikes or thinking God should have displayed all His attributes (including justice, holiness and wrath) to mankind differently in redemptive history.

                • Andy Rhodes says:

                  I think these are very important points to make, ones that very few believers or unbelievers hear about:

                  “While we can never prove God WON’T give us his good reasons after we die, I think we have plenty of reasons to be skeptical. There are lots of evils in this world that would seem to defy any future explanation. Why cause an innocent child to suffer and then take it’s life? Why curse animals with diseases, custom made for them? Why have animals eat each other, when they could all be herbivores? Why strike people with diseases, and then allow us to cure them? If the disease is a necessary for God’s plan, it should remain. If it’s not, he should prevent us from curing it. And why not make the ONLY evil that exists, evil that is perpetrated by man? So we know it is man that is evil, and not God?…Actually, I don’t think God is likely to exist, and the whole thing about sin and judgement was just made up (to give God something to save us from).”

                  It took me a very long time of struggle before I could feel free enough to ask those kinds of questions and reason in a different way than I had been thoroughly conditioned to do.

                  I’ve been reading about Voltaire lately and Enlightenment thinkers in general. I’ve been in a book for 7 years that reads about these kinds of things. Here are some relevant Voltaire quotes I found in Will Durant’s very interesting book from 1926, “The Story of Philosophy”, which provides a biographical sketch of many leading Western philosophers and overview of their main contributions:

                  “Men…made you superstitious not that you might fear God but that you might fear them.”

                  “If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.”

                  “Christianity must be divine, since it has lasted 1,700 years despite the fact that it is so full of villany and nonsense.”

                  I recommend to everyone out there to read the thinkers from the 1600s-1700s, the later century particularly. They were remarkably insightful and courageous, setting the foundation for modern society with a new value system, through much debate, invention and disagreement. Of course, it was not a monolithic groups of ideas or writers, but there were some positive themes among several key philosophers that helped to remake the world in better directions. Humanism that allowed for reforms like the abolition of slavery and judicial torture and new organizations like the United Nations and new agreements like the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and new government documents like the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Many of the Enlightenment philosophers largely improved earlier ideas and traditions through hard work and careful innovation.

                • Andy Rhodes says:

                  Some other things I’ve learned about the Enlightenment’s relationship to modern critiques of Christianity………..

                  Voltaire’s poem about the devastating 1755 Lisbon earthquake is an impressive model for the kind of counter-apologetic that you and I are putting forward. It challenges Leibniz’s “best of all possible worlds” theory with heartfelt frustration and sadness at the massive scale of inherent suffering in the world for all sentient beings. It could easily have been written in this or the last century, by its modern style:

                  http://static1.squarespace.com/static/55316a91e4b06d7c3b435f17/t/553ee5d5e4b037292cdd7e85/1430185429744/Voltaire+-+Poem+on+the+Lisbon+Disaster+(2014).pdf

                  The response to the poem that Rousseau sent Voltaire inspired the latter’s famous work, “Candide”, which went further in breaking down the “best of all possible worlds” model:

                  http://www.indiana.edu/~enltnmt/texts/JJR%20letter.html

                  http://literature.org/authors/voltaire/candide/

                  Here are what I think are some of the most powerful and illuminating excerpts from the poem:

                  ————————————————————————-

                  “All is well,” you say, “and all is necessary.”
                  What! Do you think this universe would be worse
                  Without the pit that swallowed Lisbon?
                  Are you sure that the great eternal cause,
                  The creator and knower of all things,
                  Could not have thrown us into this miserable world
                  Without forming volcanoes seething under our feet?
                  Do you set this limit for the supreme power?
                  Would you forbid him from exercising mercy?
                  Doesn’t the eternal craftsman have Infinite means available for his handiwork? 

                  Without offense to my master, I humbly wish
                  Only that the pit of fire and sulphur had erupted,
                  Spewing its fires in the desert wastes.
                  I respect my God, but I love the universe.
                  When one dares to moan of a terrible scourge,
                  It’s not arrogance; alas, it’s sensitivity!

                  In the midst of their torments, would it comfort
                  The sad inhabitants of these desolate shores
                  If someone said to them: “Fall, die in peace; Your homes are destroyed for the good of the world;
                  Other hands will rebuild your ruined palaces;
                  Other people will be born from the rubble of your walls;
                  The North will grow rich from your terrible loss.
                  To the universal law, all your troubles are for the best.
                  To God, you are the same as the vile worms
                  Waiting for you at the bottom of your graves”?
                  What a horrible speech to the unfortunate!
                  Do not add such cruelty to their pain.

                  ……………………….

                  This is the knot that needs untying.
                  Does denying our ills, cure them?
                  All peoples, trembling at the divine hand,
                  Have sought the origin of evil.
                  The eternal law moves all things.
                  The rocks, dropped by the power of the wind,
                  And the sturdy oak, destroyed by lightning,
                  Do not feel the crushing blows,
                  But I live and feel.
                  My oppressed heart Appeals to the heavens for relief.
                  As children of the Almighty, born in misery,
                  We extend our hands to our Father.

                  The vessel does not say to the potter,
                  “Why am I so vile, coarse, and frail?”
                  It lacks speech and has no thought.
                  When this urn breaks, it is nothing,
                  For the potter formed it no heart
                  That could desire good and feel misery.
                  “Yet, this misfortune,” you say, “is another’s good.”
                  Yes, from my corpse a thousand insects will be born.
                  When death ends my pain,
                  What a relief to be eaten!

                  Sad calculators of human misery,
                  You do not console me, but embitter me.
                  In you, I mark the useless effort
                  That masks its fear with false happiness.
                  I am a small part of the great whole.
                  But all the animals, all sentient beings,
                  Born under the same law, are condemned
                  To live in pain and die just like me.

                  The fierce vulture grasps its timid prey,
                  Feeding with great joy on its bloody limbs.
                  All’s well, or so it seems to him, until
                  He is devoured by a sharp-beaked eagle.
                  The proud eagle is, then, felled by a man’s rifle.
                  Then, the man, in the dust of the battlefield,
                  Dying among the fallen soldiers,
                  Serves as terrible food for the ravenous birds.
                  And thus, all the world groans—
                  We torment and are tormented by each other!
                  In this horrific chaos, you would say,
                  “The misfortunes of each make up the good of all!”
                  What happiness! Mortal, weak, and miserable.
                  You shout, “All is well”—O lamentable voice—
                  The universe contradicts you, and your heart
                  Refutes your mind’s error a hundred times over.

                  Everything is at war: the elements, animals, and man.
                  We must confess: there’s evil on earth.
                  Its source remains unknown to us.
                  Could evil spring from the author of all good?
                  Is it the black Typhon or barbarous Ahriman (5)
                  Who condemn us to suffer under their tyrannical law?
                  My mind rejects these heinous monsters
                  The trembling world made into gods.

                  How should we think of God, goodness itself,
                  Who lavishes gifts upon the children he loves,
                  While still pouring abundant pain upon them?
                  What eye may perceive the purpose of his designs?
                  From the perfect Being, no evil could arise,
                  But there’s no other principle. God alone is master,
                  Yet evil exists. O sad truth!
                  O dumbfounding contradictions!
                  God came to console our distressed race;
                  He visited the world and changed nothing!
                  An arrogant sophist says he could not
                  “He could,” another claims, “but didn’t want to.
                  In time, he will, no doubt.” Meanwhile, The subterranean thunder engulfs Lisbon
                  And thirty cities are reduced to ruins
                  From the banks of the Tagus to the Sea of Cadiz.

                  (5) Typhon was the Egyptian’s principle of evil; Ahriman, the Persian’s.

                  ……………………….

                  No doubt, whatever course we take, we must tremble.
                  We know nothing and fear everything.
                  Nature is silent—we appeal to her in vain.
                  We need a god who can speak to humanity,
                  Only he can explain his works to us,
                  Consoling the weak and enlightening the wise.
                  Without him, we’re abandoned to doubt and error,
                  Seeking in vain some reed to prop ourselves up.
                  Leibniz (6) taught me neither by what invisible knots,
                  In this best of all possible worlds,
                  This endless disorder—a chaos of misfortunes—
                  Ties our little pleasures to such pain,
                  Nor why the innocent and guilty
                  Both suffer the same under this necessary evil.
                  I can’t conceive any better how all is well.
                  I am like a doctor—Alas, I know nothing!

                  (6) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) famously argues, “This is the best of all possible worlds.” Voltaire uses Pangloss in Candide to caricature Leibniz and his philosophy of optimism.

                  ……………………….

                  Man is a stranger to himself.
                  He wonders: “What am I? Where am I going? Where am I from?”
                  We are atoms tormented in this murky soup,
                  Swallowed by death like the playthings of fate.
                  With eyes to see and guided by thought,
                  We thinking atoms have measured the heavens.
                  We rush toward the infinite,
                  Though we neither see nor know ourselves.
                  This world, this theater of pride and error
                  Is full of unfortunates who speak of happiness.
                  They complain while seeking well-being;
                  None of them wants to die or to be reborn.
                  Sometimes, in our lives consecrated to pain,
                  The hand of pleasure wipes away our tears,
                  But the pleasure flies, passing like a shadow.
                  Our sorrows, regrets, and losses are without number.
                  For us, the past is a sad memory
                  And the present awful if there’s no future
                  And the sleep of the grave takes every thinking being.

                  One day, all will be well—this is our hope.
                  All is well today—that is the illusion.
                  The wise deceived me;
                  God alone has reason.
                  Humble in my sighs, submitting in my suffering,
                  I do not raise myself against Providence.
                  In a less melancholy voice, I once sang
                  Of the sweet pleasure of the charming laws of nature.

                  Yet, with manners taught by old age,
                  Sharing in the frailty of humanity,
                  In the midst of the dark night while seeking clarity,
                  I know only suffering, but I won’t complain.

                  Once a caliph, in his last hour,
                  Prayed to God, whom he loved:
                  “I bring thee, O only and almighty king,
                  That, which in your immensity, you lack—
                  Faults, regrets, pain, and ignorance.”
                  But he could have added—hope. (12)

                  (12) [Voltaire] Most human beings have this hope, even before revelation came to their aid. The hope of surviving after death is based on love for living this life and the probability that what thinks will continue to think. It’s not supported by any proof because to demonstrate the opposite of something requires self-contradiction, and once a truth has been demonstrated that ends all argument about it. Lucretius, to destroy this hope, gives a set of arguments so strong they give pain. However, he only makes plausible arguments that he sets against other more plausible ones. Many Romans thought as Lucretius did and they cried out in the Roman theatre: “There is nothing after death!” But instinct, reason, the need to be comforted, and the good of society prevailed and human beings have always hoped for a life to come—a hope, to be honest, often accompanied by doubt. Revelation destroys this doubt and replaces it with certainty. But it’s awful to have to argue about revelation all the time. Awful to see unsociable Christian society divided into a hundred sects over revelation—to slander, to persecute, and to destroy for revelation. Awful that revelation led to St. Bartholomew [St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 1572], to the assassination of Henry III and Henry IV, to the beheading of Charles I, and to dragging a king of Poland bloody through the streets. All for revelation! O God, reveal yourself, for we need to become humane and tolerant!

                  • Beautiful and poignant, even today.

                    “Are you sure that the great eternal cause,
                    The creator and knower of all things,
                    Could not have thrown us into this miserable world
                    Without forming volcanoes seething under our feet?”

                    “From the perfect Being, no evil could arise,
                    But there’s no other principle. God alone is master,
                    Yet evil exists. O sad truth!
                    O dumbfounding contradictions!”

                    500Q

              • Andy Rhodes says:

                Charles,

                As someone who was an evangelical Christian for their first 29 years and worked as a research/teaching intern with two leading apologetics ministries (rzim.org and probe.org), I can understand generally where you’re coming from.

                You asked, “Would Jesus lead the Crusades?”

                The conquest of the Promised Land includes several genocides commanded by the Trinity. How is Jesus’ morality superior to the Crusaders? They, along with Luther, Calvin and the Nazis, were applying that biblical precedent in straightforward ways – mass murder to cleanse the land of paganism or toxic peoples.

                The Bible teaches that Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit drowned millions of humans (children and babies included) and trillions of sentient nonhuman animals to prove a point or pass judgment and not to solve a problem – since human sinful nature continued just as before through Noah’s descendants. Where is there wise planning, justice and love in this radical action by God?

                Hell was created by Jesus and the rest of Trinity: torture forever based on a finite lifetime that included some or a lot of rebellion by individuals. The Bible says that we are born damned already, so why praise a God that created such a frail system that infects the whole Earth just because of two people’s bad and ignorant decision – Adam and Eve?

                It’s very difficult for a believer in objective transcendent morals to make a solid case to an unbeliever for the existence of binding principles like that, aside from speculation, wishful thinking or a particular type of intuition that many people have. Those three foundations are subjective.

                Another question is, why would we need objective morality? Especially given that it’s so hard to establish which alleged objective moral system is correct and secular humanism has provided an increasingly beneficial, productive and peaceful result in advanced Western society (which has affected the rest of the world gradually as well). For a lot of evidence to support this claim, see an article that I wrote that explain how interdisciplinary academic and government data shows that we’re living in the most peaceful time in human history – every area of physical violence has been sloping downward overall during past 300 years:

                https://persuademepolitics.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/now-the-most-peaceful-time-in-world-history/

                This was accomplished partly by adapting the best aspects of Judeo-Christianity and ancient Greece and Rome, while trying to diminish or ignore the inhumane aspects of those traditions.

                I think at a particular point, for many questioners, the biblical God becomes too unethical to accept. Of course, a believer can respond that God is perfectly holy and sets the definitions of morality for us. We are expected to follow our humanistic conscience only so far. We are not supposed to challenge God’s omnibenevolence. But, how can a Christian explain what I regretfully and long hesitatingly called “Christ’s Numerous Moral Failings” as the title for an article I wrote?:

                https://disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/christs-numerous-moral-failings/

                Here is an excerpt:

                ……………………………………..

                God in Jesus Christ (“on his own” during his human incarnation, at least apparently, or by means of his interdependent harmony with the Father and Holy Spirit), throughout the Old and New Testaments to varying degrees, commanded or supported these terrible things directly or indirectly (mostly directly): eternal hell based on a short earthly life, genocide, misogyny, slavery, polygamy, seasonal and colonial warfare, theocracy, capital punishments for moderate sins (such as a female lying about her virginity — which modern science has shown to be impossible to prove medically, or cursing one’s parents, or working on the Sabbath, or not keeping a known dangerous bull locked up if the bull later kills a person — but if a slave is killed the owner only has to pay a fine, or being the victim of rape if one is an engaged woman and the rape occurs in a city), animal sacrifice, excessive judgment on the vast majority of humans who did not have biblical revelation until the last few hundred years, and many other things.

                These are things that Jesus never challenged because, as the New Testament and history of orthodox theology repeatedly states, he was the God of the Old Testament. Even if a believer takes a more liberal viewpoint and downplays or denies the divinity of Jesus, the same basic argument remains in tact. This teacher from ancient Galilee supports in full the God and writings of the Old Testament. He innovates on the earlier scriptures, but doesn’t contradict them. In fact, he says that he has come to fulfill the law, not abolish it.

                See Matthew 5:17-19:

                “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

                These kinds of primitive values must be cast aside or humanity will forever be lost in a method of problem-solving that far too readily chooses violence instead of the harder road of intelligent and compassionate understanding and the construction of better, more effective cultural values and social structures.

                ———————————

                For references of these scriptural precedents, see:

                http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Actions_which_demand_the_death_penalty_in_the_Old_Testament#Old_Testament

                http://www.evilbible.com

                http://atheistfoundation.org.au/article/women-in-the-bible

    • Victoria says:

      How are you breathing then? How is your heart beating with that perfection? Or how are every organ of your body performing with that perfectIon? Who is making those flowers bloom? Who’s moving those atoms, electrons, protons? Who is doing all that???

    • Tyrone Perry says:

      I guess the universe created life right?

  2. Anonymous says:

    First let me say I love animals. Any type of abuse, suffering ect., that they go through breaks my heart. I just lost my best friend, who suffered terribly. He was a boxer, and unfortunately came from a puppy mill so he was never very healthy, and health problems worsened as time went by. He was 5 when he died. I’ll say this and I’d bet every cent I have on that I truly believe animals have souls. My Rocky had a beautiful soul. (And animals feel pain, as well as loneness, joy, fear, and a ton of other physical and emotional feelings.) God doesn’t cause pain on animals humans do. In one way or another a human being or a group of human beings are responsible for any illness or what ever horrific situation an animal is in. We will never get the answer that we are looking for because Our brains are not capable of understanding. God intelligence level is so much higher the ours therefore we are not capable of understanding. God is loving and merciful. I pray for you to let go of all this, and open you heart up and let your Heavenly Father in.

    • Pebble says:

      I’ll admit that in some ways, God is a “loving and merciful God”. However, “letting go” the fact that billions of animals are suffering everyday isn’t something a group of us can easily do – much easier said, than done. We can rely on God to heal and ease our pain somewhat, sometimes. However, we’re made to feel pain when there’s injustice done and we will toss at night thinking and knowing there isn’t much we can do, except to hope for the mass public to be educated and to grant compassion to ALL non-human beings.

    • Jay Cer says:

      How ridiculous is this comment?
      So by your assumption, God just watches the animals suffer,because men are the ones that do it? It is the same issue when a child is molested, since it’s the free will of men, so God is ok with it. He is suppose to be our father, if a father sits by while his child is molested, you would think the father is a piece of garbage, yet God gets a pass. Religion is so ridiculous.

      • Andy Rhodes says:

        And God built in horrendous suffering to animal life, far apart from anything humans can do.

        For 300+ million years, literally trillions of sentient being suffered starvation, terror, being eaten alive, etc. By design.

    • Carly Ford says:

      I too believe that all animal suffering can be traced back to humans.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a crock of shit. There is no god if he allows innocent animals to suffer. And of course they feel pain, physically proven, and no they don’t deserve to suffer. No thanks, not interest in a god like that.

    • Anonymous says:

      But your argument is out of ignorance. Imagine in 500,000 years from now when you are in heaven where there are no tears, no suffering no death and you gave it all up for a mere 80 years or less on earth because you had rebellious thoughts towards God who created all things including yourself.

      By making your statements and like others on this blog, you place flesh over the laws and will of God and become rebellious against him. You place death and suffering a temporary thing greater than all the peace and joy of eternity.

      Your mind has become so flesh and blood orientated that you can not even grasp spiritual truth.

      Job 38:41 Who provides for the raven his food? when his young ones cry to God, they wander for lack of meat

      When Job complained that God had mistreated him, God pointed to creation to help Job understand his sovereignty. God reminded Job that it is he who provides for the animals (Job 38:39-41). He appointed them their place in creation (Job 39:6). God also pointed out that he is more powerful than the feared Behemoth and Leviathan by the very fact that he is their creator (Job 40:19; 41:10).

      It is God who holds all life in his hands, He holds the breath of every living creature in his

      hand. Job 12:10: In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

      It is him who called the animals to gather in the ark. With Elijah, God commanded ravens to bring him food while he was there, and they did (1 Kings 17:4-6).

      You also must understand that what is flesh is flesh but what is born of spirit is an entire new creature. Animals are not part of this spiritual reality. You must make this distinction because it is the order of Gods creation.

      Genesis 1:21
      So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
      And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

      Remember all life and creation are under the Lords control. It he who created them, and it is he who holds them.

      Job 12:10 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

      God has revealed to himself that he is a holy God and because of this he created us to worship him. Because of the free choice of Adam and Eve to listen to themselves over God the whole earth was cursed and this is the root of our problems.

      God is the creator of all animals, and they bring glory to himself alone. Are you able to call God evil because you limit his control over his own creation? Do you see the arrogance in your position?

      Will you take it upon yourself to use your own mind and free choices to disobey the Lord God? The very sin which caused animals pain IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      Knowing this you will repeat this all over again instead of trusting in the grace of Jesus who will restore all things as he had intended in the first place.

      Did you consider that when those animals feel pain it is God himself who feels pain because it is him who brought them forth, and it is them who fulfills his purpose. For all things in existence and created by God and FOR God.

      Colossians 1:16:For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

      John 1:3 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.

      Job 12:10 -Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, 10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?

      When God has dialog with Job he frequently uses examples of animals to show his sovereignty and power.

      God reminded Job that it is he who provides for the animals (Job 38:39-41). He appointed them their place in creation (Job 39:6). God also pointed out that he is more powerful than the feared Behemoth and Leviathan by the very fact that he is their creator (Job 40:19; 41:10)

      God made animals distinct from humans, he made them without the ability to reason, they live by their instincts, but they are also under the sovereignty of God. They do not have free will.

      This earth is a temporary place. It’s passing away and everything in it. All life dies, all life goes back to dust from where in came and God gave breath to all life, everything in existence. How can you judge the suffering of an animal in such a short time, when in the grand scheme of things you could be in peace for eternity. Imagine the length of time of eternity compared to our short lives, this is nothing at all and is in Gods hands.

      Ecclesiastes 3:19-20
      For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.
      Ecclesiastes 3:21
      Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?
      Ecclesiastes 12:7
      then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

      Also you claim animals are completely innocent but is one who kills truly innocent? Did you forget that many animals kill innocent children and baby’s as well?

      Genesis 9:5
      And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

      Adam and Eve were tasked with the care of animals, to name them, to live in peace with them and God gave us dominion over all the animals on earth and in the sea. When they sinned they suffered death, and all the animals as well which were under them. If you want to blame anyone for the animals suffering then blame Adam and Eve not God. God’s nature requires there be consequences in this age of sovereign choice. Do you understand the nature of God and where he comes and goes?

      You don’t understand the spiritual order of things, or what is not seen. You only understand the natural order. If you could even for a moment see the spiritual side of things you would not be making such statements towards your God. Remember every knee shall bow before God. Do you also think you will stand up to him face to face and pronounce your rebellion against him? Will you be the only one standing against God on judgment day bringing your case against God that he is not in control of all creation including animals?

      Gods plan is to reconcile all things to their original intention. Will you not wait but a short time for this?

      Colossians 1:20
      and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross.

      2 Corinthians 4:18
      So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

      • MJMR says:

        Good post, Anonymous.

      • Tyrone Perry says:

        Damn anonymous ! That was probably the most intelligent post I ever read.
        It is natural 4 man 2 doubt GOD & not believe,because we r sinners & r natural enemies of GOD.The human heart is wicked & far from GOD.It is only when we become spiritual (blessed 2 possess the Holy Spirit,) r drawn near 2 YHWH & r attracted 2 Him.Then spiritual truths become known 2 us.These truths cannot be achieved through human wisdom.I c u possess these qualities.

        • Ahsan says:

          What a pathetic excuse to ignore reality. You want to believe something that hasn’t been proven yet you ignore the flaws of its very existence is baffling.

  4. Maryann says:

    Evil came into the world because Adam and Eve disobeyed God. God created all animals and other creatures before He created humans and I believe He loves them very much and have given Him great joy. I have thought of this a long time, animals and other creatures like sea creatures etc. have never sinned against God so why is suffering allowed on them? I can answer that creatures do have a soul. How do I know this? Because our good God let me know, and this is what happened to me. In Aug.2012, my cat Sen Sen died at 18 years old natural causes. She died at 10:00 AM and at around 8:00 pm my husband and I heard her meow in the sunroom where she died and knew it was her because there are no other cats that lived with us. Now, the same year in Sept. our yellow lab died at 15 years old of epilepsy which she had all her life. With these two animals that I loved so much crushed my heart that I cannot put into words, but God was good and let me know that their souls were in heaven. After grieving every day for 3 months, one morning at 5:30am, I heard her bark loudly in the foyer and then one minute later, she was barking out on the porch which is outside our foyer. The following year in Dec 2013 we had a feral cat that was a barn cat named Tiggy. When she became sick, 3 months before of kidney problems which the vet diagnosed, we brought her in our house and nursed her with homeopathic medicines but her time came and she passed away, That same month, I felt her also jump on my bed and I knew also her soul was free and with our Lord and happy. I believe there is suffering because no creature or human is as innocent as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who suffered like nobody else has suffered so we can all be saved from everlasting death. So, do animals have a soul? yes they do and all go to heaven because they are free of sin.

    • Hi Maryann,

      So sorry for the loss of your beloved pets, they can become a very special part of our lives.

      “…no creature or human is as innocent as our Lord … So, do animals have a soul? yes they do and all go to heaven because they are free of sin.”

      So… all animals must suffer because they are not innocent… yet, they go to heaven… because they are free of sin. I’m confused. Are they innocent or not?

      If they are guilty, what sin are they guilty of committing? They can no more contemplate the morality of their actions than an infant.

      500Q

    • Razman says:

      hmn….. I love people who are caring to others, your feelings towards your late pets shows how caring you are, your care to Human may be greater…..

    • Anonymous says:

      colossians 1:16 – For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him….
      Nothing Enters Into This Universe Without God’s Doing.
      God Created Evil
      Hence Proved

    • marion says:

      animals do not have a soul once they die they’re gone people have souls that’s why we should love them while they’re alive and take care of these animals that God gave us to enjoy. animals have a living soul not Everlasting once the new world comes under Jesus Christ direction we will have all the animals in the world to enjoy which will be in a piece like state the scriptures state A young child will lie next to a lion. until then unfortunately we have to be disturbed with the goings-on of the animal abuse I’m overwhelmed by people that would take an innocent creature no harm done to them yet they have abuse them. I always think to myself what’s the purpose why do that and I come up with zero answers so until then I just have to face the fact that this world has horrible people in it no caring and no love in their hearts.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe your story and am so glad you were able to experience what you did.

  5. Dr Datye says:

    The quantum of pain humans inflict on self, on fellow human beings, and on animals and plants in general relying on antiquated ideas written in religious scriptures by who knows whom, is really appalling. Humans killed animals for food. Beyond that it is plain cruelty in the garb of hunting, shooting, maiming, experimenting without any remorse. Christianity talks about evil – left center right without ever understanding that Human is the devil/evil incarnate. It is time to leave religion behind and walk on righteous path of self realisation.

    • Karla Sanchez says:

      I completely agree. Animals are such innocent creatures and the human race has been abusing them for thousands of years and most of the times just for fun. The only evil creature in this world is the human being. I have started losing my faith after all the cruelty and sadism inflected on those poor innocent souls. They are the one who should go straight to heaven.

    • sophia says:

      But animals also suffer because nature designed them that way. Several of my poor hens just got attacked and killed or injured by some other animal ( probably coyote ) today. Humans had nothing to do with it. Even if humans did not hurt animals, nature would. There is no “good” god of any sort. There is no god at all most likely. It is just nature. Some animals eat others, and we are on the top of the food chain. It’s depressing really but reality.

  6. Desiree says:

    I really think you have the wrong idea about God. First off God is loving forgiving and just, He doesn’t cause pain. The world we live in has suffering and pain because of Man that’s why God gave us Heaven to go to. We just have to choose him and honor him to get there. Animals are capable of Love and anything that can Love is from God which has a soul. Otherwise animals wouldn’t be capable of love towards each other or humans. They also wouldn’t have personalities which distinguishes them as an individual not a mass production. I also want to mention the lamb was considered a sacrifice in the Bible. If animals meant nothing to God it wouldn’t be a sacrifice which means to give up something that is very dear to you. He also wouldn’t send his Son if he didn’t feel the need to end it and show his love and sacrifice in return. He sent Noah to save two animal of each kind so there would still be animals after the flood, He obviously cared for them. The sufferings of this world are from Man and everything we reap we sew. Unfortunately animals have done nothing to deserve this but are in the cross fire. But if we didn’t suffer here Heaven wouldn’t be such a prized reward. It’s that simple people.

    • Natalie Wells says:

      Who would want to go to Heaven if it involved the torment and suffering of the innocent? I couldn/t be happy in a Heaven like that. Could you? Yes, I know Jesus was innocent and paid for our sins, so if we accept Him, we go to Heaven on that account, His blood, His grace. But would you want to be a part of Paradise that relied on the suffering and torment of those who gave their lives/ or more likely, their lives were taken from them, would that be an enjoyable state, for you? For anyone?

    • “I really think you have the wrong idea about God. First off God is loving forgiving and just, He doesn’t cause pain.”

      “The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.” — Deuteronomy 28:22

      “The world we live in has suffering and pain because of Man that’s why God gave us Heaven to go to.”

      The world we live in has suffering, because God created Satan, and man, knowing the majority would be sent to hell… yet he chose to create them anyway. Why not just create us in heaven? That way no one has to suffer.

      “Animals are capable of Love and anything that can Love is from God which has a soul.”

      Animals are also capable of eating one another, is this also from God?

      “If animals meant nothing to God it wouldn’t be a sacrifice which means to give up something that is very dear to you.”

      If animals meant anything to God, he wouldn’t have designed them to eat one another, nor would he have subjected them to a world of sin for crimes they did not commit.

      “He also wouldn’t send his Son if he didn’t feel the need to end it and show his love and sacrifice in return.”

      Why send his son to end all the pain and suffering? Again, he didn’t have to create us at all. You might say creation was an act of love, but if the majority of those he creates suffer here on earth, and then go to hell… the real act of love would’ve been to create nothing at all. If I knew my own children might suffer forever, I never would’ve have them!

      “He sent Noah to save two animal of each kind so there would still be animals after the flood, He obviously cared for them.”

      Well… except for the 99.99 he sentenced to drown. Can you imagine? All those poor animals, even baby animals… swimming for dear life? “Mamma? Mamma? Where are you? What did we do to deserve this?” *glub glub glub* God is love!

      “The sufferings of this world are from Man and everything we reap we sew. Unfortunately animals have done nothing to deserve this but are in the cross fire.”

      Then… you agree … these animals do not deserve to suffer, that’s all I’m saying.

      “But if we didn’t suffer here Heaven wouldn’t be such a prized reward.”

      First, this has nothing to do with the animals. We can suffer just fine without them eating one another.

      Second, do you really want to argue that pain and suffering are required to appreciate the lack thereof? Should I beat my children, so that when I’m not beating them, they will be much happier? Or should starve them, so that food will taste much better?

      If the only way to experience pleasure is to experience its opposite, then pleasure is not truly pleasure, it’s just relief from pain. This would mean the angels do not enjoy heaven, or God’s love, for they have never known anything else. And it would mean Adam and Eve could not truly enjoy the Garden of Eden. And it would also likely mean that there WOULD need to be tears in heaven, in order for us to continue to appreciate it.

      500Q

    • craig says:

      NOBODY IS EXPLAINING WHY SOME ANIMALS ARE STRICTLY PREDATORS, SUCH AS, THE ALLIGATOR ~ also, why do Lions eat other animals while they are still alive and breathing and choking them to death??????

    • Andy Rhodes says:

      Hi Desiree,

      I’m trying understand your statements in light of how nature functions and what Scripture says.

      You wrote, “The world we live in has suffering and pain because of Man that’s why God gave us Heaven to go to.”

      How is that true when disease, pain, terror, earthquakes, death, floods, droughts, etc., that nonhuman animals had to face daily, were all built into nature long before humanity existed on Earth?

  7. Our Father Who Art On Earth says:

    If there were a god who allowed animals to suffer as they do, then it is evil incarnate. Just the same as a factory farm worker who ignores co-workers torturing or raping or beating animals in their control. Just the same as people who turn their attention elsewhere when hearing a child crying muffled in the next house over.

    It is more plausible that there is no god, or that it is evolving out of the chaos of the cosmos. And it’s going to have a lot to answer for. I believe that the Big Bang was the result of god finally coming into being then realizing the hell it had unleashed on creatures in the cosmos, and it blew apart. Over and over this will continue. Until we find a way to free the evolving god from its own insanity.

    I stopped believing in god when I was 7. I asked my parents why, when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple, he didn’t free the little lambs and doves imprisoned there to be burned to death. The idea of that tormented me. My mother made up a bunch of nonsense. But later my father pulled me aside and spoke to me with a True Father’s love. He was kind to all little animals, and to children, as well as very strong. We would find sad little city birds and care for them. He was so kind and loving that I didn’t want any parts of a “god” or “savior” that wasn’t at least as much so.

    My father used Socratic Method to ask me what I thought, and he comforted me as I struggled with questions. I am a better woman as a result.

    I am of Nordic and Sami ancestry. I instinctively rejected worship of imaginary fathers for striving to honor my living actual father and be worthy of his unconditional love. I guess if people didn’t know that kind of fatherly love they might believe in pie in the sky stories. But any man who claims animals don’t suffer is a psychopath and should be made Outlaw, as in the Havamal.

    • Teresa Kvistad says:

      Jesus turned over the tables of the moneychangers and freed the caged animals. Check out this site https://themennonite.org/feature/jesus-temple/. Jesus loves the innocent and even loves us with open arms if we repent of our sins and accept his sacrifice for our sins. There was once a time when God was actively involved with people and if you recall, Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, the Great Flood, the parting of the Red Sea, etc. are just examples of God’s involvement. Not long after Jesus died on the cross, God stopped intervening with us humans directly but constructed the Bible as a guide for us to follow. He put us in charge and if we do not like how animals are treated, then it is up to us to change that. Anyone or anything that suffers is our fault….not God’s fault!!! The human race needs to clean up its act.

  8. Anonymous says:

    ALL EVIL NEEDS TO SUCCEED IS FOR A GOD TO DO NOTHING!

  9. Jon says:

    I would like to think we grow into what we are by starting off at the very bottom. From the smallest form of life we live and die only to live again as something else and mature our soul into what we are and what awaits.

    I believe in a God and a heaven but I don’t believe it is eternal. As I don’t believe the worst human being will suffor for eternity either. I feel karma is a strange but real thing. But how can we blame evil if evil is all a person knows. Is evil a chemical imbalance in the brain or is it an emotional decision based only from experience and external inpact of what you’ve experienced in life.

    I strive to be an honest person who can change the world for the better and minimize suffering if animals as they’re are truly innocent creatures.

    I can’t put my figure on what it was that made me this way. Maybe it was my family dog who I bonded with as a child and view all animals similarly as many pets are only taught to be mean and are not that easy by nature. Maybe it’s a mix of being raised a Catholic and going to a Catholic school until fourth grade but then transitioning back to a public school. I believe in God and heaven but with a scientific mind. I don’t follow much of the Catholic religion other than lent and a few other things.

    I can’t truly explain in my head why people are evil but I do feel it is the people who can’t find a balance between religion and science, or the people who lack self education of life, whether it is understanding the world and life lessons through education or teachings of religion are who the ones who lack compassion for all living things and lack the ability to empathize/sympothize with them. This leads ultimately to greed, selfishness, and everything the nagatives of this world consists of.

    Maybe at some point are mature souls will be able to bring heaven to earth.

  10. Anonymous says:

    God is not loving if he permits innocent living things to suffer. Such as babies and animals 😦

  11. melissa says:

    VERY well said, and i so often come to the identical conclusion. And this is coming from one who has been saved. Although I’m a “christian”, I STILL have questions and issues with the God I professed a faith in. The truth of the matter in my opinion is this: The amount of Godly presence in ones life depends on that person. We all have a certain level of relation to God just because of who He is. At large, the majority of mankind pays no mind to the principles of God, much less centering their life around them as well as their childrens lives, grandchildren and on and on. Again, if mankind was appointed to hold dominion over all animals on earth as stated in Genesis 1:26 , I view this as being more of a spiritual dominion or leadership that mankind has over all other forms of flesh on earth. In other words, the moral depravity of man and disobedience to God in the garden of Eden is what brought the flesh to evolving to what it is today. No one is living in the spirit as first intended by God, as stated in Romans Therefore, we lost the ability to depend solely on God and God alone for our needs which would explain why he rendered the remainder of creation to be at our disposal for food, as well as other comforts and needs related to the flesh. Once sin entered our DNA, basically ALL flesh became doomed to fend for himself, due to the wedge of sin now placed between God and his creation. Essentially, a pact was made with the prince of lies by not obeying God and we are paying the price for it as are the animals in which we have dominion over because they bear the brunt spiritually for our lack of dependence and rejection of God. . Their suffering is just the remnant of our spiritual condition , which completely lacks Gods direction for most. So, the short answer would be; upon our submission to sin, we were put on our own but with an option of being redeemed which very few have chosen to take. Thus, leaving our animals to suffer for our spiritual condition.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I’ve been struggling with this and it has tested everything I used to feel so secure in believing. I have lost my faith because I don’t believe that any feeling entity, call it god, if you will, could intentionally allow innocent beings to suffer. I cannot believe in a cruel god and I will not follow the teachings of a cruel god.

  13. Nanci says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this because it has eased my mind on the way I think. I will say that, although I believe in a God, higher being, whatever, I cannot like, little own love, or follow anything that allows animals to be born hurt or to be abused. Reading this article has made me fully realize that there is no justification for it to be allowed to happen. (sorry for my bad grammar)

  14. Andrew Spencer says:

    We have a wrong idea of God. God cannot make a 3, a 4. Or a square a sphere,it’s common sense. He created us with free will,no other way even for God,the fall caused suffering. Now the beast couldn’t be in perfection,while we were not anymore,common sense. God in his wisdom decided to create,knowing the suffering ,He could not do both, no pain for them,but only for fallen man. We can be saved,if we obey His laws,known fully through Christ. Maybe the animals will return to Eden when all things will be made new, in the grand finale. But not lost souls,they freely chose to not obey,GOD. So let’s put things in the right perspective, and understand this, God cannot make a 3 a 4.

    • Hi Andrew.

      No one is asking God to turn a 3 into a 4, or to do the impossible. It’s not impossible for a loving God to simply NOT create mankind, or to create a world where the innocent are not made to suffer. Animals don’t even NEED to exist, so to create them anyway, and place them in the crossfire, this is unconscionable.

      God can’t make up for this by simply returning the animals to Eden at a later date, no more than a serial rapist can make up for his crimes by paying off his victims. Once you do wrong, you’re always guilty of having done wrong, and no future amount of apologies or gifts changes that fact. You can apologize, or try to make up for it, but what you did was still wrong, and forever will be.

      500Q

  15. Andy Rhodes says:

    I thought your article was well composed. Keep up the good work. It’s great to see such a large group of people commenting in response to what you’ve written.

    I was having an online discussion this week about animal suffering and the Christian God, so I searched around for more information and found your post. I’ve debated the topic for many years, but I know there’s always more to gain from other voices and perspectives. I was responding to an article titled, “Did the Fall of Man Really Occur?”:

    strangenotions.com/did-the-fall-of-man-really-occur

    I’ve posted a lot there. I think challenging the historicity of the Fall of Humankind is very important. If it didn’t happen, at least in some form, then Christianity has no foundation – there is no need for humans to be saved from damnation, no need for Jesus’ everlasting rescue of our wayward souls.

    If interested, check out my blog, “Disagreements I Have With Christianity”, which explores topics similar to yours and results from a slow journey away from biblical religion:

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com

    Animal suffering and natural theodicies in general were major reasons for my incremental abandonment of the faith. These two posts on my site directly address the issues undergirding animal suffering and empty justifications offered in the Bible for why human suffering is necessary in relation to the Garden of Eden and the New Heavens and New Earth:

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/if-physical-death-entered-the-world-because-of-sin-why-does-science-demonstrate-that-death-always-existed

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/freedom-fulfillment-and-sin-in-heaven/

    We can consider how the various disciplines of science have found much evidence to support the notion that death is generative and normative:

    thegreatstory.org/charts/death.html

    I explain my general background at the beginning of my article called, “Why I Am No Longer A Christian”:

    ————————————————————-

    I have a strong evangelical Christian background. I was immersed in it since birth and felt at home there for most of my life. My father is a hospital chaplain and former pastor, trained at arguably the most influential seminary regarding the theology of dispensationalism – which dominates much of American Protestantism today, Dallas Theological Seminary. He received another degree from another leading evangelical school, Talbot School of Theology, while my mother completed coursework at a Bible college. My sister graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and was ordained in recent years. The religion made sense to me, enabled a connection with deep spirituality, united my whole being with God and provided a special kind of community and support that initially can be difficult to replicate in secular environments, especially when thousands of local churches positioned across the nation offer experiences that are familiar and normalized in our society. I wholeheartedly invested an enormous amount of time and energy in lay church leadership during all of my twenties. I worked as a research/teaching intern for a brief time with two Christian apologetics think-tanks and evangelistic outreach organizations that reach out to skeptics and train believers to understand why and how Christianity is true (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Probe Ministries). To varying degrees, I also researched and experienced Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopal and numerous types of non-modernistic/fundamentalist/American-styled/evangelical Protestant traditions in Christianity. Also, I studied philosophy, religion and history at Auburn University and Georgia State University.

    I was a Christian until age 32 (now I’m in my late thirties). I was well educated, lovingly treated by other Christians and committed to following God the best I knew how. But, I was blind to many basic and important aspects in common skeptical challenges to this religion. Even though I was in the process of pursuing a career in professional Christian apologetics evangelism during my early to mid twenties, many of the challenging assertions of skeptics didn’t make full sense to me (especially as humanistic moral objections toward an apparently all-loving/knowing/powerful creator God). A few key doctrinal issues drove me out of the faith gradually. Years later, I was able to think in a different way about various other theological/philosophical topics and vantage points that didn’t occur to me or feel spiritually/emotionally/intellectually safe to really openly address while still in the Church.

    ————————————————————-

    disagreementsihavewithchristianity.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/why-i-am-no-longer-a-christian/

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is that you never knew God. You simply tried to follow the letter of the law and had only an empty religion. You had an intellectual Christianity, but that is not Christianity at all and never has been. You can only carry on for so long in this state by your own means.

      • Andy Rhodes says:

        What evidence do you have for your assertions?

        How would you know those things about someone? Only God could have that kind of insight. Do you recognize how arrogant your statements are?

        One of the biblical definitions of sin is “to play god”. That seems to be what you’re doing, based on just your words and attitude of your post.

        If you want to have an honest and respectful conversation where we give each other the benefit of the doubt and withhold knee-jerk judgments about people we don’t even know, then let’s do that. Otherwise, the interaction will not further the cause of truth or love.

        • Hi Andy.

          Thanks for writing. I think your story rings true with a lot of former Christians. Most of us would’ve never imagined “rejecting” God. (Though we’re not really rejecting God, per se, but the idea that such a character might somehow exist.)

          While the anonymous commenter may come across as arrogant, I have to admit that I probably would’ve responded the same way a few years ago. And this really bugs me now, because I know this is how my Christian friends and family see me, though they won’t confess this to my face, as people feel free to do (anonymously) online.

          But obviously, the very nature of Christianity prevents Christians from ever admitting that non-Christians might have a valid point. You are deceived… or in rebellion… or you were never saved to begin with… or you had a “religion” and not a “relationship” — you’re anything but right.

          By they way, if you have a couple minutes, you should read this:
          https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/an-atheist-manifesto
          It’s one of the best things I’ve read in some time.

          “Only the atheist recognizes the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.”
          – Sam Harris

          500Q

          • Andy Rhodes says:

            I call myself a theist-in-protest. I’m not an atheist, nor do I feel any logical, existential or philosophical pressure to become one. I’m a practical atheist or practical secular humanist. I don’t see how the existence of the Christian god makes much difference. I still pray and ask for understanding and help in life, but I recognize no evidence of a response. I had a very deep relationship with God until about age 30, or at least I thought I did. (I’m 40 now.) If God exists, she/he/it must be partly good and partly evil or something like that – or all humanistic measurements of character and morality are useless.

            I’ll check out the link you included.

  16. Danny says:

    Suffering is a necessary part of life. Painful experiences help us grow and adapt. If we didn’t suffer from eating too much then would we eat ourselves to death? If we didn’t feel pain wouldn’t it be harder to differentiate good and bad? When pain and death enter the equation there is a deeper meaning to life. The earth is a temporary testing ground for one to learn, grow and understand their truth self which is the soul yet without hardships the discovery wouldn’t be possible and since animals are without sin then what need is there for a soul to save? Animals may go to another place entirely outside of heaven. We don’t know so we shouldn’t discredit a place for animals. Jesus showed a love for animals in the bible when it came to animal cruelty right before he knocked a table over in anger. If we are to use logic to discredit we should use logic to understand.

    • Hi Danny,

      I agree that there are many valid arguments that can be made for feeling a certain amount of pain and suffering, and I don’t object to these. The only thing I’m contesting is that there are many forms of suffering that DON’T teach us anything, and appear excessive, pointless, and wholly unnecessary.

      Your argument is that “When pain and death enter the equation there is a deeper meaning to life.” In other words, all pain has purpose, and is therefore necessary. My argument is that this is not always the case, and I believe this can be logically demonstrated.

      When a fawn burns to death in a forest fire, but no sees it, was it still necessary? When countless animals and insects die every day in order to feed other animals, is this necessary? There are plenty of animals that subsist on diets of plants alone, so clearly eating meat is not always necessary. Why design meat eaters, when you can just as easily design plant eaters?

      Or we could look at a disease like polio and ask, “is polio necessary to God’s plan”? If polio IS necessary, then it must always exist… and yet, we have eradicated polio. If polio was necessary, God should’ve prevented us from finding a cure. Our ability to cure polio suggests it was NOT necessary, nor all the pain and suffering that go with it. Clearly, God can test us and save us without polio, it is unnecessary, so why include it?

      Likewise, when a child dies, does this bring a “deeper meaning”? We might like to believe so, but over the past 20 years we’ve cut infant mortality in half. By NOT allowing millions of children to die, have we lost some kind of “deeper meaning”? If so, perhaps we shouldn’t cure diseases, or save these children from dying. If these millions of deaths are not necessary today, then they probably weren’t necessary 20 years ago.

      But ultimately, its nearly impossible to prove a negative, so I can never prove that there ISN’T a “deeper meaning” behind every instance of suffering. All the believer has to say is, “You can’t prove there’s NOT a deeper meaning!” and I can’t, just as I cannot prove God DOESN’T exist, or ISN’T invisible, or I can’t prove there’s not an invisible rabbit hanging over your head.

      All I can say is that it doesn’t seem logical to assume that there is a deeper meaning in every case. Sometimes, it’s just a loose bolt that causes a 747 to crash, killing everyone on board. No purpose or deeper meaning, just a tragic accident.

      “Animals may go to another place entirely outside of heaven.”

      Even if that were the case, it would still be unethical for God to cause innocent beings to suffer. If I punch a baby in the face, but then give the parents $10,000, am I a “good” person? Since I made amends?

      Thanks,
      500Q

    • Andy Rhodes says:

      Danny,

      I generally agree that we can learn from many types of suffering, but……

      Your statements about the necessity of suffering, especially on the grand and intense scale that it exists by God’s design for trillions of sentient creatures (during the past 300+ million years), is thoroughly undercut and contradicted by the foundations of biblical Christianity, in which terrible suffering and pain and death is repeatedly said and distinctly presupposed to be unnecessary and only happens because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion. (The alleged normative state of animal death and suffering may be debatable, though traditional theologians have very often claimed that the Bible teaches that it was not part of the original plan.)

      If freedom and full human flourishing/fulfillment without sin/pain/death was inherent in the Garden of Eden and will be again in the New Heavens and New Earth, then why is sin/pain/death necessary in this life?

      The crux of this inquiry comes from the common assertion I hear from Christians that full human flourishing/fulfillment can only exist in an environment where evil, death and great loss/pain is possible. But, evil will not be possible in the New Heavens and New Earth. And many people will be there that did not have the opportunity to choose to be there (for example, miscarried babies, infants, young children and mentally ill or mentally challenged people), so the claim that the travails of this life are worth it (because of potential character formation) doesn’t apply to them.

      Andy

  17. God doesn’t allow death sickness or the killing of animals, people and the system allows this to happen. God is not the ruler of this system. There is plenty of food so why kill? People kill for sport, they murder their children, wifes, fathers, and animals are in the mist. People kill for no good reason. God does not have a part in this. Let’s but the blame where it belongs. There will be a day when God will put a end to this and sooner they you think..

  18. preeti love says:

    God doesn’t allow u to killing innocent animals n birds etc n proudly saying i,m a non veg . actually u are nothing.u have no heart . and when god will do some cruelty with u ,whole world ,universe cannot stop then.when God do same this with u then u realizes your thoughts, your karmas. then God say do u have pain ? or no pain?

  19. Arjun_L_Sen says:

    Excellent summing up of the situation. It confirms my suspicion that Christianity is a primitive religion of farmers and animal keepers who had no respect for animal life other than resources for human use.

    If Jesus was a manifestation of a good God he would have had a lot to say about animals but astonishingly he he appears to have nothing to say.

    As a propagator of human ethics he is astonishingly good but as a manifestation of some kind of cosmic truth he is useless and so is Christianity.

    So are all the other religions except Jainism and Buddhism. Even they are full of irrationalities. A friend of mine in Delhi,India took an injured owl to a Jain animal sanctuary. They refused to treat it because it was a bird of prey.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your hate for God is apparent, You have now brought this into the light. If you read the bible especially Job, but all throughout you will see God uses animals in abundance to show his authority and nature, and to prove his points. If Christ is useless for you it’s because you have things in your own heart you will not turn from although you have heard of Gods laws which were made clear to you.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I can’t stop crying over grizzly bear 399 and her cub Snowy that was hit by a car last Sunday. 399 tried to help her cub. Why would God allow this to happen? Animals must have feelings.

  21. Charles McGrath says:

    There is a fine line between honest inquiry and reasonable doubt and placing yourself as judge (god) over God (Romans 9:14-23 addresses this). The lie of the Garden is based on the desire to be as God judging over God. Sound bite answers are inadequate to a complex question like “why the innocent suffer,”, but I will attempt to do justice to the question. My answer is grounded in my Christian world view based on my understanding of the Bible as follows:

    1. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself for His glory through the drama of redemptive history for those who desire to know Him. God’s drama of creation, fall, redemption and glory is like an artist displaying a portrait of what is in his mind for the pleasure of showing and sharing for all the world to see. As an image-bearer, Adam portrayed many of God’s attributes and much about God was revealed through creation, but the Fall was also necessary to display more attributes (e.g. God’s justice, righteous wrath, mercy, forgiveness, redemptive nature, etc.). Thus, final judgment and redemption with a new heavens and earth will be more glorious than the garden before the fall because all of God’s magnificence will be revealed for eternity. Those who want to know, love and serve Him will share in His beauty and magnificence.

    2. Eternal life (as defined in John 17:3) is knowing the one true God through Messiah Jesus and those who know Him will partake as image-bearers in the divine nature (2Peter 1:3-4).

    3. God intended the Fall in which Adam represented all mankind. When we vote for a representative to act on our behalf, they often don’t do in our place what we would have done. But God can and did chose a perfect representative for humanity. Therefore, we all sinned and fell under judgment through Adam. In other words, God didn’t need to put us in the Garden of Eden to judge us, for that would redundantly only prove what God already knew and displayed in Adam. God is perfectly just in bringing us into a cursed world, temporarily influenced by Satan, under God’s wrath as a consequence of Adam’s rebellion. It’s as if God said, “So you prefer a world where you live under the authority of Satan, I will give you one. See what it is like to live in an age under the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:11-10). With the taste of the ugliness and seriousness of sin and a small taste of judgment around you, I will, in My mercy, provide a path to redemption for those who see their need and desire to come to Me.” But, for now, ALL creation groans (Romans 8:22) awaiting final redemption from the curse while we only see, in this present age, foretastes of the beauty of the past and the glory to come.

    4. In this temporary and cursed world under the influence of Satan, death and suffering are treated as normal in the Bible. From your apparent secular evolutionary world view “nature” is indifferent to both life and death, pain and suffering, etc. This leaves the paradox as why we, as meaningless, valueless, chance molecules, should value one over the other when “nature” doesn’t. Christians not only know that good and evil, pain and pleasure, calamity and prosperity are normal in this temporary fallen world, but also the future promises to put an end to pain and suffering in glory. The bible figures all accepted both blessings and curses as a temporary normal in this world. Read Job, the life of Joseph or David. Read 2Cor 11:23-29 where Paul recounts his beatings, stoning, hunger, thirst, perils, near-death experiences, shipwreck, sleeplessness, imprisonment, etc. in stark contrast to a comfortable life had he remained a Pharisee and a closet believer in Jesus. Read Hebrews 11:36-38 about the torture of men of faith. Yes, suffering and death are accepted as a “normal” part of the curse for the present age.

    5. As the Creator of life, only God has the authority to take life as He sees fit with His creation. He may designate that authority temporarily to some humans or human-run institutions to be instruments of His justice and divine will. But for humans to decide on their own volition to take a human life is murder. You have rights over what you own. If you choose to smash your computer, you are free to do so. But it would be evil for me to smash your computer without your permission. Likewise, God has prerogatives that I don’t. God can bring diseases on the animals to show what a cursed world is like. But I have no authority to display wrath. Instead I have the duty to show God’s grace by working toward cures and interpret the judgement in a way that points people to the redeemer. It is a category error to equate God’s taking a life with me taking a life where I have no God-given authority to do so.

    6. The ultimate evil was in taking the innocent life of Jesus. Jesus, the innocent one sent by God as the second Adam, the sinless representative of mankind, was murdered by His own humanity. Being God in human flesh, He was the offended party to whom the debt of sin is owed, the ultimate object of mankind’s rebellion. Thus, as God, the offended party, only He has the power and authority to forgive sin and be the second Adam. His laying down His life to take on the curse was the greatest act of love and goodness, paradoxically embodied in the greatest act of evil, the murder of the Son of God.

    7. The first animals to suffer death were killed by God, the owner of His creation, to provide a temporary blood sacrifice to cover Adam and Eve and point to the ultimate blood sacrifice of God Himself, for those who share in that sacrifice. In the day they ate of it, a substitute surely died.

    8. Humanity apart from God, tends to think if God exists, the here and now should be heaven on earth. That which rules over us/drives us, is not God, but pleasure (Philippians 3:19); therefore, our mind and desires are focused on the temporal (Rom 8:5-8) which provides no lasting purpose or satisfaction. We love the creation (owning, enjoying and using God’s stuff) without acknowledging, appreciating or honoring the Creator or His purposes. (Rom 1:18-24). Ignoring the Creator leaves us to take the throne to play god and even judge God with our standard of “good” and “evil” grounded on our likes and dislikes. In other words, our own character, as we idealize it, desires and emotions becomes the standard, replacing the character of God (reflected in His moral laws) and His desires as the standard of good and evil, right and wrong. Although created in God’s image, in our fallen state using our subjective standards makes us an inadequate judge. The bible says those who judge themselves by themselves are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12). Ironically, those who deny and dishonor God help prove the truth of the Bible about the state of mankind apart from God and therefore strengthen my faith.

    9. God is good and uses evil for His good purposes. This world’s temporary partial just judgment includes, disease, difficulties, obstacles, hurtfulness, suffering and death of the animals and the effects of sinful humanity are obscene, horrible, distasteful, awful and ugly. This is a fact of life in the bible, but disconcerting for those who play god. But when you say in your blog about animal suffering that, “what God did was wrong” your moral judgement in your meaningless amoral chance universe is Biblically incorrect and would be considered blasphemous. It is like calling a surgeon a terrorist because he cuts and hurts people in his line of work. God justly and temporarily ordains, intends, allows, provides means for and uses the evil and curses He placed on this planet for His good ends. For example, in Genesis, Joseph’s brothers had evil intent in their abuse, betrayal and selling their brother into slavery. Their actions were evil. But God provided the means and intended man’s evil actions for His good purposes, using it for revelation of His sovereignty and showing His redemptive nature and plan (Genesis 50:20). We see two personalities participating in the same action, one with evil intentions (Joseph’s brothers, the instrumental secondary cause) and the other, God, with good intentions (the primary cause).

    Genesis 50:20 As for you, you [my brothers] meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. NASB

    The greatest example of ultimate evil and abuse was at the cross. Those who perpetrated the murder of Jesus were evil, but God ordained, intended, predicted, allowed and provided the means to display through the crucifixion the ultimate act of goodness, love, mercy and kindness (Acts 2:23).

    Acts 2:23-24 This Man [Jesus], delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. NASB

    God is working all of redemptive history for ultimate good to display both His loving grace and mercy and His holiness and just wrath for all eternity through His drama pointing to Christ. Like it or not, you too are playing a role in God’s drama of redemptive history. Your role may be to spend eternity under the wrathful eye of God. In that case, you will be like the black velvet showcasing the beautiful diamond of God’s attributes of justice, holiness and wrath toward insubordination and His putting an end to evil forever. The sense that the world is broken and in need of repair will either drive you to God, or drive you to judge and deny God. Jesus, when questioned about God’s justice in singling out some for the suffering and dying when the tower of Siloam fell upon them (Luke 13:1-5) essentially said, “This life is short, so repent while you can, or you will likewise perish.”

    10. Animals are not innocent. Neither are they guilty. They are amoral. We don’t put a mountain lion on trial for murder when it mauls a child. You are wrong to ascribe a morality to animals assuming they “deserve” to be punished or rewarded here or experience a heaven or hell later. While they are sentient creatures with feelings and many lovable human-like attributes, they are as amoral as a rock. You personify their status beyond the Bible and certainly beyond an impersonal chance creation. Animals suffer and die because Adam (and we) sinned, putting Adam (and us) and his dominion (creation) under God’s partial judgment, tempered with grace, patience and restraint until the final judgment. If animals lived in a place that wasn’t under the curse of God, they would not suffer or die. There would be no diseases and their pain receptors would work only for the good of helping them avoid harm, as they only partially do now in this fallen world. But in a fallen world they have a different created purpose. Under God’s grace they provide food and their suffering and dying shows us the need for the redemption and restoration to come. In their wellness they are a testimony to God’s creative power and beauty, and in their diseases, disabilities, suffering and death a testimony to the seriousness of sin and a worse judgement to come for those who do not desire to know God. They testify to a God who promises a new heavens and a new earth for those who desire to know, love and serve Him and be with Him forever in all His glory. Perhaps in your naturalistic world view, animals simply testify to the randomness of an impersonal natural world of matter, where ultimately nothing really matters, where morality is a humanly devised power play, and extinction is the ultimate end. I believe the Christian world view, properly understood, offers the better explanation of reality as we experience it. The Christian and naturalistic world views cannot both be right – either God exists as revealed in the Bible or He doesn’t. I win either way. I enjoy my communion with my Creator, take comfort in His promises and plans, and have a satisfying purpose and role in His drama of redemptive history in this temporary partially judged fallen world. However, if the atheistic naturalistic world view is correct, I enjoy and experience a false sense of purpose, fulfillment and satisfaction from an imaginary god – then, I like you, go extinct. Win-win – so be it! As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19, if Christ is not resurrected, preaching is in vain, we are misrepresenting God, giving a false hope and we are most to be pitied. However, if Christ is raised as the firstfruits of all who believe, then those who deny God are most to be pitied.

    • Andy Rhodes says:

      You seem to hold a lot in common with young earth creationists, which goes against all mainstream science of the last several hundred years.

      Without the “death” or destruction of stars, there is no “life” or creation of the chemistry and physics necessary for the development of planets and ecosystems. Without entropy, cell death, consumption, digestion, excrement and disease, there are no sustainable organisms population control.

      Without predation, sharks, tigers and spiders have no place in creation. Without earthquakes and plate tectonics, there would be no land masses or life upon them. The elements mentioned above and the rest of what philosphers and theologians call the “natural evils”, like hurricanes, famine, tornadoes, horrible pain, etc., are normative in this cosmos. To remove any of those aspects is to require a radically different universe. How can you explain this?

      You said, “If animals lived in a place that wasn’t under the curse of God, they would not suffer or die. There would be no diseases and their pain receptors would work only for the good of helping them avoid harm, as they only partially do now in this fallen world.”

      This is extremely far-fetched. How can you justify it?

      You said, “The Christian and naturalistic world views cannot both be right – either God exists as revealed in the Bible or He doesn’t. I win either way. I enjoy my communion with my Creator, take comfort in His promises and plans, and have a satisfying purpose and role in His drama of redemptive history in this temporary partially judged fallen world. However, if the atheistic naturalistic world view is correct, I enjoy and experience a false sense of purpose, fulfillment and satisfaction from an imaginary god – then, I like you, go extinct. Win-win – so be it!”

      This is essentially Pascal’s Wager. It does no good for you or anyone else. Betting on things in this way removes the biblical requirement of sincerity in belief and obedience as a disciple. Further, if Christianity is not true, then you have contributed to immense suffering upon humans who were falsely intimidated into wasting large portions of their lives worrying about internal levels of sinful motivations to extreme degrees and about non-existent battles between invisible forces of good and evil and the terror and anxiety of a possible future in an everlasting torture chamber known as the biblical hell. There is a much longer list of violations against humanity because of many biblical teachings and I mentioned several of them in my first response to you. Lastly, if Christianity is not true, then so much lifelong effort by believers has been in vain and much misery and dread has been disseminated for no reason. Truly despicable and wasteful.

    • Arjun_L_Sen says:

      A very long and confused diatribe of doctrinaire Christian drivel. It simply confirms my views. To describe animals as “amoral” is mistaken. Animals have no capacity for morality, they lie outside it, that is what makes them innocent. Amorality is a human characteristic, identified not by innocence but wilful discarding of The Golden Rule inherent in all human hearts.

      You are deluded.

    • MJMR says:

      Thank you for an excellent & well reasoned post, Charles McGrath.

    • Tyrone Perry says:

      I support & love everything u posted.U represent yourself very well & as a man of religious authority.I googled your name & found a gentlemen who is a NY writer & author.Is he u or r u a pastor,minister,doctor,or preacher of some sought?
      In keeping with the topic: I personally believe people just underestimate the POWER OF GOD.Like He can create a universe,split a sea in half & perform all sorts of marvelous wonders,but 4 some reason He cannot not go against the laws of science, what makes sense,& is studied by mortals.Remember it is written that GOD creates evil! Yes GOD can do ANYTHING 4 His purpose!!

  22. Ethan says:

    Maybe you should read Isaiah where it says that the lion will lay with the lamb peacefully, yes there will be animals in heaven! Rather then insult God maybe you should read the bible, God loves his creatures it’s Satan who hates them and helps the evil abuse gods creations!

    • Hi Ethan,

      The verse you are referring to is in Isaiah 11, and is believed (by Christians) to refer to the 1,000 year kingdom of Christ on earth (so… not in heaven).

      Also please note the quotes I reference above, it is not I, but other Christians who have concluded that animals do not have souls, and do not go to heaven. You’re welcome to disagree with them, but you should have some scripture to back it up (I don’t think Isaiah 11 is going to change any minds).

      Thanks,
      500Q

    • Andy Rhodes says:

      Ethan,

      Why did God make carnivores like lions and sharks that cause other animals to suffer by eating them alive? God designed and created these animals before Adam and Eve sinned.

    • Arjun_L_Sen says:

      God is a big stupid monster in a fictitious heaven invented by primitive desert peoples to reflect their social concerns. I am not a materialist, I believe in the Great Spirit but nit in Yhwh-God-Allah.

    • Dori Herndon says:

      It’s the wolf and the lamb. Lion and the lamb isn’t in the Bible. But yes, there are lots of animals on God’s holy hill Zion living peacefully together. There are also plenty of verses all throughout the Bible saying that God loves and cares for all He has made. It would take hours to find them all. But think about the sparrows that God says He cares for. The story of Balaam and his donkey and how the angel fussed at Balaam for abusing his donkey. The angel even threatened to kill Balaam but spare the donkey. There are places where animals are praying, crying out to God and God promises to take care of them. A place in Proverbs says a kind man takes care of his animals, but the wicked are cruel to theirs. Animals are included in the Sabbath rest. Romans 8 talks about the future glory which ALL CREATION will share. So yes, I guess that includes single celled creatures and extinct creations. He promises to restore the earth to like it was before sin and that would include animals. Revelations 5:13 – And I heard every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, saying, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever!”
      There is still room for debate in that it’s not always clear which verses are referring to the Heaven, the 1000 year reign of Christ, or the restored earth. But all things were created by God and for God. Colossians 1:16-17. The earth was NOT made for humans. It was made for God and by God.

      • Andy Rhodes says:

        You referred to a lot of biblical content. How does that have anything to do with the fact that Satan can’t create anything and predators were made by God long before sin entered the world?

        Aside from that, these pre-Fall “natural evils” must be explained: earthquakes, disease, volcanoes, floods, meteors, tsunamis, etc. To say that these didn’t exist before sin is to deny that the creatures God originally made have any similarities to creatures (including humans) alive today.

        For example, without disease there is no population control for species and without earthquakes and volcanoes there would be no land masses. Without decay and cell death, animals couldn’t breathe, move, build muscle, eat or produce waste products. The Garden of Eden is so incredibly far-fetched as to be impossible to explain. In actuality, everything that was said to exist then still exists now and yet nothing that exists now could exist then in any form. In fact, death is natural and generative. That’s what every field of science says. See: http://thegreatstory.org/charts/death.html. This also means that horrendous suffering was built into the cosmos. If there’s a God, he/she/it intricately designed death and suffering from the beginning.

        Science is very clear about the fact that the same principles in biology, physics, chemistry, etc., were necessarily in effect from the early eras of the universe’s natural history.

        • Dori Herndon says:

          If you are really interested in finding out answers, you might want to read Randy Alcorn’s book about Heaven. It’s a long book, but it addresses the issue of decay in the garden of Eden. Before sin the world was perfect and while you’ve made some good points, I don’t see why you think there had to be earthquakes and such in Eden.

          As for death and decay of cells, I’m not sure that counts. Maybe, but I’m not sure since they don’t have life blood or the breath of life. Life is defined by breath and blood, -Biblically speaking.

          On God’s holy hill Zion, the lion will eat straw like the ox. But it says nothing will be hurt or destroyed so one can assume nothing is hurt or destroyed when plants are eaten. And in the garden of Eden it says that everything was a vegetarian. Genesis 1:29-30.

          I don’t know if lions had sharp teeth then. There are vegetarian animals with sharp teeth today. (Ever been bitten by a rabbit. I have.) And there’s a type of deer with huge fangs. You could do a search of fanged deer and check out the freaky photos. It looks like a Dracula hybrid. So, even if God made animals with sharp teeth, that doesn’t mean they had to eat meat. Fruit bats have mouths full of sharp teeth. There are very few true carnivorous even today after the fall. And it could be that things changed after sin. The bible says that after sin, the earth would produce thorns. Apparently, there were no thorns before sin. Perhaps they were there, but were dormant. The same could be said of diseases.

          Here’s where we would get into the very confusing and much-debated preknowledge thing. Did God have thorns in the ground ready to make them grow after man sinned? Did He have some animals so they could eat meat even though they currently didn’t? Surely He knew sin was going to happen and that He needed to be ready. So why did He allow sin? Maybe to let us know what a world with sin would be like so when He restores creation we would never want it that way again. The theories are endless.

          God told the animals and people to be fruitful – to fill up the earth. Perhaps once it was full, He would have them stop breeding or, according to some non-Biblical but possible theories, other planets would be habitual. I can’t recall all the names off hand, but Billy Graham and others have theorized we might inhabit other planets after creation is restored.

          One of my favorite verses is Romans 8: 18-25 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

          Please know only God can answer all your questions. I can only offer possible explanations. It mostly comes down to rather or not you want to seek God and answers, or only seek problems with God. I admit the later can be easier to find. I guess that’s why so many verses talk about how important it is to seek God with all your heart and with perseverance.

          • Andy Rhodes says:

            I’m an ex-Christian and used to say many of the same kinds of things you said there, which generally make sense given certain theological and biblical assumptions.

            However, what you’ve stated is all pure assertion with no evidence or remotely plausible framework. I know that an appeal to the mystery of God can always be made. But, at some point, the radically far-fetched nature of the Garden of Eden story must be recognized. The same is true with the Flood story and many other biblical events. The most startling to me is the idea that the whole Earth fell into catastrophic disarray after one rebellious choice by two human beings – this is a stretch of imagination that is light years beyond any concept of fairness, proportionality or realism. It simply doesn’t sound remotely true. That is, unless we accept presuppositions that have no precedent in modern daily experience. The radically disproportionate punishments of the Bible follow the same pattern.

            Regarding your comments on the Garden of Eden, what you’re asking me to consider is that carnivores with bodies clearly designed for killing other animals weren’t like that before Adam and Eve sinned.

            Science in many diverse fields has tons of evidence to show that non-human animals killed each other before humans existed, whether the Earth is 6,000-10,000 years old as Young Earth Creationists claim or 4.5 billion years ago as every non-religious university in the world asserts.

            You’re asking me to consider that sharks, lions, snakes, t-rexs, etc, were eating plants before humans arrived. Do you recognize how outlandish this is?

            I’m not trying to be insulting. But, there is no evidence or coherent theoretical model of a peaceful pre-Fall state or of a Fall or of humanity originating from two human beings. Modern science is clear that species don’t come from original single pairs – they spread out in messy directions like the branches of a tree.

            • Dori Herndon says:

              My dad was a science teacher in public high schools. I was raised to know about and believe in evolution. I had no problem with it. I was a young adult when I found out something that made me question the truthfulness of what’s in accepted science books. Basically, if they have however much evidence suits them at the time, they will declare it as truth and it’s put in texts books and commonly accepted science books when they really have no way of knowing. In this case, it had little to nothing to do with the creation/evolution debate. Did you know nobody really knows if dinosaurs were cold-blooded reptiles? There’s no way to tell that for sure from fossils and there’s a lot of debate because they have about as much in common with today’s mammals as they do reptiles. It was just declared truth, because that made the most sense at the time. It was probably at least 20 years of gradual learning before I became more of a creationist than a theistic evolutionist.

              I don’t see how some people have no problem saying all life evolved from a single cell but think it’s impossible for all varieties to come from the animals on Noah’s ark. Creation/evolution is another debate, not necessarily related to this topic, except if evolution is true, then there was animals suffering when God said it was good. One thing to consider, evolution by natural selection – it selects the best genes to survive in that area and then you don’t have more diversity, you have less of one as only some can survive and the rest die off. There is less genetic information. The evidence shows that the first one/ones were loaded with really good genes so all needed traits could be selected when needed and animals can survive even when a lot of information is lost. Natural selection cannot create and it cannot select from what’s not already there.

              Of course the Garden of Eden is hard to imagine, or is it? Every culture has stories of animals and people living peacefully with each other and humans and even talking to each other. It’s as if somehow we all feel that’s the way it should be no matter what a creature looks like. If God is powerful enough to create a universe, He just might be strong enough to pull it off.

              It’s certainly a matter of having faith in what is not seen as it says in Romans 8. And when it comes right down to it, all we have is hope. But wow, oh wow, what a wonderful hope it is and why give it up? The Bible talks about running the race with perseverance. What if we give up, and we were almost there?

              I understand what you are saying. I have been very close to giving up on God so many many times, but then what choice did I have? Is there a god or goddess that will do what I want and think he or she should do? Is no god really an option? When I hold a deceased pet in my arms I not only hold all the ingredients for life, but they are all put to together and ready to go. But I can’t just get new batteries. The breath of life is gone and nobody on earth has the power to get a new breath of life once it’s truly gone. The breath of life is not found in the earth. Ingredients for life do not contain the breath of life. And there’s so much information in every creature. Did it just magically appear? My twins have the same genetics and environment, but I have no doubt they each have their own personalized breath of life/ soul. Something totally unexplainable and miraculous happened no matter which side you take on the creation/evolution debate. Either way, it takes faith in the unseen.

              There’s the debate of which god. If it’s not the Christian/Jewish God then it doesn’t matter. As far as I know, no other religion has a god that takes sin so very very seriously and yet has a Savior to pay for them. I believe the horrible death on the cross was necessary because sin is so painfully serious and horrible. I don’t think it would do us any good to have a god that is okay with sin, nor do I think it would do us any good to have a god that doesn’t have a way for us to be redeemed.

              As often as I have felt like giving up on God, I keep concluding that, like it or not, it’s that or nothing. Maybe that’s not a faith to brag about, but at the moment it’s all I have so why give it up? Who knows, the race might almost be over.

              • Andy Rhodes says:

                These are certainly very complicated subjects and can be debated and studied indefinitely.

                I don’t see how a person can just skip over the fact that sharks, snakes and lions are built for killing other animals. Further, the pre-human fossil record is full of evidence of predation.

                Imagining a biology without death and disease is to completely re-invent our entire system of nature. It’s also to deny the physics, chemistry, etc. that we know was in place before humans arrived.

                The chance of 99% of scientists all being incompetent or involved in a conspiracy while the remaining 1% happen to be competent and honest………is absurdly small.

                In 2006, the now president of the National Center for Science Education, Brian Alters, said, “Overall, the nation has a big problem…Approximately half of the U.S. population thinks evolution does (or did) not occur. While 99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution, 40 to 50 percent of college students do not accept evolution and believe it to be ‘just’ a theory.”

                https://nihrecord.nih.gov/newsletters/2006/07_28_2006/story03.htm

                It’s also incredibly suspicious that the scientists who, virtually without exception, believe in young earth creationism are all conservative Christians. If the science was strong for their position, there should be a much larger percentage of scientists in their camp. The reply that all of these scientists who say young earth creationism is not supported by facts are lying or trying to fight against God……is radically unbelievable.

                You said, “Every culture has stories of animals and people living peacefully with each other and humans and even talking to each other.”

                That’s not true by a long shot. Very few cultures have stories like that.

                You said, “As often as I have felt like giving up on God, I keep concluding that, like it or not, it’s that or nothing. ”

                Why is it “that or nothing”?

                • Dori Herndon says:

                  Why is it “that or nothing”? Because without God everything comes from nothing, goes to nothing, and amounts to nothing and there is no hope for us or anybody we love. They all have or will be nothing.

                  I don’t see how it’s such a problem to believe God could have made creatures with the ability to kill, but they didn’t in the beginning. He made humans with the ability to sin but they didn’t for a while. He made the ground so it could produce thorns, but it didn’t at first. I’m not sure how much animals today look like the ones in the Garden of Eden. Most creationists believe in evolution within the limits of the information already there. There would be no need for polar bears to have such warm coats when the world was always a pleasant temperature. But apparently, the information needed was there. There are plenty of creatures today that have genes for long and short hair. But in cold climates, only those with genes for long hair would survive and the others would likely die.

                  To say that most scientists believe something means, well nothing, at least as far as what the truth is. History is full of examples of times when the vast majority, no matter how educated, interpreted the evidence wrong. One of many examples – there’s a creature commonly called a horse hair worm because it was believed it was horse hair that came alive when it fell in water. There were/are plenty of good reasons to believe this. They are mostly found in horse pastures and look like horse hair. I can personally testify that they do. In fact, I had never seen a horse hair worm until I had horses in the pasture. And they would just appear there in shallow water where the horses frequently went. At least that’s the main place I saw them. And they were the same color as the mane of one of the horses. Surely that’s enough evidence to convince anybody who’s not foolish. (In case you’re curious, they are really parasites spread by insects and harmless to animals.)

                  Also, what scientists were surveyed and whom did they consider to be a scientist. Most fields of science have little to nothing to do with evolution. Studying things creatures have in common and their differences is certainly valuable. (It’s how I know that my goats need extra copper, but that much could cause a sheep copper toxicity problems.) And how many surveyed, really experimented and observed the evidence for themselves versus how many just accepted the established interpretations.

                  And how was evolution defined and to what extreme? As I said, most creationists believe in evolution within limits. You could ask a 1000 people if they believed abortion should be legal, then ask those same people if partial birth abortion should be legal with no medical reason, and then ask those same people if abortion should be legal in the case of tubal pregnancy. You’d probably get very different results every time as you specify more what you mean. You could likely say 99.9 percent of people believe abortion should be legal if you only asked about tubal pregnancy.

                  I am puzzled by something in the article of the link you sent.
                  “We’ve all seen evolution presented as the sequential morphing of ape to human over time. Raff says this can be “effective, but misleading.” He stressed that in reality, “evolution happens one generation at a time, during development.”
                  I’m not sure what’s he’s trying to say is misleading. Humans evolving from apes is not a Darwinian belief. But it sounds like he’s saying that what’s misleading is the way it is presented.

                  Finally, if everybody who is saying the Bible isn’t true really wants to disprove it, they just need to stop scoffing at it. 2 Peter 3: 3-6 says that scoffers will greatly increase and it mentions the creation, the flood, and people assuming that everything has always been the same.

          • Andy Rhodes says:

            I have read much of Randy Alcorn’s book, “Heaven”. I found it to be well written and researched. But, it’s based on pure assertions with no evidence or a plausible theoretical model in which animals and nature otherwise from a pre-Fall state could transition into what we have now, especially given the mountains of evidence that science has found to dispute this idea of a peaceful earlier state.

  23. pandharkar shivaji says:

    man made religion always creates god favorable to human being only .all abrahamic religions are only favour to human beings and hates animals. these are wrong man made religions.

  24. Tamara Yancosky Moore says:

    There is God. There is Jesus Christ. We are incapable of comprehending the Wisdom of The All Knowing One. If you could even vaguely comprehend God’s Wisdom, then you’d be asking all the right questions, which you are not. You are asking questions from your very limited human understanding. It’s okay to ask questions, but it’s not okay to attempt to disprove God’s Existence simply because you do not understand His Ways or Reasons.

    • Hi Tamara,

      With all due respect, let me attempt to explain why I do not find these statements very compelling.

      “There is God. There is Jesus Christ.”

      Here, any God could be inserted in God’s place, and it wouldn’t make the statement any more true. “There is one God, and he is Ahura Mazda!” Convinced?

      “We are incapable of comprehending the Wisdom of The All Knowing One.”

      Again, any believer in ANY god could claim the same thing. I could say, “We are incapable of comprehending the wisdom of The Flying Spaghetti Monster!” It doesn’t prove he exists, or that he has any knowledge at all.

      “If you could even vaguely comprehend God’s Wisdom, then you’d be asking all the right questions, which you are not.”

      Once again, someone could argue, “If you could even vaguely comprehend Zeus’s Wisdom, then you’d be asking all the right questions, which you are not.” Convinced yet?

      And what are the right questions? And if you can’t ask them until you vaguely comprehend God, and you can’t vaguely comprehend God until you’ve asked the right questions… well…

      “It’s okay to ask questions, but it’s not okay to attempt to disprove God’s Existence simply because you do not understand His Ways or Reasons.”

      Let me rephrase that once again. What if people had said for 2000 years, “It’s okay to ask questions, but it’s NOT okay to attempt to disprove Zeus’s existence simply because you do not understand his ways or reasons!” It’s a GOOD thing that we ask questions and try to disprove these gods, because if they truly exist, there will be more to them than a bunch of statements that could be used to defend any imaginary god.

      500Q

    • Arjun_L_Sen says:

      You think you do because you believe in a primitive stupid old book that defies the wisdom of the heart? Good luck. Believe in your book. There is a Great Mind at the heart of the Cosmos but it did not authorise this book of a desert tribe of ancient times.

      • Forgiven says:

        I do apologize for making you angry by reading and responding to your post. I will make sure I do not cause you any more bad feelings by no longer reading your blog. Thank you.

        • Forgiven says:

          This was to the above commenter, BTW. Got a bit mixed up on who the author was. I do apologize. I just thought we might discuss and not create a lashing out at others (above commented). Thank you

  25. Anonymous says:

    Why do people kill animal for food when we can get all we need from the plants.
    We are humans and what if someone ask,’ do you know everything in this universe?’
    Our obvious answer would be No,we do not know everything. Then do we know 50 percent about this universe? No. We do not know even 50 percent of it. But let’s suppose we know 50 percent of everything about this universe. Then is it not likely that GOD exist in the other 50 percent that we know nothing about?
    Science has developed in leap and bounds in this modern era but it still cannot explain the paranormal activities that is recorded throughout human history and is still happening today.we cannot discredit altogether it as many are documented facts categorised as X file cases lying somewhere in restricted Goverment institution around the world.
    The practice if killing animal has everything to do with the unknown side of the universe that our ancester have acknowledged it and the culture continues till this day.
    Then you will know the truth,and the truth will set you free”. John 8:12

  26. Tyrone Perry says:

    It shakes my faith 2 the foundation & im disturbed very much about babies being raped & animals suffering,,dying & even being hunted until death,but wicked men r responsible 4 much of this.The question I have is y does GOD allow this? I watched a television program about a bison that could not keep up with its herd,because it could not find enough grass or protein 4 energy underneath the snow at Yellowstone National Park.The snow just became 2 deep 4 its neck muscles,it gave up, suffered & died.Heartbreaking.Another program that sticks in my memory was about a lioness whose jaw became detached due 2 some tragic circumstance that happened 2 her.She could not even lap up water & was obviously going 2 starve or die from thirst.I am deeply saddened by these tragic stories & there r many things about life that r cruel,disturbing & unfair,but can I put the blame on our creator? Should I automatically assume he does not exist or if he does,he must be evil 4 letting things like this happen,or should I humble myself & understand that I do not know everything.I do not know y GOD does or does not allow things 2 happen as they do.Maybe these unfortunate animals have a wonderful existence 2 look 4ward 2 after their death.Maybe these animals did something in their life that was displeasing 2 GOD.Maybe GOD does not interfare with the animal kingdom & leaves it completely up 2 us since we have dominion on earth.Do I really know? Does anybody really know? Should we have the audacity 2 judge the creator of everything? Do we know better than the 1 who knows best? Can we create a better planet? Can we even create a single star? Do we know how 2 create life without using life? That’s my opinion anyway.
    Ecclesiastes 7:13 Accept the way GOD does things,for who can straighten what he has made crooked?

    • Dori Herndon says:

      Your comment sound like the end of the book of Job. After Job understandably complains about all his suffering, God finally “answers”. He doesn’t at all answer the why, but points out that He knows a lot more than Job.

      • Tyrone Perry says:

        I know.Moral of the story; Don’t dare question how Thee Almighty operates! We don’t know what wonderful things he has planned 4 his creation.

        • Dori Herndon says:

          I don’t know that it’s wrong to question. Job was still called righteous even after questioning God and he wasn’t scolded for questioning. It’s just kind of pointless. Maybe like a two-year-old questioning his/her parents. And Thomas was never scolded for doubting.

          • Tyrone Perry says:

            Im sorry just realized u responded.
            Of course it’s normal 2 question.What im stating is do not doubt how GOD does things like He does not know what He is doing.We should stand humbly & trustingly b4 our Creator.GOD alone knows & understands all things.Even if we feel like what He does is evil or makes no sense at all.Doubting GOD will only accomplish lack of faith,rebellion & can lead 2 our destruction.Like u said we are His children & should learn that even with all the suffering we witness in the world that will sometimes lead us 2 doubt,GOD still loves us dearly & is with us.

    • Andy Rhodes says:

      Hi Tyrone,

      I can deeply relate to how you said this problem of animal suffering affects your faith at central level.

      We don’t have the ability to know everything or judge God with a capitol “J”. But, we can evaluate the data from nature, scripture and our personal experience and then decide how things appear to us. Shouldn’t an all-good God appear to behave at a higher ethical level than us? Responding to this question, as many Christians do, by saying God’s ways are beyond our understanding is likely to be a cop out, at least to some significant degree. How can God expect us to use our conscience as an initial guide for moral choices, but then present us with so many atrocities in nature and the Bible?

      As I said above in an earlier post:

      “And God built in horrendous suffering to animal life, far apart from anything humans can do….For 300+ million years, literally trillions of sentient being suffered starvation, terror, being eaten alive, etc. By design.”

      It’s one very real ethical problem to look at how much terrible pain and suffering God allows for humans and nonhuman animals and yet still believe God is all-good. But, at much more fundamental level, God made the universe in a particular way that guarantees it will happen a lot. Given that the Bible teaches that severe pain, sin and death will not exist in the New Heavens and New Earth, why wouldn’t God create an environment like this from the start? The soul-making argument advanced by some theologians saying that the struggles and hurts of this life are present to challenge us to develop our spiritual character and/or so people will have the opportunity freely choose to follow Jesus is cancelled out by the fact that billions of people will avoid Hell and instead enter Heaven without choosing God: miscarried babies, infants, young children, the mentally handicapped and potentially the unevangelized adults throughout history). Further, the offer of “love and worship and trust God or else” is not a fair and free arrangement of options.

      I think it’s more honest and logical to say that God must be at least partly evil. There is much good and beauty in the cosmos that I give God credit for as well.

      Andy

      • Tyrone Perry says:

        GOD is good Andy,
        I have 2 try 2 keep this response brief,because this page is not loading properly or im having a computer glitch & my responses r not being posted.
        U state that when u evaluate data & such,but do u not c that is where u r mistaken?Spiritual truths cannot be known through science,human reasoning or wisdom.
        GOD’s Word informs us over & over that we will not understand Him using human intelligence.I’ll summarize;
        1 Corinthians 1:21 The world will never know Him through human wisdom.
        1 Corinthians 2:12 People r controlled by the world’s spirit or worlds view & spiritual truths sound foolish 2 them.
        1 Corinthians 3:18 We have 2 become fools 2 be truly wise.
        Isiah 45:7 I create darkness & calamity
        Yes GOD can do ANYTHING! So no GOD does not have 2 behave according 2 our standards!
        I heard a preacher state that life is a test 2 c if we will observe everything in life & choose GOD’s way or the highway.R we going 2 choose GOD or become sooo wise & proud in our human reasoning that we begin 2 question, doubt & believe He is wrong & His way doesn’t make a bit of sense.This is all written already.Is this not what Satan did???
        Some1 stated it the best in the previous comments.We might as well call surgeons butchers because they cut & hurt people in the process of getting things right.
        I’ll leave u with this;
        2 Thessalonians 2:11 GOD will cause the faithless 2 be GREATLY DECEIVED!

  27. Karen says:

    I stopped believing in God this past year because of how He allows rabbits to suffer. There is this huge rabbit meat farm back East here in the US. They are a very rich company yet won’t invest in a proper stun gun or even a super quick “humane” way to kill the rabbits prior to slaughter. They instead take the dull end of the slaughter knife & smack the rabbit several times on the top of its head until the bunny falls into convulsions, then they hang it upside down on the slaughter rack, breaking one of its hind legs in the process to make sure it stays there, the bunny usually wakes up due to that sudden extreme pain of having its leg broken, screams in terror and acute pain, then they hack at it, slicing it’s neck. I am totally serious on this. The animal rescue group Last Chance For Animals went under cover to film it. Anyway, I can’t think of any other animal on Earth more kind, gentle, & adorable than a Rabbit, and it does not deserve such a cruel, tortured death. These are rabbits that have never hopped in grass or did their cute, little bunny flips in the air. They’ve never even tasted carrot tops or a piece of banana. And they get to watch their only friends die in front of them. I can tell (all) of you right now that Rabbits have souls. I know this because I was at the Vets office when my sister had to put her (12) yr old rabbit to sleep because he lost use of his hind legs and was having seizures everyday due to old age. It was the kindest thing to do because he couldn’t even use the bathroom anymore on his own. He lived indoors and had a very good life. Anyway, the Vet couldn’t find a vein on him to put that sleep medicine in him so she over dosed him on Morphine in a shot to his tummy. It was painless. (3o) mins later, he was completely asleep. As my sister, Mom, & me leaned over him, kissing him, petting, saying good bye, the Vet took that sleep medicine & put it into his heart, he didn’t feel anything because he was already sedated asleep. All of a sudden, once half of the medicine went into him, me, my Mom, The Vet and my sister, all felt “Whinnie’s” soul leave his body & goes right through all of us. We all felt him leave his body. My sister & the Vet felt him the most but he went out of his body, right through us & straight up. We were all shocked but so happy too! We knew he was with God. The Vet who saw a lot of rabbits back then, STOPPED seeing rabbits, all rabbits, except for my sister’s other rabbit. She also became a Christian instead of just a science minded doctor. That experience helped the Vet see animals totally differently. And it changed my entire family & how we treated animals after that too. We became mush closer to our pets, letting them all sleep inside, feeding them better quality food, more toys, more kisses. things like that. But when I saw that video of what Man is doing to bunny’s at that meat farm, I just can’t bring myself to love God anymore. If I don’t love God, how can I believe in Him anymore? Not even my worst enemy deserves to die how those rabbits are dying. I want God to explain why these rabbits need to be tortured prior to death because there is no part of me that understands it. If He can;t explain it to me someone, I can;t be His follower anymore. The God I loved wasn’t cruel. He was full of mercy but the God of today’s world seems to be a much different person.

    • Tyrone Perry says:

      That story is so sad.I also own a rabbit,so I completely understand.If u turn your back on GOD you’re only hurting yourself.Babies get raped & murdered also.We live in a broken world corrupted by sin & the evil that men do.U stated that u know Whinnie had a soul & he/she is with GOD now.Don’t u want 2 join him & all your loved ones in eternal happiness? If u don’t there’s only 1 other alternative. Keep your faith,don’t be foolish & fall where the Devil will catch u.

    • Anonymous says:

      The rabbit’s meat farm is truly one of a very sad scenes….words can’t explain why/ how these and many other innocent animals have to endure at the hands of men. I think we live in a society where basic compassion, kindness, and mercy is long lost. These qualities are no longer valued, and instead, we embrace obsessions with greed, power, and a sense of “rights” to live however we choose fit.

      I sure hope God take mercy and love those rabbits because there’s absolutely no other way that those who killed and tortured these rabbits can feel anything for what they had done to those rabbits.

    • Arjun_L_Sen says:

      This is a wonderful and very important story! Thank you forvsharing it wirh us.

  28. Brian says:

    Descartes was a fraud and a bigot who spread lies about the Catholic Church during the “enlightenment.” Liberal vermin like him are responsible for providing a psuedo intellectual framework that lead to the deaths of thousands of people in France. The only time he should be quoted is to illustrate the relationship between liberal idealogy and the decay of Western society.

    • Andy Rhodes says:

      Descartes certainly did damage to the rights of animals by influencing people toward the belief that these creatures were just machines and couldn’t feel pain.

      Regarding the (quite imperfectly) positive influence of the 17th century Age of Reason and 18th century Enlightenment, I’ve written an article titled, “Now – The Most Peaceful Time In World History”.

      https://persuademepolitics.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/now-the-most-peaceful-time-in-world-history

      Here’s an excerpt (which on the web page is followed by dozens of charts and data to support the commentary):

      ———————————————————————–

      Much of the information below comes from Steven Pinker’s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. This remarkable text evaluates and combines the work of dozens of historians to show that, contrary to popular opinion on the left and right, the planet has become far more peaceful than in any other time in history. Terrible things like the following are in radical decline (or in some cases have been eliminated): warfare, rape, murder, judicial torture, child abuse, legal and illegal slavery, use of the death penalty, robbery, infanticide, bullying, lynchings, corporal punishment, misogyny, theft, domestic abuse, racism, blood sports, religious persecution, burglary, debtors’ prisons, sexism, abortion, dueling, property crime, witchhunts and animal abuse. This process started when societies began to organize away from hunter-gatherer communities between 7,000-10,000 years ago into structured civilizations, but shifted to an accelerated level of reform during the 18th century’s Age of Enlightenment and afterward. By absolute numbers and percentage of population, the trend is downward in violent behavior.

      Whether intentionally or not, the media often makes the global situation look like everything is getting worse or at least not significantly improving. That’s just not the case when it comes to acts of violence. There still is plenty of harm being done by humans to one another, but thankfully it’s far less prevalent overall than in 1965 or 1805 or 1585. Through a very large range of historical narratives, archaeological evidence and statistics, the human condition generally reveals itself as more barbarous the further backward one looks. On a recent note, the U.S. crime rate now is half of what it was in the early 1990s. This includes places known to be more dangerous like Baltimore, Washington D.C, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia. Between 1973 and 2008, rape decreased by 80% and murder became 40% less common. According to the FBI, from 2001-2010, the crime rates went down in categories of violent crime (20%), forcible rape (13.8%), robbery (19.7%), aggravated assault (20.8%) and motor vehicle theft (44.5%).

      When using percentage of population as a guide to study the scale of war related deaths, the worst atrocities of the 20th century don’t top the historical list. Just 4 horrific events of the 1900s make it into the top 20. Only 1 makes the top 10, as WWII ranks 9th. Archaeological studies from 21 prehistoric sites of eras as far back as 16,000 years ago show on average a very high 15% violent death rate because of trauma evidence in the skeletal remains. Examinations of 8 hunter-gatherer societies demonstrated a level of about 13%, whereas in 10 studies of hunter-horticulturalists and other tribal peoples the rate was almost 30%. The Middle Ages hovered under 10% and gradually lessened. The first half of 20th century, even with all of its devastation and human suffering, had a rate of a much smaller 3%, when counting lives lost in war, genocide and human-caused famine. That number drops significantly if one includes the second half of the century, where none of the top 44 nations in GDP entered into warfare with each other. European powers had been starting two armed conflicts each year since 1400 and this totally ceased. Further shocking the typical political patterns of world history, no nation added new territory by force and the colonial powers of Europe actually gave up the bulk of their conquered lands. The 21st century is astronomically low in comparison, 0.03%. That’s 500 times less than typical prehistoric levels of brutality and nearly 1000 times below the average rate for hunter-horticulturalists and other tribal groups. Contrast modern levels of carnage to that of the American Wild West, where the percentages ranged up to 30% or higher in each town. 20th century England’s murder rate, for another example, was 19 times lower than in the 14th century. Now, it’s 35 times less.

      —————————————————-

      The Wikipedia page about this book summarizes the proposed causes for the decline in violence:

      ——————————————–

      Pinker identifies five “historical forces” that have favored “our peaceable motives” and “have driven the multiple declines in violence.” They are:

      The Leviathan – The rise of the modern nation-state and judiciary “with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force,” which “can defuse the [individual] temptation of exploitative attack, inhibit the impulse for revenge, and circumvent…self-serving biases.”

      Commerce – The rise of “technological progress [allowing] the exchange of goods and services over longer distances and larger groups of trading partners,” so that “other people become more valuable alive than dead” and “are less likely to become targets of demonization and dehumanization”;

      Feminization – Increasing respect for “the interests and values of women.”
      Cosmopolitanism – the rise of forces such as literacy, mobility, and mass media, which“can prompt people to take the perspectives of people unlike themselves and to expand their circle of sympathy to embrace them”;

      The Escalator of Reason – an “intensifying application of knowledge and rationality to human affairs,” which “can force people to recognize the futility of cycles of violence, to ramp down the privileging of their own interests over others’s, and to reframe violence as a problem to be solved rather than a contest to be won.”

      From – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature

  29. Vicki says:

    All I see is a debate blaming God for animal suffering. What are you all actually doing about it? words are cheap. However animals came about, they do feal suffering and it is at our hands, NOT God’s.!
    And, what about the horrors to children – abuse, child sex trade, pornography – if this not evil then I don’t know what is!
    Well, tell me, what are you actually doing apart from blaming a God you don’t even believe in huh?
    I can tell you that it is the Christian Ministries that are working to make a change in many of these areas – World Vision, Child Fund, Salvation Army, Habitat For Humanity, Tear Fund, even St John Ambulance (I suppose the name is a hint). That is just a few of the well known organisations.
    Please tell me what your god is doing to make the world a better place? And also explain where your morals actually came from? If they ‘developed’ then who says you are right to feel angry about animals being mistreated – some people do not feel the same, in fact some people enjoy causing pain to humans and animals – where do you draw the line if society keeps changing? As it does, no denying this.

    Yes, I am a Christian. My family are also vegetarian because we will not support the way farm animals are mistreated. We have many animals, rescued and loved as part of the family – as I feel God intended.

    • Dori Herndon says:

      I’m also a vegetarian Christian. God did intend for humans to take care of animals. Of course not everybody does, but it’s hard to deny that the vast majority of humans feel some if not a lot of desire to care for animals. While I know there are some places in the Bible that allow for eating meat, it didn’t happen before sin, in a perfect world. Genesis 1:29

  30. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t it be sane to think that our idea of what is cruel and what is not cruel would be completely different from God? God says he loves all and you can argue then why does he allow suffering, but how can we understand the love of something that is not a human being with human emotions? How can we understanding something that has always existed? Because we are human we would never be able to truly understand a God who has always been before there was anything and the creator of everything. If you believe in God then the very concept of love is given to us by that God right? And in the blink of an eye he could completely wipe everything out of existence or change the concept of every emotion. So do you really think it’s common sense to tie human emotions to a God being?
    Before the fall of man humans did not know the difference of good and evil (if I am remembering it correctly) And after the fall our eyes were opened to the knowledge of the world. In my own opinion if that even did happen then I think it’s after this that we became different. Before this we may have been indifferent to the suffering around us just as animals are indifferent to suffering of other animals around then. The question then would be why did God allow the Serpent to tempt us into this forbidden knowledge. Perhaps God is like an Author….everyone loves a good book with a roller-coaster of emotions. Or maybe animals to God are of so little importance like how bugs to humans (not all but some) are of no care, and we have no issues squishing a bug….or killing bacteria.

    There are to many questions that I think will never be answered and while I believe in a God I do not believe in the whole of the bible. I really have no care as to what anyone else believes in as I don’t feel its important and everyone will find out the reality one day after death. If there is no God that doesn’t effect me either because after I die that would be the end, but I choose to believe in a God based off of my own experiences. I do not think God is cruel in the same way nature is not cruel. God in my own opinion is indifferent to what God chooses to be indifferent to, just as nature is indifferent..

  31. pandharkar shivaji says:

    only hinduism has the right answer

  32. George says:

    Thank you for this post, I’m suffering from the traumatic loss of my companion dog and am losing my faith in God as a result. All your points are thoughts I’m suffering with and can’t understand why a loving God would make my loved dog and family suffer uncontrollably. I want to scream to the heavens but I know he is incapable of listening, and question if he’s even there to listen.

    • Hi George, so sorry to hear of your loss. Whether we find God exists or not, there’s not question that animals are special creatures that deserve our love and respect.

      500Q

    • Dori Herndon says:

      Even David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, expressed anger at God in several Psalms and accused Him of not listening. It’s natural. But there are plenty of reasons to believe animals will be in heaven. Romans 8. Revelations 5:13. Isaiah 11.
      I severely grieve losing pets, but believe from the Bible that all will be restored and death will be no more. Our tears will be wiped away by God Himself and there will be no more pain or sorrow. Revelation 21:4. But I know it stills hurt now.

  33. 500Q thank you for your kind, well thought out and intelligent comments. I grew up in a Christian environment (confessed my sins and got saved) and considered myself a Christian for most of my life. But I was never able to make sense of it all. I just couldn’t find a way to make the pieces fit together. Being an aerospace engineer (now retired) and holding degrees in both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, my logical brain was always wrestling with all the contradictions in religion and the Bible. And most of all the suffering of the innocents, especially animals! After retiring 7 years ago, I sought deeper understanding and truth through praying, taking long walks in quiet areas away from distractions and meditating. I read the complete Bible years ago and numerous other religions books including the Book of Mormon and the Book of Enoch just to mention a few.
    With all that being said, I have reached the conclusion that religion is simply mankind’s best attempt to explain the ‘unexplainable’ and to control each other actions and finances. I’m not anti-religion by any means because I know many people us it to get peace of mind and help guide their behavior in a positive way. But religion is also used to do much harm as we currently see in the middle East.
    So, to sum up I’ll leave you with a quote that famous line from Bob Newheart’s original TV series when he went back to his old college professor to seek the meaning of life, “It’s all a Crock”! 😉

  34. Raymond mcgee says:

    Every creature seems to.live off another
    And they all seem to have the tools to do the job big teeth
    They must have been created that way . Why is the million dollar question . Seen a photo of a herd of elephants killed with lightning no reason,for it as nobody cared. Who knows Paul says the creation is waiting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of GOD
    He says the creation was given over to vanity not willingly​ but in hope

    • RoadRunner383 says:

      “He says the creation was given over to vanity not willingly​ but in hope” This is the kind of confusing and muddled double speak that keeps people wondering what it means. Then religions use it to convince people that there is some ‘special’ reason its not clear to the ‘non-believer’.
      If it doesn’t make sense, then you, me and every other individual has to decide for themselves if it’s real or just a big scam to control people’s behavior and trick them out of their money.

    • Tyrone Perry says:

      Elephants being killed by lightning can shake one’s faith,GOD must’ve had a reason or maybe he needs no reason he just allows some things 2 happen naturally, but as far as people believing GODs Word as just a reason 2 control the masses or just a way 2 get money.Men,because of our wickedness may do this,but that is no reason 2 not believe.1 should consider that there r many prophets & disciples who testified about GOD’s marvelous wonders,There r people 2day who will tell u they died & saw 4 themselves proof of an afterlife.There r the miracles at Fatima & Medjugorje,the blueprint of the universe,the proof that something cannot come from nothing,the Gregorian calendar which proves thee existence of our Lord & the information stored in our DNA 2 help convince us that yes there is a creator & He gave us our life,a universe,& because he loves us allowed his son 2 die,so we can live with him 4 all eternity!
      Sorry,felt inspired & wanted 2 help people who do not take these things in2 consideration.

  35. Anna says:

    You only showed the parts of the Bible where the animals seem like they don’t matter, there many verses where God talks about how we should treat the animals. One of my favorites says a righteous man cares for the life of animals but even the mercy of the wicked is cruel. So, before you go on mixing God with religious beliefs (religion is man made btw) every verse has a story behind it. If you only read part of it, it can be misinterpreted. God is not of this world, sin is of this world, is the serparation we created that makes all of us suffer, one day it will be no more suffering when God’s plan is consumed and that includes the animals and yes it is in the Bible. e. I can testify many many times when god was there for Peiple and animals, Satan dwells in the world until the Lord has enough and comes back to do a clean up and save his people and his animals and his earth and heaven. Laugh all you want and be sarcastic all you want. If I was you I would try to understand god’s word, seems to me you don’t and don’t care to do that but you’re quick to talk. Thank you

    • Hi Anna, thank you for your comment.

      We can say it’s man’s fault that the animals suffer, but men didn’t design animals to eat one another, and God certainly didn’t have to. Why would God, if he exists, allow for such a thing?

      Likewise, man also did not invent the diseases that strike these animals. Who designed these diseases and viruses? If Satan, why would God allow Satan to torture these innocent creatures? It’s not their fault man sinned.

      And of course there are many verses where God expresses concern for the animals, we all know that, and no one is denying that. But we also cannot deny what we observe. If God exists, he has designed many of these animals to function as predators, and designed or allowed the diseases that plague them. Does this sound like something a God who loves animals would do?

      “God is not of this world, sin is of this world, is the serparation [sic] we created that makes all of us suffer, one day it will be no more suffering when God’s plan is consumed and that includes the animals and yes it is in the Bible.”

      I’m going to have to ask you to please cite where in the Bible it says that all the animals that have ever lived will be brought back to life in the new kingdom. According to my Bible, they are born only to be destroyed.

      “They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.”
      — 2 Peter 2:12

      Take care,
      500Q

      • Dori Herndon says:

        “I’m going to have to ask you to please cite where in the Bible it says that all the animals that have ever lived will be brought back to life in the new kingdom. According to my Bible, they are born only to be destroyed.”

        The body can be destroyed, but not the soul – not the breath of life.
        Romans 8: 19-23
        19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

        • Hi Dori,

          When Romans 8:19-23 speaks of “all creation” (or “the creation”), it isn’t immediately clear exactly what it is referring to. Even Biblical commentaries seem to struggle with its definition.

          For example, Gills commentary suggests that “the creation” could refer to the angles that groan for us.

          Or it could refer to the gentiles:

          “It is best of all by ‘the creature’ to understand the Gentile world. ‘The creature’ here, and ‘the whole creation’, ( Romans 8:22 ), must be the same; now the phrase (pasa ktisiv) , “the whole creation”, or “every creature”, as it may be rendered, signifies the nations of the world, in distinction to the Jews; see ( Mark 16:15 ) ( Colossians 1:23 ); compared with ( Matthew 28:19 ) and answers to (twyrb) , “the creatures”; by which name the Jews often in their writings call the Gentiles, to distinguish them from the Israelites.”

          But I would consider it eisegesis to read into this verse that animals will actually take part in the resurrection.

          Even if that were true, it still wouldn’t justify punishing the innocent. If I punch a baby, but give his parents $10,000, that doesn’t mean that no wrong has occurred. 😉

          500Q

          • Don says:

            500Q your logic is impeccable. Even after having been part of the Christian belief system most of my life it’s overwhelmingly obvious to me and to anyone who’s capable of applying critical thinking and pure logic to this subject, that religion is simply man’s best attempt to explain the unexplainable. That and it has been used for thousands of years to control and scare people into obeying religious leaders. That includes giving up their time and money in exchange for some imagined glorious after life. I really wish it wasn’t so but when you start to apply logic, common sense and critical thinking to religion as a whole, it starts to fall apart pretty fast. The only final defense of religion is always the same, you must have “faith”. In other words no matter what your logical brain tells you, just pretend it isn’t so. And that’s how ponzi schemes work folks. :/

            • Hi Don,

              And oh, that it were ONLY just faith!

              If it were ONLY faith, we might still have reason to believe! But I think it goes well beyond that. It is one thing to be asked to believe on faith, it is another to ask someone to believe in something that goes against reason.

              “Have faith,” says the church, “in talking snakes, and global floods! Have faith in arks filled with animals! Have faith despite the contradictory evidence found in the ground! And have faith that God is GOOD, even when he orders evil. Have faith despite your own observations of how the innocent suffer. Have faith that eternal hell is a reasonable punishment. Oh, and have faith in magic! Have faith that men can live inside fish for days! And that magic hands can write upon walls (but never yours, because… faith)! Have faith in miracles and resurrection from the dead! Have faith in heaven and hell! Have faith that ambiguous and extremely controversial prophecy has real meaning! Have faith in the prophets! Have faith in the church, despite its many denominations! Have faith that you were born into the correct faith! Have faith, even though God never revealed any “insider information” to prove he is any more than just a character from man’s imagination! Have faith that the Jew and the Muslim are wrong! And that every religion from every nation from the beginning of time was wrong… except for yours. Have faith despite all the evidence to the contrary, and you will receive eternal life!

              500Q

          • Dori Herndon says:

            You say it’s unclear what this means and yet you seem to think it could mean anything, and I mean anything, except that animals will be in heaven or share in the eternal kingdom on earth. (On that I’m not completely sure). When God created the world, He put humans and animals in the garden of Eden together and called it good. We (people and animals) were made to live together with humans in charge. We feel that within us still today. There are plenty of examples of humans being horrible to animals, but it’s not generally accepted. Humans are the only species that invest vasts amounts of resources into helping other species, even those that cause them harm. Wildlife centers will raise orphaned raccoons and spend a lot to help injured ones.

            There will never be a way to be okay with God allowing suffering to happen. I don’t care how many ways people try to justify it, I agree with you that it can’t really be done. Even Jesus protested it a lot, before saying “Not my will by thy will be done.” But really, most of the time, most people and animals are not suffering. There are exceptions, of course, like people with terminal illnesses and those that love them. But most of our suffering is worrying about the future or grieving the past and nothing is hurting us at the moment. The reason the really horrible things are so shocking is because they don’t happen very often. But if this world were perfect then it wouldn’t be cursed. Do I think God should have cursed the world? – No, absolutely not and I want Him to get back and fix it now. I hate grieving and fear or even the threat of grieving and fear. But maybe He knows what He’s doing and will make it right in the end. I hope so or there is no hope. So why give up the only hope I have, especially when it’s such a good hope, just because I don’t agree with how things are now? Now is so temporary.

            Revelations 5:13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”

            I’m a gentile and I don’t live in the sea. Most of us gentiles and humans in general, don’t. And I’m not sure why Angels would either. I also don’t live under the earth, though I would like a nice underground energy efficient home. But I think it makes more sense to say this is referring to all kinds of animals. I’m sure you can find another way to read it since you are so motivated to, but at a simple reading, it sounds like it’s talking about different kinds of creatures that live in different environments than people do. Unless God is going to have drowned and buried people singing while they are still drowned and buried.

            • Andy Rhodes says:

              God designed terrible suffering in nature. It’s not that God “allows” it. Design. On purpose.

              Who and what made tigers and snakes and smallpox and natural disasters? It wasn’t Satan or humans, who don’t have the power to create and sustain biology, physics, geology, etc.

              Nature has built into it elements that are guaranteed to cause horrendous suffering in sentient beings. Things which traditional believers typically think will not cause severe pain in the next life, the New Heavens and New Earth: earthquakes, disease, tornadoes, meteors, famine, hurricanes, etc. Modern science has compiled a whole lot of data and related arguments to demonstrate that sentient animals, as large as rodents and dogs, were dying very painful deaths and eating each other for at least 300 million years before humans existed. The idea that the intrinsic suffering of nature is somehow caused by humans is insane and cruel. We often make our pains worse than they have to be, but we didn’t categorically create the problems. Stories like that of the biblical Garden of Eden and the Fall of Humankind are absurd and should not be taken seriously. They are offensive to any sense of human dignity and fairness, not to mention reason and facts. Humans already suffer enough. Let’s not add to that by irrationally blaming them for every ailment they experience.

              • Couldn’t have said it better myself.

              • Dori Herndon says:

                You start by saying God created, designed, all this then go into calling the creation story absurd. So I’m now I’m wondering, do you believe God is real, but cruel and/or stupid and therefore the fact that most everything suffers at least some in this life, is for no good reason. – That humans are in fact smarter and kinder than this God that designed everything? Or do you believe God or any creator is not real, in which case why would you try to say He’s done this or that which is right or wrong?

  36. Dantheman says:

    If God was real and not imaginary, and the biblical account of the great flood was in fact true(no evidence supports that it was), why would you expect God to care about animals suffering when this same God had no problem with murdering almost all of them by drowning? For that matter, God doesn’t seem to care much about human suffering either. Give God credit for equal opportunity barbarism, regardless of the species involved. Does the special place God created for unrepentant sinners after physical death sound like Disneyland to you? Isn’t it ironic that God adamantly commands us to forgive, yet all the evil & suffering witnessed during our brief stay here could have been avoided, if only God was capable of what God commanded. It’s a good thing God is a delusion, otherwise I’d have to rename him (her,It?) Lord Hypocrite.

    • Tyrone Perry says:

      Some evidence 4 the Flood is being misread as evidence of an ice age.The Flood appears 2 exist in the fossil record.All over the world species of mammals became extinct.At the same time,there was a sudden change of climate.Such a widespread destruction must have been caused by some exceptional worldwide event.Many have argued that this event was the Flood.The Coconino Sandstone in the Grand Canyon shows evidence of the Flood.After careful examination backed up experiments & observations of processes operating 2day indicates catastrophic deposition of the sand by deep fast moving water in a matter of days,totally consistent with conditions envisaged during the Flood.Shell fossils found in mountain ranges & all around the world,in locations as far apart as Alaska & the South Sea Islands there are ancient stories about it.All supporting evidence of the Flood.
      People who refuse 2 submit & follow GOD’s ways have 2 be thrown away like trash & perish 4ever.Sure GOD could & probably will 4give those,who ask 4 forgiveness,but stubborn,selfish,prideful people will not want 2 be forgiven.They will not want anything 2 do with a GOD like the 1 u described.These people in their human reasoning (like u) believe He is a hypocrite,unintelligent & every other evil accusation we can describe Him as & will not want 2 serve a GOD like that. Satan made a similar mistake!.

      • Andy Rhodes says:

        Hi Tyrone,

        As a starting point, we can reference this Talk Origins website that provides a list and explanations of why the Genesis Flood as described by the Bible did not and could not have happened:

        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

        Also, as I mentioned to Dori above:

        “Whether or not something like the Genesis global flood occurred, it says a lot about the character of the biblical God. This is a deity that is willing to destroy everything on Earth just to prove a point. His decision to drown the entire Earth and leave it underwater for an entire year did nothing to remove or improve the intrinsic ‘wickedness’ in humanity, which was passed on by DNA. The idea that the planet would have been able to sustain life after having all plants killed and fresh and salt water mixed for such a long time is incredibly absurd, especially given that this renewal would require a new creation of vegetation and a massive amount of other very intricate geology and biological formations that had been in place for a very long time beforehand. After a worldwide flood, the planet would be like the bottom of drained swamp, completely incapable of sustaining (and definitely not naturally able to redevelop) the complex ecosytem present before the flood. Also, the first section of Genesis makes it clear that God did not make anything after the seventh day of Creation.”

        • Dori Herndon says:

          The world wasn’t under water for a whole year. They were in the boat that long, but the world wasn’t instantly covered the second they went in and instantly uncovered when they stepped out. It slowly filled up and the highest peaks probably weren’t under very long.
          Why give Talk Origin any more faith than Answers in Genesis. Both sites exist to accept donations which they promise to use to find and interpret evidence according to the beliefs they have promised to promote. Both address difficulties with their beliefs and try to think of several explanations and use phrases like it could have been this or that could have happened. They both require believing in things that are impossible to understand.
          Evidence of God’s wrath is not evidence that He doesn’t exist. It’s just scary. I suppose the cross somewhat sums it up. God is so wrathful against sin that He required an extremely high price to be paid for it, – the most horrible death of the most innocent person. But He loved us so much, He paid the price Himself making it a gift even the worst sinners can accept. Again, not something we can understand, but it shows how wrathful God is against sin and the pain it causes. But it also offers an eternal hope.
          If the world were to become a good place to live before God sets up the new heaven and new earth, then a lot of the Bible would be proven false. It guarantees there will be suffering for all creation until that time. A lot of people try to explain why. Disappointment With God, was a book I read that was pretty good, but didn’t come close to really answering why. The Bible records that even people who heard God talk never got an answer to why. Job kept asking why and God’s response was long but could be summed up as “I’m God, you’re not. Trust me I know what I’m doing.” In Judges six an angel assures Gideon that God is with him. ‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but if the Lord is with us, WHY has all this happened to us? The angel does not tell him why.
          I think there’s more than enough evidence for those who want to seek God. But there’s also plenty of evidence for those that want to turn away from Him. I guess that’s what makes it a choice.

          • Andy Rhodes says:

            You’re saying that the Earth wasn’t fully underwater for a whole year. Do you think it was 11 months?

            Even one month would have destroyed the ecosystems of both the ocean and land. Salt water mixing with fresh water. Dead sea creatures littered across all seven continents. Soil destroyed. All plant life dead. How could nature rebuild itself when God has stopped creating hundreds (or billions) of years before, on the 6th day? Natural processes sophisticated enough to support complex life take millions and billions of years to develop.

            Consider this straightforward analysis from Answers in Genesis regarding the timeline:

            ……………………

            Another strong reason for believing that the Flood was global is the duration of the Flood. Many believers have mistakenly assumed that it only lasted 40 days and 40 nights. This is based on a misreading of Genesis 7:12. It is true that the heavy rains lasted this long, but the Flood itself was much longer. Genesis 8:2 seems to indicate that it continued to rain throughout the first 150 days. Perhaps the first 40 days represented the initial downpour and then it continued to rain on a regular basis just as it does today. Bear in mind that the Flood also received water from “the fountains of the great deep.”

            The Bible states that the Flood began “in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month” (Gen. 7:11). The Flood waters “prevailed on the earth” for the next 150 days (Gen. 7:24). The waters began to subside and the ark came to rest ten days later (Gen. 8:4). The surface of the ground finally dried up on the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year (Gen. 8:13). This was 313 days after the rain began! Noah waited until the 27th day of the second month before disembarking (Gen. 8:14). In total, Noah and his family were on the ark for over a year—371 days to be exact!

            SOURCE: https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/global/prosecution-extent-of-the-flood

            • Dori Herndon says:

              There’s several figures for how long it was under. I think two months was one thing I heard. Yeah, I bet there were a lot of sea creatures littered everywhere. Which could be why people find fossils of them everywhere including in the desert and even up on mountains. I don’t recall the Bible saying God never created anything again. In fact the Bible says God will create a new heaven and a new earth. One could say He creates each new life. But the evidence suggests that currently, He just uses what is already here. However the Bible does make it clear He can restore the un restore-able. Then again, even today when everything is weaker, the environment can bounce back from a lot.

              If you ever decide you want to believe in God and the Bible, but just can’t accept a world-wide flood or that the majority of scientist are wrong about what supposedly happened millions of years ago; there are people who frequently reinterpret the Bible to best match whatever people are most willing and able to believe. They say the Bible is only true from the perspective of those that wrote it and it would seem like the whole world was flooded to that author. And that Adam wasn’t the first human, just the first one with human awareness. I can’t recall all it said, I just remember thinking this must be for people who want to believe God created the universe, but that He otherwise isn’t very powerful or intelligent.

              So, people can choose God if they want to, even if they can’t accept some parts of the Bible. Maybe that would come later, maybe not. We’re saved by Jesus, not by believing this or that about the age of the earth or the flood or anything else. And I think somebody can choose Jesus/God even without a way of knowing He’s real or understanding Him.

  37. Dantheman says:

    There is historical evidence of many floods,Tyrone,but there is NO EVIDENCE of 1 great flood! Any of the qualities of God, or lack thereof, can be learned of simply by reading the Bible. Apparently, you haven’t read the entire book. It is filled with examples of God’s loving grace that only a believer can see. The non-believer, however, can see that murder,rape,slavery, etc.,etc., is immoral but a TRUE BELIEVER can justify anything THEIR GOD does. Tyrone, you stated that those who are unwilling to submit to God are to be thrown away like trash and perish 4 ever. Which God are you referring to? You stated that Satan made a similar mistake(invoking God’s wrath?). God made Satan, right? God is perfect and can not make a mistake,right? God transcends time and space; knowing all that can and will happen B4 it ever does,right? So I guess Satan and every action attributed to him could hardly have been a MISTAKE,right? Good luck with the “mental gymnastics” required to justify the existence of the imaginary.

    • Tyrone Perry says:

      U personally believe there is no evidence.Many would disagree with your opinion.Geology PROFESSOR John McCampbell said it best he wrote ” The essential difference between Biblical catastrophism (the Flood) & evolutionary uniformitarianism r not over the factual data of geology but over the interpretations of those data.The interpretation preferred will depend largely upon the background & presuppositions of the individual student.”
      read GOD’s Word cover 2 cover than read it again 2 digest it; Now I read different chapters & verses.
      Im referring 2 the GOD of the Bible the Father of Jesus & the only 1 that exists.
      Lucifer did not want 2 submit 2 GOD,probably thought YHWH’s ways did not make sense,He was a hypocrite & probably thought exactly as u do.
      No mental gymnastics required.People who do not love GOD just fail 2 understand that it is not GOD who does these wicked things.He obviously gave Satan free will just like He gave Adam free will & because of our choices there r consequences.Just like a father disciplines his children.It’s simple as u do what I say & be blessed or do not & be punished.

    • Tyrone Perry says:

      Im not making excuses 4 the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.I believe the Most High may have wanted everything just the way it is (sufferings,rapes & every sought of evil) 2 bring Him glory in the end (After all GOD does say in His Word that He creates evil) & if this is so I am not going 2 disagree with my creator.I believe this is the difference between those of us that r chosen & love GOD & those of us who would rather worship Satan, be humbled, & possibly perish.Not including those who flat out do not believe.

  38. Anitha Maria says:

    Hi Hello actually I used to ask all these questions to myself,, but I realized many have such questions. Am happy at least there are some people who empathize animals feelings. This article was so comforting me. Let’s keep these kinds of good thoughts and continue to do good to animals. Thanking you
    Anitha Maria

  39. Theresa Hilbig says:

    Please read “The Healing of Families” by Fr. Yozefu – B. Ssemakula. It gives the best explanation I have ever heard. It makes my heart hurt when I think about animals suffering but I know now, that God does not cause any of it.

    • Hi Theresa,

      “…God does not cause any of it.”

      Could you elaborate? How do you create something that you KNOW will result in great suffering, and yet not be responsible for causing that suffering?

      It appears to me that there are many different approaches God could’ve taken to prevent such suffering, yet here we are.

      Sincere
      500Q

  40. sophia says:

    Thank you for writing this! I just lost some beautiful hens today to some other animal that tore them apart and I once again wondered why nature has to be so cruel. I am a farmer that tries to treat all animals as best as I can. Nature is designed for some animals to eat others. I used to be a Christian but a while ago could just not ignore the fact how horrible this Christian god must be , if he allows animals to suffer so much. They get eaten by other animals , suffer in factory farms, get killed in natural disaster or die of disease or starvation. They are worse off than most humans. What god would do this? There are only 2 possible answers to this, either there is no god at all ( my current belief) or god ( or several gods) is a evil sadist. The only reason religion exists is to make people feel better about nature and how horrible it can be sometimes. But, if anyone thinks about it logically, that person will realize all religions are just not reality.

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