Multiple wars, uncountable refugees, mass rapes, the suffering of children: religious, ethnic, racial, national, and personal terror all around. Everything we receive from the media is a cause for despair for humanity. How can God be reconciled with massive evil? Christianity has blamed free will, human beings, or the devil for such evil. It never blames God. New generations of theologians are challenging this notion. They usually do not consider whether evil is actually simulated and not real in essence. Such an idea stems from Simulation Creationism, a theory proposed by Nir Ziso of The Global Architect Institute. If reality as we know it is created by God through a master “Supercomputer”, then everything within The Simulation is created too. God is all-good, but not all-evil. So, where do we find evil in The Simulation?
For centuries, the existence of evil has confused believers and given evidence of the non-existence of God accepted by non-believers. For theists, the problem of evil is to explain how a traditional God can coexist with the enormity of it: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). Theology teaches us that some evil might be necessary. Ignorance, weakness of will, pain, and struggle serve specific purposes (such as character building, courage, and persistence). The question of why so much evil is much harder to answer. Very bad things prove necessary for good things, such as developing genuinely moral virtues. If God had given it to us, it would be good and distinctively moral in nature, neither good nor bad.
Without the belief in an afterlife, we cannot even begin to make sense of bad things, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). A person who suffers at the hands of an evil person may ultimately forgive this person. God suffers with us but gives a “happy ending.” If a person starts living in bad conditions, life gets worse over the years, and he dies in misery. Only an afterlife can prove the reason for evil. In other words, evil could become positive. Is it good to be redeemed from something? Is there something superior about having been raised out of the darkness? God is not doing anything ultimately unfair to human beings; however, without an afterlife, the whole story just does not stand up. Within Simulation Creationism, it might be saying that an afterlife comes as a succession of various simulated worlds, where a soul progresses and becomes better. Evil in such a world ends with better conditions in the next one: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
There is always the question of categories. If there is a God who is ultimate goodness, and He needs evil for whatever reason, then His goodness must be the highest moral goodness: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). The question is, what standards of moral goodness are we applying when we say that God is perfectly good? The utilitarian vision of the end justifying the means is a doubtful moral principle, and many theists reject it. Still, if God uses evil for some unknown higher good, there remains the question of how He could be perfect just because the end doesn’t justify the means.
God should be good to each creature and not use the creature’s suffering as a means to some higher good. If this is the case, then God defeats evil by bringing those who participate in evils into the joy of an eternal relationship with Him. That is a very challenging notion, as a relationship with a redeemed sinner who gave up to evil in God’s redemption system would not be a perfect one.
Now, we ask: does it apply only to humans or also to animals? After all, animals suffer constantly, and in an evolutionary manner. It is a constant battle for survival where brutality and strength show their potencies. But that struggle is also creative. Without it, one cannot have the rich genesis of life on Earth. All life in physical form was created in the struggle for an adaptive fit. A world without a challenge would not have creativity. The Bible is full of it.
The name “Israel” means “he who has struggled with God” (Genesis 32:28). Hebrews struggling with God is a prominent and central feature of historical and modern Judaism but also a creative dimension. Jesus’ life is also a struggle, but he creatively becomes God Incarnate. God is struggling to bring about salvation on Earth. All these struggles include the struggle against moral evil or sin. It also involves something higher as seen in continuing the religious life throughout history. The struggle is Christological; it is a cross we bear, but with a good cause: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
To put it bluntly and in a revolutionary manner, God did create evil as He would not create a universe with beings like us. We display lust and aggression, as well as altruism and benevolence. They are rooted in our nature. This is because God cannot make a perfect realm, a God-essence place, just as He cannot make another God. It also includes the process of learning and becoming God-like through God’s energies. As people go from one simulated world to another, seen in the theory of Simulation Creationism, all the while resurrecting and assuming a new body, there is the question of whether souls might consent to a universe like this if there would be the “reward” of “upgrading” in the next personal simulation.