New Common Question Available: Is animal suffering part of God’s good creation?

inspired by Bethany’s talk at the conference, here is the Common Question that has been added to the site regarding animal suffering and predation.

Are there any stances/approaches? Which do you come to the most peace about?

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Maybe suffering is an inherent part of living in this world. The mortal body reacts to damage or damaging conditions with pain and agony. Pain can be beneficial as it speeds the response to damaging situations, such as touching hot surfaces. The ability to sense pain with an ability to think and feel leads to suffering. Taking away the ability to feel pain and agony would increase the risk of bodily damage. So, it is a choice between the ability to suffer or a high risk of serious damage.

It seems that our Creator preferred the first alternative (ability to feel pain and agony) although it means suffering. And selected the opportunity to give birth to new life. In a limited world, reproduction needs to be joined with death, otherwise we would run out of resources.

Maybe this is the reason why God has chosen to work among the suffering ones, rather than taken away the ability to suffer and die.

Edit: if there is even a hint of truth behind these ideas, it suggests that some combinations, like unlimited reproduction and no deaths, do not fit in the same world. Maybe God selected the best world from the possible alternatives? Just a guess because my limited understanding obviously cannot imagine the thoughts of the omniscient Creator.


Welcome to the forum, Kai!

There is much deep insight to appreciate in your words. Both physical and spiritual. We all too rarely give pain the credit it is due towards helping make our life better, even though pain (almost by definition I should think) cannot be appreciated in the moment.

It is a very biblical theme that we are perfected through suffering.

Please share more of your insights (or about yourself as you may feel comfortable) here [or in any other thread; you can edit your own prior posts by clicking the grey pencil underneath the post, as I did just now to add this]. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.


Welcome Kai. I agree with you about the role of pain among living organisms. It is crucial as you say to survival.

I’m a rare non-believer* on this site and in my family, but I’m a fan and a supporter of Christians searching for the truth with humility, and you will find many like that here. Actually it is rare to find many of any stripe truly motivated by the truth and honest with themselves about what certainty they are entitled to.

Back to your point about pain and suffering. In a world where life consumes life to survive, suffering and death are unsurprisingly common. But among the believers in my family there is a belief that all ones challenges have been chosen (tailored?) for us by God. One hears that God never tests us beyond what we can bear and it is all for our growth and betterment in the end. I’m not qualified to speak on theology. But I can’t imagine a God carefully approving each new challenge for everyone of us, as if there aren’t plenty of circumstances to supply us with more than enough suffering already. Unfortunately pain and suffering can in fact be excessive and at times exceed our capacity to bear. It is unfortunate but I wouldn’t lay the blame on any divine dispenser of suffering.

  • Full disclosure, I actually do believe things including some things which are as difficult to defend as god belief.

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Thanks. Being both a believer and a scientist has strengthened my aim to understand the truth better than now, both in science and in the relationship with Jesus. In this sense, Christianity and science can both benefit from each other.

I agree that suffering can sometimes exceed our capacity to bear. People heal after such events but the experience changes the person. The experience may leave long-lasting scars within the person, but at least in some respects, the experience may also transform the person to something better (humbler, more understanding, changed values, etc.). But this is perhaps a topic that suits better to another thread.


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