“Natural” Evil

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[W]hat advantage can there be in the sufferings of millions of… animals [including humans] throughout almost endless time?  This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent first cause [i.e. God] seems to me a strong one…

Charles Darwin, from his autobiography

[Darwin was completely wrong about “almost endless time” ( 575 million years  is almost infinitely less than “almost endless time“) just as Darwin was wrong about  a lot of things .  But Darin’s question recited above was entirely reasonable to ask.  The evidence presented on this page addresses his question with scientific data that he had never seen and theological data that he had either never considered or did not consider carefully — including scientifically.]


Natural Disasters Are Not the Fundamental Evils We Think They Are
Instead, they are evidence establishing that a caring, loving, and powerful Creator has designed Earth and all its living creatures to maximally benefit humans and to equip them to fulfill their God-mandated purposes.



Natural (or Man-Made) Disasters?
Why do bad things happen to good people?” is not the right question.  The right question is, “Why do good things happen to bad people?
Jesus’s warning in  Luke 13:1-7  may come off as terse, even slightly harsh, but it is a word of grace: Turn to the Lord while there is still time.  The point is simple, but we miss it to our peril.



Macro “Disasters”:

Where is God When Bad Things Happen?
Why Natural Evil Must Exist



Why Would God Allow Natural Disasters?



Why Do People Die in Earthquakes?  Blame Corrupt Governments, Not God


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Are Earthquakes God’s Fault?
In a word, yes.  And we should be eternally grateful for them.


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Plate Tectonics Design


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Why Do People Die in Earthquakes?
Blame Corrupt Governments [and sinful, foolish citizens], Not God


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Tsunamis: Natural Evil or Moral Evil?
Neither.  Tsunamis are natural consequences of essential-for-life plate tectonics.
The unnatural consequences of tsunamis (e.g. loss of life) are the ongoing consequences of humanity’s ongoing sin against fellow humans.



Hurricanes and the Climate


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The Terrible Toll of Typhoon Haiyan Doesn’t Excuse Bad [i.e. sinful] Policy



Why Would God Create Mosquitoes?
According to some ecologists, the loss of mosquitoes would harm most ecosystems.
As well, while the human population might become healthier, its numbers would eventually swell and overpopulation would lead to the loss of health because of limited resources and, thus, produce even more suffering than the mosquitoes caused.


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Mosquitoes are the deadliest creatures on Earth, killing over half-a-million people annually and sickening hundreds of millions more.
So why celebrate World Mosquito Day?
Because the vast majority of mosquitoes are beneficial participants in complex [i.e. finely-tuned] ecosystems and play no role in human disease.
Because God made them for reasons that benefit us if we respect and guard against their potential dangers.



Why Would God Create a World Where Cancer Is Possible?
If a Creator is responsible for the designs found in biochemistry, then why are so many biochemical systems seemingly flawed, inelegant, and poorly designed?
“[I]t is important to recognize that many so-called biochemical flaws are not genuine flaws at all.  Instead, they arise as the [unavoidable] consequences of [optimization] trade-offs [common to all engineering problems].  In their cellular roles, many biochemical systems face two (or more) competing objectives.  Effectively managing these opposing objectives means that it is impossible for every aspect of the system to perform at an optimal level.  Some features must be carefully rendered suboptimal to ensure that the overall system performs robustly under a wide range of conditions. Cancer falls into this category.  It is not a consequence of flawed biochemical designs. Instead, cancer reflects a trade-off between DNA repair and cell survival…  Though cancer ravages the lives of so many people, it is not because of poorly designed, substandard biochemical systems.  Given that we live in a universe that conforms to the laws of thermodynamics, cancer is inevitable.  Despite this inevitability, organisms are designed to effectively ward off cancer.  Ironically, as we gain a better understanding of the process of oncogenesis (the development of tumors), we are uncovering more — not less — evidence for the remarkably elegant and ingenious designs of biochemical systems.



If God Hates Abortion Why Do So Many Occur Spontaneously in Humans?
On the surface, the high rate of spontaneous abortions appears to be a flawed design [or godless, evolutionistic, random, meaningless accident].  In reality, this feature of human reproduction reflects an exquisite biological rationale.



Micro “Disasters”:

Why Would God Create a World with Parasites?
Parasites [actually] play a [critical] role in shaping ecosystem biodiversity [as] they [necessarily] intertwine with the food web.


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Is it God’s fault that humans become infected with the Thai liver fluke?
Hardly — at least since the early 20th century.
The people of Thailand suffer from a lack of sanitation — ultimately, conditions caused by human moral failing, not God’s carelessness.



[T]he overwhelming majority of… viruses do not cause disease in humans, animals, or plants…  Several viruses are also being harnessed as tools to combat diseases such as cancer, virus infections, antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases, and, possibly in the not too distant future, even genetic or congenital diseases through gene-editing.  Viruses are also useful in helping to protect food and crops from bacterial infections and loss.  With this new and expanding understanding of viruses, it is easy to see how a good God providentially balances creation, sustains life, and provides us with tools to combat human disease and suffering, expand crop production, and steward creation in other beneficial ways.


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Scientists create designer virus to kickstart immune system and kill cancer


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Viruses are the most abundant biological entities in the world’s oceans, and they play a crucial role in global biogeochemical cycles.


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Viruses are a key component of marine ecosystems…  The active viral processes reported here demonstrate the importance of viruses in the production of dissolved organic carbon in the dark ocean, a major pathway in carbon cycling.


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The multiple purposes God has for the laws of physics necessitate that there will be design tradeoffs.  However, it appears that God has optimized these tradeoffs so that all his purposes for creating the universe and human beings will be fulfilled in as beneficial a manner as possible…  [W]e live on a planet with tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and tsunamis, but each of these so-called natural disasters is essential for our existence.  They are optimized to bring the greatest possible benefit to humans and the rest of Earth’s life.  Viruses are in the same category…  Life-forms on Earth larger and more complex than microbes would be impossible without an abundance of viruses.  Without viruses, bacteria would multiply and, within a relatively short time period, occupy every niche and cranny on Earth’s surface.  The planet would become a giant bacterial slime ball.  Those sextillions of bacteria would consume all the resources essential for life and die.  Viruses keep Earth’s bacterial population in check.  They break up and kill bacteria at the just-right rates and in the just-right locations so as to maintain a population and diversity of bacteria that is optimal for both the bacteria and for all the other life-forms.  It is important to note that all multicellular life depends on bacteria being present at the optimal population level and optimal diversity.  We wouldn’t be here without viruses!…  All the precipitation components (rain, mist, snow, hail, and sleet), however, require microscopic seeds (or nuclei) to form.  In most environments, the most important seeds for precipitation are viruses and bacterial fragments resulting from viral attacks…  While dust and particles of soot can also serve as seeds or nuclei for the formation of raindrops and snowflakes, viruses and bacterial fragments allow the initial ice crystals to form at warmer temperatures.  We would not have nearly sufficient precipitation over a sufficiently broad area to sustain our agriculture and civilization if it were not for viruses…  Viruses also play a crucial role in Earth’s carbon cycle…  Thanks to Earth’s aggressive carbon cycle the global environment enjoys a great diversity of life that has continual access to the nutrients it needs.  Earth’s carbon cycle also plays a critical role in regulating the amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.  Thanks to viruses we have the carbon cycle running at the rate we need and the amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases that are optimal for our existence and our civilization.  Additionally, viruses already are playing significant roles in medical therapies and in advancing medical technology.  In the near future, we can look forward to medical practitioners exploiting viruses to combat cancer and cure genetic diseases…  As with mosquitoes, humans have made viruses a lot worse than God intended.  If only we had consistently practiced the health mandates written in the Old Testament, we very likely would not have had to deal with HIV, SARS-1, MERS, and SARS-2 (responsible for COVID-19).  These are all viruses that were present in animals and jumped to human beings.  We make those jumps more likely where we have have dense populations of domesticated and/or wild animals in close contact with dense populations of humans.


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Viruses and God’s Providence


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Viruses, Disease, and a Loving God


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Viruses Play Critical Role in Oceanic Nutrient Cycling


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More Reasons to Thank God for Viruses
Their contributions to the Hydrologic, Geophysical & Geochemical Cycles


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God’s Goodness and the Ebola Virus


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A Common-Design View of Endogenous Retroviral Elements (ERVs) Encourages Scientific Investigation


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Viruses and cells [like bacteria]… are not volitional… [They] do not seek their own survival.  Yet such language is widespread and difficult to avoid in currently published scientific works.  And now, some scientists are not only confusing the narrative of life on Earth by anthropomorphizing cells and microbes, but others are also trying to redefine life more broadly.



Cholera: Natural Evil or Moral Evil?
The suffering caused by cholera — and other water-borne diseases — is rooted in humanity’s sinful failure to act caringly towards and intelligently on behalf of our fellow humans, not in God’s design.


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Celebrating 3.8 Billion Years of Bacteriophage


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Did God Create Flesh-Eating Bacteria?
Absolutely.  And thank God He did, too!


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Why Skiers Can Be Thankful for Bacteria




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