Animal suffering, evolution, and the origins of evil: Toward a “free creatures” defense

Zygon 49 (2):348-380 (2014)
Does an affirmation of theistic evolution make the task of theodicy impossible? In this article, I will review a number of ancient and contemporary responses to the problem of evil as it concerns animal suffering and suggest a possible way forward which employs the ancient Jewish insight that evil—as resistance to God's will that results in suffering and alienation from God's purposes—precedes the arrival of human beings and already has a firm foothold in the nonhuman animal world long before humans are ever tempted to go astray. This theological intuition is conferred renewed relevance in light of the empirical reality of evolutionary gradualism and continuity and in view of the recent findings of cognitive ethology. Consequently, I suggest that taking biological evolution seriously entails understanding “moral evil” as a prehuman phenomenon that emerges gradually through the actions and intentions of “free creatures” which—as evolutionary history unfolded—increasingly possessed greater levels of freedom and degrees of moral culpability
Keywords animal suffering  free will  cognitive ethology  evil  theodicy  animal morality  the Fall  evolution
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DOI 10.1111/zygo.12085
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Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior.Robert Richards - 1989 - Journal of the History of Biology 22 (2):361-367.

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