God’s Purpose for the Universe and the Problem of Animal Suffering

Sophia 58 (3):475-492 (2019)
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Abstract

Proponents of the problem of animal suffering state that the great amount of animal death and suffering found in Earth’s natural history provides evidence against the truth of theism. In particular, philosophers such as Paul Draper have argued that regardless of the antecedent probability of theism and naturalism, animal suffering provides positive evidence for the truth of naturalism over theism. While theists have attempted to provide answers to the problem of animal suffering, almost none have argued that animal suffering and death can be seen as positive evidence for theism. This essay will discuss several arguments from the writings of Thomas Aquinas that can be used to show that animal suffering and death are to be expected in theistic universes. In the first section, I discuss evidential arguments for naturalism from animal suffering. Next, I provide an overview of Aquinas’ arguments, particularly in Book II of the Summa Contra Gentiles. After this, I discuss the implications these arguments have for theistic universes. Finally, I conclude that these arguments refute evidential arguments for naturalism from animal suffering and also provide evidence that favors theism.

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B. Kyle Keltz
South Plains College

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References found in this work

Summa Theologica.Thomasn D. Aquinas - 1274 - Hayes Barton Press.
Summa Contra Gentiles.Thomas Aquinas - 1975 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Good and Evil.Peter Geach - 1956 - Analysis 17 (2):33 - 42.
The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism.William L. Rowe - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (4):335 - 341.
Evil and omnipotence.J. L. Mackie - 1955 - Mind 64 (254):200-212.

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