Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 8, 2010

19. Woolly Bears and the Problem of Pain 

The problem of evil is the skeptic’s most frequently raised objection. He points to suffering in the world as “obvious proof” that a loving all-powerful God cannot exist.

How does the woolly bear caterpillar provide illustrative insight about the problem of pain?

Of course pain has value. It serves as a warning system to protect the body from injury for one thing. But what about seemingly purposeless pain or horrible evil? Is that evidence that God cannot exist?

A moth’s torturous struggle to exit a woolly bear cocoon looks painful and completely unnecessary. So much so that some cut cocoons open to “help” the moth. But this removal of “suffering” dooms the moth. It needs to struggle through the tiny aperture to develop strength and force fluid from its abdomen throughout its body. Without the struggle, it dies.

Is it possible that likewise there is a beneficial purpose to human suffering and evil? Could removal of an “evil” cancel a much greater good as illustrated by the moth?

Just because we don’t understand God’s purpose for suffering does not mean that a good purpose does not exist. My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Demonstrating the purpose for some cases disproves the skeptic’s claim that there is no purpose to suffering and evil. This defeats his “problem of evil” argument that God cannot exist. For he has the burden to prove that there is no higher good or purpose for pain which is impossible for him to do.

Moreover, we don’t even know about all the evil that Yahweh undoubtedly restrains already (2Thess 2:7; Matthew 18:10).

What about the problem of Good? If the problem of pain removes God for the skeptic, how does he explain the existence of unrecompensed good—deeds of love and sacrifice? How can an atheist even decide what is good or evil without reference to a standard? Who but God can establish a standard?

The solution to the problem of evil lies in the wisdom and love of God. Yahweh Himself experienced the worst evil ever—the cruel execution of a wholly innocent man, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. We do know the purpose for this foreordained evil and suffering. It was to accomplish salvation for mankind. (Acts 2:23)

God is wiser than man and uses suffering and evil for His good purpose (John 9:3; Romans 8:28). In the face of evil and suffering our responsibility is to trust in the love and wisdom of God as He produces for us an eternal weight of glory. (2Cor 4:17)

Soli Deo Gloria.

This completes the series of 19 posts on Monarch Butterflies and their significance for the creation/evolution controversy. Read the prequels in the series:
1. Insect GPS
2. Monarch Butterflies
3. Caterpillar or Butterfly—Which Was First?
4. Monarch Caterpillars
5. Morphing Monarchs
6. Changing Chrysalis
7. Emerging Monarchs
8. Butterfly vs. Caterpillar
9. Migrating Monarchs
10. Navigating Monarchs
11. Monarchs on Noah’s Ark?
12. Monarch or Viceroy?
13. Butterfly Evolution?
14. Butterfly or Moth?
15. Mexican Jumping Beans
16. Silk
17. Silkworms
18. Woolly Bear Caterpillar

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Monday March 8, 2010 A.D.

And Yahweh made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and Yahweh saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:25)


  1. That’s really thinking of the highest order.


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