Q.6. Can this universe be reconciled with the hypothesis of a benevolent God?
The expression ‘law of nature’ is as old as Pindar in Greek, as Lucretius in Latin. But until modern times, it was used, as ‘law’ ought to be, of something that can be broken but ought not to be. – C. S. Peirce
Because of the disjointed way I have approached this Spero document, this is a question I have already answered.
The universe, animate and inanimate, certainly seems to contain evil.
My position is that this seeming evil is not just something to do with our perception of the universe, but something that is really there.
I reject the pantheist position that, seen from the appropriate angle, all seeming evil will turn out to really be good.
And I reject the Holmes Rolston III position that good and evil are only concepts applicable to our human world.
Thus, as the universe contains evil, it would seem that the universe could not have been created by an omnibenevolent God.
We observe that the evil in human society is easily explained by the freedom of humans to accept or reject the good. The easiest way to explain the evil in the rest of the universe is that it also arises from the freedom of free-willed entities to accept or reject the good. My hope is that the rules of the universe we live in were not created, by fiat, by God, but are at least in part the product of the choices of beings much more fundamental than us. The universe is a game, a game in which making up the rules is part of the game.
‘Original sin’ is the fact that we can do nothing that is perfectly good, because of how the game has panned up until now. The cumulative errors of All Decisions Antecedent to Mankind have limited our freedom of action so that we can do nothing that is not flawed. That does not mean that there is not always a best action, just that the best action is frequently very bad.