The Problem of Evil (Mosquitoes)

by Jason Wisdom

I have lived in the Southeastern United States for my entire life. I was born in Tennessee, then we moved to Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and finally ended up in Georgia. All of these states have in common one of my favorite things in the world: sweet iced tea. But they also have one of my least favorite things: huge mosquitoes. I am pretty sure that each one of those states has a postcard that you can by that features a picture of a mosquito and says, “Our State Bird.” When I was younger, I often used to wonder: “Why do mosquitoes exist? Someone give me just one good reason. What would it really hurt if God just zapped all of the mosquitoes out of existence?” Of course, you learn in middle school science class that every creature. even the small and disgusting ones, plays an important role in the ecosystem. It isn’t as simple as just zapping away all mosquitoes and then going about business as usual. They play a role in the bigger picture that goes beyond just irritating me.

This same basic principle is why the first law of time travel seems reasonable to us. What is the first law of time travel? Come on McFly! You don’t mess with the past, of course. Some science fiction stories take this to the extreme and suggest that even bending a single blade of grass differently

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could dramatically alter the future–probably bringing about a premature apocalypse. Yet, to a certain extent, I think we can still imagine how (if time travel were possible) that might make sense. We know that because we have seen how tiny variations can produce huge changes over long periods of time. For instance, if you are building a railroad and you lay down the tracks even slightly off from parallel, the train my be able to run fine for a while, but given enough time, the tracks will eventually move far enough apart, and the train will crash or be ripped apart.

We should all be on the same page thus far. We get it. We know that mosquitoes have an important role to play, even if we don’t understand all of the particulars. And we have seen that tiny variations can produce huge changes over long periods of time. However, as soon as we are confronted with the problem of evil, pain, and suffering–at large, or in our own lives–we all seem to flip back into thinking, “Why did that have to happen? Someone give me just one good reason. What would it really hurt if God just zapped that event so that it never happened?” Do we really suppose that it is so simple? Is any event in history so isolated that it has no impact on any other event? Skeptics will insist, “It shouldn’t be hard for an omnipotent God.” But it really isn’t a question of whether or not God could alter or eliminate a particular happening. Of course he could (on the Christian view). The real question is “why doesn’t he?” At this point, many skeptics of Christianity will confidently declare victory…

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The Problem of Evil (Mosquitoes)  – Because it’s True