Has Kirk Cameron Finally Solved The Problem Of Evil?

Right about the time the first person declared “There is a God!”, one of his friends spoke up and said, “Oh yeah? Well, if there is a God why does he let bad things happen?”

That question has haunted religion ever since, especially faiths like Christianity which claim that despite all the evidence God is in fact a good and loving God.

It’s often referred to as “the problem of evil,” “the problem of pain,” or simply “Are you kidding me, God?”

More so than evolution or any other scientific breakthrough, the problem of evil presents the biggest challenge facing the Christian faith or any other faith the claims that God is good.

Despite the efforts of some of the greatest minds in history, we have been unable to answer the problem of evil.

But fear not!

Kirk Cameron has done what no other human being in the history of mankind has been able to do.

In his new film Unstoppable, Cameron claims he has once and for all answered the immortal question “Why does God let bad things happen?”

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I guess it kind of makes sense if you think about it. After all who better to answer the problem of pain than the guy who starred in Growing Pains, right?

I mean at the very least, he’s gotta know more about pain and evil than he does bananas and evolution.

So does he succeed in finally solving the problem of evil?

SPOILER ALERT: Kirk Cameron has not solved the problem of evil.

Now, to be fair I haven’t seen the movie.

I was going to show you the preview, but it’s been pulled from YouTube (I’m guessing pranksters were involved, though “scams” and “commercially deceptive” do seem fitting reasons to pull it)

So, if I haven’t even seen the movie how do I know Kirk fails in his valiant quest?

Because the problem of evil is a problem that cannot be solved.

Even the Bible knows this.

Yes, the Bible declares that evil has been or will be redeemed, but it doesn’t definitively answer the question of why God allowed it in the first place. Perhaps fittingly, the oldest book of the Bible, Job, takes this question head on. And what is the answer it give to why bad things happen?

They just do.

Of course, the Bible does have more to say about the eventual redemption or healing of pain and evil, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

No matter how Cameron has chosen to frame his film, there are essentially only three ways to explain or understand God’s relationship to evil. Either God is all controlling and therefore causes all acts of evil or God causes only some acts of evil for his divine purposes or God causes no evil whatsoever, evil simply happens on its own.

Each of these approaches has their problems, some more so than others.

If God wills all the terrible things that happen in the world, as someone like John Piper would claim, then we are left with a monstrous picture of God, a cruel and petty deity who deserves our abject fear, not our worship, or if our worship, then a sort of pagan worship meant to stave off the wrath of that God in hopes he won’t arbitrarily decide to destroy us.

If God only wills some bad things as part of God’s mysterious divine plan for the universe, then we are still left with a rather perverse image of a cruel and petty God. Even if we try to renarrate divinely appointed evil as not really evil because God is behind it and “God isn’t evil,” then not only does the concept of evil itself stop making much sense, but at best we’re still left to explain why God allows the rest of the evil in the world to occur and at worst, we once again have a God who willfully chooses to inflict pain and suffering on creation. Even if God does so as part of some mysterious plan, why worship a God who has, and apparently is incapable of not having, a Machiavellian bent towards evil?

But let’s say we claim that God does not will any evil that occurs in the world. Surely that solves the problem of pain and alleviates God of responsibility for our suffering, right?

Not quite.

Even if we take a sort of open theist position and claim that God has limited God’s self and what God can and cannot do in the world by giving us the gift of free will, it does not change the fact that God chose to make the universe the way that God did. In other words, God may not be directly behind the Holocaust, for example, and God may not have had the ability to force Hitler not to choose to do the things he did, but God did choose to create a world in which God could not, or would not, intervene to stop that evil.

Simply put, if we believe that God created the universe, no matter how we believe God ended up designing it, God is ultimately complicit in our pain and suffering and no amount of theological or philosophical gymnastics will ever resolve that tension.

Which means Kirk Cameron has not solved the problem of evil because he can’t.

None of us can.

So are we left without hope?

I don’t think we are.

In some of its most raw and honest passages, the Bible does provide us with a response to the problem of evil – protest.

This is how the writers of the Psalms and Lamentations and Ecclesiastes and countless other passages of scripture choose to respond to God’s allowing of evil in the world.

They get angry.

They yell at God.

They hold God accountable for the choices God has made and the actions God has not taken.

And in an incredible act of grace, God listens to their protests.

And responds.

I find hope in the fact that God let’s us protest the presence of evil in the face of God’s claims to love and watch over us. To me, this willingness to listen, and more so to ultimately respond to our protests in the person of Jesus, speaks to a God who takes our pain seriously and is doing something about it.

Do I find a protest theodicy completely satisfying?

No.

But I do find hope in it.

I find that hope both in the gospels and perhaps most vividly, in the book of Revelation. It is there where we can see the Bible’s answer to what God will ultimately do in response to our protest, to our pain and suffering.

There God promises that one day all things will be made right. One day there will be a new heaven and a new earth and the old order of unexplainable pain and suffering will be no more.

“[And] God’s dwelling place [will be] among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

But one thing I think most of us miss in this beautiful account and which we almost always miss when we try to write off pain and suffering as essentially trivial and irrelevant in light of God’s redemptive plan, is that even when God finally redeems all things and makes all things new, even then there still will be scars in heaven.

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne…”

The scars Christ gained on the cross he will bear throughout eternity as a witness to the fact that God cares deeply about our pain, that God takes our suffering seriously, that God suffers with us and will never pretend, even in heaven, that our pain did not matter, that it did not grieve the very heart of God.

I am keenly aware that as hopeful as this might be to people like me, it does not answer the question of why God allowed that pain and suffering in the first place.

Which is why I’m worried about the message Kirk Cameron will present in his new movie.

I fear that he will unintentionally portray God as a monster who wills evil for the sake of some mysterious divine plane.

I fear that he will portray evil as good, as some sort of perverse declaration of God’s glory.

I fear that he will leave his audience with too many answers, and a zeal to share those misguided insights with people who need room to grieve, not answers.

I fear there will be a mother who has lost her child who will see film and hear “God killed your baby.”

I fear that in his desire to help, Kirk will only hurt.

I hope I’m wrong.

But I fear I am not.

Obviously, I don’t know exactly what Kirk will end up saying, but regardless of whatever answer he does offer I wish Kirk would learn what so many of us in the church need to learn.

Sometimes, many times, the best answer to the most questions of faith is “I don’t know.”

 

Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt

 

 

  • Rebecca Trotter

    I think life is like a massive, intense, virtual reality video game. And a game without challenges, setbacks, loss and the like would suck. So I do think God allows suffering as part of the game. If you look at the universe, there’s this randomness and cycle of life and destruction that don’t just exist – they actually propel the whole thing forward. I think suffering (at least of the natural kind – the kind which comes just with being alive) follows in this pattern. But I think that when we ate the fruit (I’m no literalist, but I think these stories are important), it was like using a cheat that took us straight into playing the game at the highest level. We weren’t ready, didn’t have enough understanding or knowledge and have been piling on misery ever since. I think God doesn’t do more to stop this because, ultimately, this is our game to play and work out. And we’re more capable than we think we are.

    • http://sacramentalnazarenes.blogspot.com Brannon Hancock

      Except that’s pretty much the “watchmaker” / Deist vision of God, which is altogether different from the God revealed in Jesus Christ, who entered into the suffering of His creation and took it upon Himself in order to redeem it.

      (Which is not to say I disagree with your overarching point that bad things happen because that’s the way things work; just want to caution against arriving at deism… I don’t believe bad things “just happen”; there are causes and effects in the natural order and the moral order; stuff happens because we have free will…blah, blah, blah. What Zack said….)

      • Rebecca Trotter

        I can see how deism is a danger. I certainly don’t mean to say that God isn’t involved. But I thin his involvement is aimed at getting us free and working from a place of responsibility. We seem to want a co-dependent relationship and God wants a healthy marriage. And sometimes that really does mean taking a step back and letting the unhealthy partner work out their own problems.

  • http://andhup.wordpress.com/ Leslie

    ~~Sometimes, many times, the best answer to the most questions of faith is “I don’t know.”

    YES!

  • Adele Bohn

    and maybe there is divinity in the use of fb and yt blocking the trailers;) i jest, i jest….

    • ZackHunt

      :)

  • http://1t412.wordpress.com/ Christina

    Huh, I didn’t realize the trailer had actually been blocked. I dismissed it as a publicity stunt when it came across my wall. The unfortunate thing is, this will eventually work in Cameron’s favour. Nothing galvanizes North American Christians like a belief that one of their own is being persecuted.

    • ZackHunt

      Amen to that. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Jeff Bys

    Sometimes, many times, the best answer to the most questions of faith is “I don’t know.”

    Reading through this, from my perspective, I think to accept your point, we would have to believe that you know what evil is. For instance, if I believe that God kills a baby, to you that is evil, so we should believe then that God is an evil monster who kills babies. Perhaps the better stance when trying to determine if something is evil or not, is to take your advice and simply say “I don’t know”. I don’t understand the view that would have us believe that pain=evil.

    In Romans 8, Paul equates the groaning of creation to childbirth. Now, I have never experienced childbirth, but my wife tells me it is intensely painful. However, she endures it with a hope of what comes after. In the same way, I fully believe that we can endure our pain, suffering, and trials with a hope that is to come, and we can count it all joy as James instructs us to because we can cling to the fact that God is good, this life is but a vapor, and we can put this life in perspective when we view it in light of eternity.

    • ZackHunt

      Jeff,

      I appreciate the feedback, but you’re twisting what I said.

      I did talk about pain and suffering as forms of evil, and though I would agree with you that not all pain is evil in the sense that murder is evil, I never claimed that pain = evil.

      Likewise, I would profoundly disagree that we should take an “I don’t know” approach to naming evil for what it is. The Bible certainly doesn’t do that. And I think common sense tells us we shouldn’t do that either.

      If, for the sake of sustaining some theological paradigm, we claim we don’t know whether or not murder, rape, or genocide are evil, then not only are we being utterly unhelpful and incredibly dishonest, but in taking such a pseudo-naive stance we immensely and unnecessarily compound the pain and suffering of those who have endured such evil.

      Again, I do appreciate your feedback, but it genuinely baffles me why you think we should pretend like we don’t know what evil is. I grant that we misconstrue the types of evil. But is your concern protecting the complicity of a sovereign God? That’s the only thing I can figure in claiming that whether or not it’s evil for God to kill a baby is somehow a relative issue of perspective.

      I’m not trying to be antagonist about this, I’m just genuinely confused.

      • Jeff Bys

        Sorry, I did not intend to twist what you were saying, I made some assumptions I should not have to conclude you were saying pain=evil.

        Also, I did not explain myself clearly. It is not my view that we should never define evil and always say “I don’t know”. My point is that sometimes we see things we don’t like and automatically say it is evil.

        Could you clarify in what way you feel Kirk will portray evil as good?

        • ZackHunt

          Then, Jeff, you have my apologies as well for misinterpreting what you said.

          And I would be happy to clarify.

          I’m not saying Cameron will portray evil as good. I just worry that he will fall into the trap that so many others have when they ascribe evil to God’s plan and claim that it somehow does or will declare God’s glory. If that is true, then evil is twisted into a good and praiseworthy thing because it (supposedly) glorifies God.

          Hope that helps clarify things a bit.

          • Jeff Bys

            I suppose we will have to wait for the movie release before I know whether I disagree with you then.

            In the meantime, I’m curious how you view the death of Jesus…was it an evil act? Was God glorified in it?

          • ZackHunt

            Just to clarify, the point I was making isn’t contingent on the movie. I was talking about how that misconstrual of evil as good happens in general, not saying that is what Cameron is necessarily do.

            But yes, I do view the murder of Jesus as an evil act and I do not believe that his murder glorified God. What I think glorifies God in that moment is Jesus’ refusal to fight back, his willingness to lay down his life. That is not evil and I think it is a very different thing than our nailing God to a cross. I realize that may seem like splitting hairs, but I think it’s an incredibly important hair to split.

          • Jeff Bys

            Then perhaps it is a matter of perspective. From Jesus’ perspective, God was glorified. From our perspective, nailing God to a cross was intended as evil. From God’s perspective, would you say He was caught off guard? Was he powerless to stop it? Or did He allow it as part of His perfect plan to put the world “back to rights” as N.T. Wright would say? Different perspectives…same event; and I would contend that God was glorified in it. We know that God can be glorified through what, from our perspective, is evil.

            John 9:1-3 tells us:

            “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

            So, the hardship of being born blind was not a result of evil or sin as was the perspective of the disciples. There was a divine plan at work that from a human perspective would have been very difficult to understand. We may be tempted to ask what kind of a God would cause a man to be blind, isn’t He supposed to have plans to prosper us and not to harm us? Perhaps it is an issue of perspective…to us God causing us to be physically blind may seem monstrous…but then again, we don’t think like God. We tend to have a physical, finite perspective and not an eternal one.

            John 21:18-19 tells us:

            “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” ”

            If the murder of Peter glorifies God, how can you be sure the murder of Jesus does not glorify God?

  • CrossFire

    Zack did you just use over 1,500 words to conclude,”many times, the best answer to the most questions of faith is “I don’t know.” ?
    An about face of your logic would reveal all of the explanations of pain are accurate in an appropriate circumstance. Maybe we leave them on a buffet of options and select as desired and not spit on them in case the person behind us would like to have them? I don’t know.
    CrossFire

    • ZackHunt

      No, I used 1,568 words to make the exact same point I began with – for the Christian faith the problem of evil is inherently impossible to resolve.

      “I don’t know” is not an about face in logic. It’s the logical conclusion to the argument I was making. We can’t resolve the tension so we should be honest and admit we don’t know the answer.

      But that doesn’t mean we can’t point out bad answers along the way.

      Just because I don’t know how to fix my broken leg doesn’t mean I can’t recognize ways of making the problem worse, or at the very least recognize options that don’t solve my problem.

      So, to use your image, I will spit on the options that make the problem worse in hopes that others won’t to have to suffer through an approach that only makes things worse and causes more, unnecessary pain.

      • CrossFire

        ” I will spit ” Well, there you go, we do what we are good at I’ve heard. Critically assessing in public the serious and well intended work of others is one way of drawing attention to yourself. With your implied understanding of “the Christian faith” I’m surprised I’m not aware of a list of your titles. I hope no one spits on your effort Zack based mere disunderstanding.

        • ZackHunt

          The “you’re just trying to get attention” shaming tactic is the most over used and weakest criticism in the history of the internet.

          I’m criticizing a position like “God causes evil” because I find it abhorrent. If you think it’s not, then argue that it’s not. But slandering someone’s critique as an attention grab just because you don’t like it is ridiculous.

          Intentions are not a shield for saying terrible things. The problem of evil isn’t pee wee soccer where everybody gets a trophy and pat on the back for trying. If someone is going to claim that God wants babies to die or worse that that somehow glorifies God I will loudly and proudly denounce their position because that sort of garbage causes real and unnecessary pain and suffering for people.

          Long story short, if denouncing bad theology is sinful attention grabbing, then Jesus was the chief of sinners.

          • CrossFire

            “slandering someone’s critique” Zack it is unfortunate that you have bastardized both of my comments into dislike for your concepts or motivation to express them.

            Your thoughts above are much easier heard and more intelligently impassioned than the original “IDK” model. And hey, looky there, they are original and don’t bruise anyone else’s work! Kudos Zack :)

  • scott

    Its still available from the film company. Its pretty terrible http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-Nd12rC6iQ

    • ZackHunt

      Nice, thanks for sharing! I’ll add it to the post.

    • ZackHunt

      Weird, looks like it’s private. :(

  • Seth Madaris

    Completely agree here. Thanks for the post. Was just recently reading John Sanders and he talks of how we have moved away from the “lament tradition”. He says “the lament tradition should be a part of our worship. Lament does not demonstrate immature faith. God’s redemptive love does not exclude all questions about how the world manifests divine wisdom… We should follow the example of those in scripture who let their troubles be made known to God. Such prayers were not always calm and submissive. At times they were emotional outbursts. They took God seriously and occasionally even contended with God against God. God took them seriously even if he did not always do precisely what they requested. Contending with God is a sign that we still trust in God and we have not given up. Even in lament we are still talking to God. If God can handle being nailed to a cross, then God can handle our cries of lament, our outbursts of anger and the voicing of our confusions.”

    I would also submit Romans 12:21 as a bit of a manifesto on evil. We often are so overcome by the question and the problem, we neglect the work we have been called to do in overcoming it. I know that is a bit reductionist and maybe saccharinely simple but I have found in my own walk and the loss I have dealt with and the pain and evil there (not that they are one in the same), that this scripture has provided me with a different angle of what can I do, what hope can I have, what actions can I take now (if simply prayer) to overcome this. And that goes back to what you said. Sometimes the first step in overcoming of evil is participating in the lament tradition. The yelling, the holding accountable.

    Having all that said, I am genuinely concerned about this movie…the exact concerns you have stated here. Many of my friends and family will be very, very interested in this and that also leads to some concern.

  • Adele Bohn

    and is it ever a black or white discussion over shades of grey? zack, you used the analogy of a broken leg somewhere here. not too long ago i met a young woman who had her legs broken in order for them to grow properly. was the pain good or bad? who caused it? the doctor, or the parents who passed on their genes? or adam when he first sinned? i don’t have the answers to all those questions, i mean, not theologically and in complete relativity to her situation. but i do know from my own son’s hospital experiences that the grappling with has been so much more valuable than the answers. the calling out, in need or anger or submission or gratitude, and finding God has proved immeasurably better than any amount of well-meant “information.”

  • HunterK

    You should never be content with “I don’t know”. Even if you are dealing with a problem that is not capable of being solved (which I don’t think the problem of evil is), you should still use logic, reasoning, and research to establish what you believe to be the most reasonable and probable explanation. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing and having peace with that by your faith, but I still think you should search for a better answer than “I don’t know”. No skeptic is going to find your position credible if you’re primary response is “I don’t know”, and a large part of Christian theology deals with the conversion of new believers.

    • ZackHunt

      Hunter,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Several thoughts for you…

      Jesus said “Go and make disciples”
      not “Go and argue with people about why you’re right and they’re wrong.” That’s not to say debate is wrong, but we “convince skeptics” of the truth of Christianity with our lives, not with our rhetoric.

      This is in part why countless Christians throughout the centuries have ascribed to the apophatic tradition of silence. Both because they realized that we simply cannot answer all of our questions about God and because, contrary to the modern evangelical need to define Christianity by having all the answers, they understood that the truth of the gospel is ultimately something we incarnate, not something we argue about.

      That being said, I no where claimed that “I don’t know” is my primary theological response. If you peruse through my recent posts you will see that I have been going out of my way to share my “answers” to theological questions.

      But like countless Christians before me, I will not pretend to provide definitive answers to questions that cannot be definitively answered. You are free to disagree and believe that there is a definitive problem free answer to the tension of a good God in the face of evil, but the entirety of humanity’s theological and philosophical endeavors to resolve this tension have demonstrated unequivocally that there is no definitive problem free answer to the problem of evil.

    • Joshua Shope

      If we’re not content to say “I don’t know” how can we talk about any mysteries of the faith? How precisely are we saved? How precisely did Jesus rise from the dead? How precisely did Jesus perform his miracles? How was Jesus both 100% human and 100% divine? How can the Trinity be a thing? So much of Christian faith and tradition is built on the supernatural and the unexplainable; we shouldn’t assume that just because apologetics has taken over much of contemporary Christianity it means that mystery is a bad thing.

    • Lauren Palmer

      But are we called to convert people…or are we called to walk alongside people in their pain and suffering? Theology should more more active than static, “more about seeking God in the issues of our lives than in books and intellectual arguments. Theology was the invitation to participate with God in a new reality, in the mystery of God’s own activity in the world.” (From a book by Andrew Root)
      I’d rather hear the truth from someone – I don’t know – than a bunch of defenses and apologetics. Sometimes I think that’s what the “skeptics” would rather hear too – our honesty and our hearts.

      • Mario Strada

        As a Skeptic and an atheist, I assure you I have a lot more respect for someone that is able to provisionally say “I don’t know” than someone that doesn’t know but lies about it and gives me a convoluted explanation that at the end can be summarized with “You have to have faith”.

        Scientists say “I don’t know” all the time. And it is always provisional. We didn’t know many things that now we know. In science knowledge and the absence of it is always provisional. Not because many think what we know now are false, but because it’s possible that what we know now is not the whole story and there is more knowledge to learn.

        Newtonian Physics is one such example. It works splendidly to answer many of our questions of the real world.
        When Einstein came along, he didn’t take Newton’s laws and toss them out the window. There were some things in Newton;s law that were missing and where scientists had to answer “We don’t know”. Because Einstein did not toss them all away but built on them, now we know.

        Saying “I don’t know” is a sign of humility, an admission we are still searching. Saying that “we know” when we really don’t is arrogant and ultimately false.

  • James Patrick Williams

    “…faiths like Christianity which claim that despite all the evidence God is in fact a good and loving God.”
    1. There is no faith like Christianity.
    2. The evil in the universe is the act of and the consequence of disobedience to God.
    3. If Jerry hands you a cup of cold water, and Tom knocks it out of your hand before you drink it, who then is responsible for your thirst? Tom or Jerry? If you said Tom, then you might believe that Satan is responsible for evil. If you said Jerry, then you might believe that God is responsible for evil.

  • Justin Mitchell

    Looks like the video linked in the article works now.

  • JeffreyWRoop

    Suffering happens. I’m convinced any resolution to the problem of evil must be found in the cross of Christ. Jesus suffered, lamented and died. Through Christ, God knows of suffering yet provides for resurrection. That is my hope. Logically conclusions will fall flat in the face of that.

  • Tami

    God gave Adam authority. Adam gave his authority to Satan and essentially kicked God out of earth. Jesus came to give us back our authority over Satan, but only those who have faith and agree with what God says is right and true actually use that authority to conquer Satan. Just start telling Satan to get out and he has to flee! If every believer understood the authority they had in Christ, we would be hearing stories of triumph, miracles, and people overcoming the trials of this life.

  • Anna Marie Rosenberg

    Well said. Here, here.

  • jns

    two comments -

    i agree with crossfire about having different options available for different circumstances of evil/pain – including the option of ‘i don’t know’. why throw the options out?

    i disagree with you on God being a “monstrous, cruel and petty deity” if he does in fact “will” evil or “allow” evil. what about God being sovereign? could His sovereignty not explain this? could our ‘not understanding’ how this could be God’s will maybe be part of the mystery of our faith and the lack of our brain power?

  • Terri

    Thanks for this, Zach. I spent this summer watching my 42 year old sister finally succumb to brain cancer and her dying was agonizing, painful, and fearful. Her suffering was unbearable–at the end she cried and screamed and moaned for hours and days. There was much lamenting from me and yelling at God and begging and pleading. And ironically, it was only in this lamenting that I found any hope or any comfort or purpose. My hope was in knowing that this suffering and death was not in any sense “right” and so I protested and wailed. Death and things that cause it are still the enemy, not yet defeated even though ultimate defeat is inevitable. I can’t imagine any other response but lament.

  • Dustin Ryman

    I guess the origin of evil and the ‘mystery of iniquity’ go hand in hand.

    Isaiah 54:16 says “…it is I(God) that has created the reference the‘Destroyer’ to wreak havoc.”
    Job 26:13 also says something similar. It says, “by His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens, His hands has formed the crooked serpent.”

    Another reference to God creating evil is found in Isaiah 45:7 ” I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster, I The Lord do all these things.”

    Either God is the only One in the universe that has His own pet ‘Dragon’ which He uses to create the evil and calamity in our lives OR, we need to have more discussions about Bible inerrancy.

    I don’t know the answer but I don’t believe God intentionally hurts us. The Old Testament might imply that but in the New Testament Christ showed us a loving Father full of grace, mercy and love.

    God sent humanity the cure 2000 years ago and we killed Him.

  • Roman Dawes

    I don’t know what Cameron has to share in his movie, but I know that it’s not logically possible for God to create any kind of meaningful life for people without perils.

    That’s because nurturing and protecting life is central to living. The good things that grow from humanity would not be possible if the bad things weren’t possible (which is not to mean necessary).

    God allows suffering because our mortality defines our existence. http://www.the-problem-of-evil.com