Saturday, August 22, 2015


This has been a question that has been in the minds of humanity from the moment that it realized that there could possibly be one single creator for everything.

Why would an being, if he could do anything, they argue, allow such terrible suffering in his world.

The first problem is in the assumption that G-d intends, or wants, to do everything. G-d created the Universe with the laws of nature to define it.  Without those laws, the Universe would collapse or we simply wouldn't exist.  As I've written before, this is known in scientific circles as the Anthropic principal, it's the idea that the Universe is precisely tuned for existence.

But let's go back to suffering. Let's look at an example.
We need water to live, for instance, even more than food.

If you don't have it, you die.
Yet, you can also drown in it.
Or freeze to death as a result of falling into a cold lake.
Or it becomes a Tsunami, that washes you away.

When G-d suspends these laws, such as parting the Sea for the Hebrews escaping Egypt, He is going against the very laws He setup in the first place.  It's only because of His extreme love and compassion for us, that He is willing to break those laws.  Even when He wanted to teach Jonah a lesson, by tossing his boat around on the sea, and those on the boat threw him over board, He still had compassion for Jonah- and had a plan ready to keep His faithful servant alive.

Conversely, G-d can not interact all the time. Nor will he, I believe that is made plain by casting humanity out of the Garden of Eden. G-d is basically saying, like many parents do, you have enough knowledge now to go out into the world on your own, you don't need me to provide for you.

As humans, we have the ability to understand and comprehend complex concepts that no other animal can, so the question becomes, why not use these advantages to reduce suffering in the World? When we have answers for eliminating malaria, polio and Guinea worm, yet, most of these issues are uncured. Some for ridiculously simply reasons, like:

it turns out eradicating Guinea worm comes down to something very simple: filtering water.

Other suffering is simply because people are too paranoid.  Such is the case of Polio, with two vaccines created by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin.  Both Jews. Is it any wonder why some in the Muslim World, where Science is already an anathema (in the modern era), rejects these vaccines?

So, you can spend a lifetime trying to fight this suffering - but will throwing money and time at it without any deeper societal changes ever solve the problem completely?

I would argue it won't.  People have to choose for themselves to use their G-d given gifts and learn how to build filters for their water.

To illustrate this, let me illustrate using two separate parts of Genesis.

28And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth. " - Genesis 1:28
So, from the moment of man's creation, our intended purpose was to "subdue" the Earth.  It doesn't mean destroy the planet, it means 'use what the Earth provides to make our lives better.'  It has been placed here for us, and our usage.

Since this early man was incapable of tending the Earth, he had some fine tuning to do - most notably in the area of cognitive agility.  After all, there may only be a 2% DNA difference between Homo Sapien Sapien, and Chimpanzee's, but in that 2% lies art, music, literature and so much more.
And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet grown; for G-d had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. - Genesis 2:5
To advance civilization is why we, as descendants of Adam and Eve, are here.  To take this World, this Life, by the bone and suck out all the marrow.  We should use what G-d has put here, whether it be Solar Radiation that powers Photovoltaic Panels, or Wind Turbines, or Hydrocarbons, and of course, Nuclear Power.

The more we, as people of G-d work this mission, the more we can stop suffering.  More people can then be free to enjoy the wonders and joys of life.

This is not to say suffering could ever be completely eliminated.  As I started with, we can't suddenly make the laws of water change.  But we can use our brains to conquer it.